Either Side Of Ball Fine For Roback

September was an exciting month for Derek Roback of Waverly, Ohio, who received his first Division I scholarship offer and tripped to a couple of different college football locales. The athlete prospect tells us about his early recruitment in this update.

Among the interested onlookers the past two weeks at Ohio Stadium has been Derek Roback, a 2010 prospect from Waverly, Ohio.

Roback rarely comes off the field for the Tigers, who are 3-3 this season after graduating 21 seniors from a team that went 10-2 and advanced to the Division IV playoffs in 2007.

He quarterbacks the Tigers' shotgun, spread offense, plays free safety in the 3-5-3 defense and handles punting and place-kicking duties as well.

Ohio University is the first school to offer Roback a scholarship, doing so while he visited Athens earlier in September.

The Bobcats are interested in Roback as a quarterback, but he is willing to play on either side of the ball if the situation is right.

"I really don't care – I just want to play," Roback told BuckeyeSports.com. "I think I could play receiver or I could be a weakside linebacker or strong safety."

Along with Ohio and Ohio State, Roback has already visited Michigan and Tennessee this season. Notre Dame has invited him to come check out its South Bend campus and Michigan wants him to come back again, he said.

Other schools showing interest in Roback include UCLA, Rutgers, Clemson, Iowa and Illinois.

Ohio State is relatively new to the picture, and Roback is not sure where the Buckeyes would envision him playing if he donned scarlet and gray, but if it is quarterback, he thinks a spread-based attack fits his skills.

Perhaps something like the type of offense he saw Terrelle Pryor leading the last two weeks?

"That's what I was thinking," Roback said. "It was nice. I was glad I got to see him play. I had heard about him but really hadn't seen him other than playing high school, hadn't seen him really do anything and it was kind of nice to get to see him in action."

Though showing a strong right arm and a quick, easy release, Roback could not lead Waverly to victory Sept. 19 when Division I Franklin Heights made the trip down state Route 23 from Columbus. Roback completed 14 of 33 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns while also running 13 times for 140 yards, including an 83-yard touchdown run, but the Tiger defense crumbled against a stable of Falcon running backs that ran wild in a 49-27 victory.

At the halfway point of the regular season, Roback had completed 68 of 135 (50.3 percent) passes for 1,024 yards and 17 touchdowns while throwing three interceptions. He also could boast of 358 yards rushing on 62 attempts. He ran for three touchdowns.

On the other side of the ball, he recorded three tackles and had a fumble.

He checked in at 6-2 and 204 pounds at a Scout.com combine in Cincinnati last summer and ran a 4.66-second 40-yard dash, but Waverly coach Rusty Wright said he now measures 6-3 and has been timed as fast as 4.59 in the 40.

If Roback become a college quarterback, he will not be the first former Tiger to do so.

Last season's starter, Trevor Walls, received a scholarship from New Mexico State after he earned 2007 Southeast District Co-Offensive Player of the Year in Division IV. One of his main targets was Roback, who earned first-team all-district and special mention all-state as a receiver.

Wright called Walls more of a dropback passer than Roback, who can hurt teams with either his legs or his arm.

"One thing about him is he throws the ball on the run probably as well as anybody," Wright said of Roback. "I've not seen anybody with arm strength to throw the ball as well as he does."

On the other side of the ball, "We run a lot of cover three and then match up man a lot, but he's our run force defender from the back. With his speed and size he's pretty much everywhere."


Buckeye Sports Top Stories