An All-State lineman on the offensive side of the ball last season, Wilde Lake's Moise Larose may be even more impressive this fall on the defensive side.
The 6-foot-5, 285-pound senior has committed to Rutgers as an offensive tackle, but Wildecats coach Mike Harrison is getting plenty of calls from college coaches who would rather see Larose on their defensive lines next fall.
Larose, who played his first three seasons at Meade before transferring to Wilde Lake when his family moved over the summer, leads the Wildecats (3-3) in tackles for a loss with 11. He has 34 total tackles, one sack and three forced fumbles.
A native of Haiti, Larose moved to Florida when he was 3 years old and Maryland when he was 13. In January 2010, he was visiting Haiti during the magnitude 7.0 earthquake, and two of his six siblings were killed.
Larose said counseling helped him get through the devastating experience, and he is back on track with a 3.8 grade point average, aiming to play in the NFL. He plans to study forensic science and criminal justice in college.
Why were you in Haiti in January 2010?
My grandfather had passed away, so we had gone there to bury him. I hadn't been there since I was 3, so I didn't remember everybody. It was fun before the tragedy happened. It was pretty good to be back there, back where I was from.
What was it like when the earthquake struck?
It was crazy. We didn't have any form of communication, so we were in Haiti forever, it seemed like.
How did you lose your siblings?
They were with their stepmom and [their family members] lived at least 50 miles away from where we were, and the building collapsed on them while they were trying to run out. I thought I lost my father because he wasn't with us when it happened. I was with my brother, my stepmom and three other sisters. I didn't know where he was. He was just lost and he found his way back.
When you came back here, how did you handle such a devastating loss?
I just felt empty, like life was pointless. When we came back, we lived with my auntie for like a week or so, and we just stayed in the house. We didn't go to school. Then, when we went to school, we were in the guidance office just trying to stay strong about the whole situation. I got some counseling, but it took me a couple of weeks.
How did you get started playing football?
A friend persuaded me. I was not very interested in it. I was a big boy and they wanted me to play for their rec team. I was in the fifth grade and I decided to go out, and I loved it since the first game. We got blown out the first game and I never cried playing any other sport, but that kind of got me into football, because I had feeling and emotion for it. That gave me my passion for the game.
Have you always been a lineman?
No, my freshman year, I was actually a receiver. At the start of sophomore year, they changed me to a lineman, because I got hurt my freshman year (minor hamstring tear during basketball season) and I became lazy and got bigger and became a lineman. Transitioning into my junior year at Meade, we had a new head coach (Rich Holzer) and he was a very good influence in getting me to get off my butt and start training to become a better football player. It obviously worked out.
Are you better on the offensive side or the defensive side? There seems to be some discrepancy about that.
I don't know how it came out, but I just came to be the man on defense. I always wanted to play defense my whole life because that's where you get the credit. This year, I just did what the coaches asked me and they made me a better player on the D-line.
Which is the bigger challenge — offensive line or defensive line?
I think it's defense. Defense has the harder decisions, because defense, you've got to dictate what the offense is trying to do to you. Offense, you already know what you're trying to do, where you're trying to get.
Was it easy to fit in at Wilde Lake?
Yeah. Since Day 1, they already knew I was coming. I don't know how. When you're on the football team, you automatically have friends and people that accept you as who you are. And if you're tall, you get friends, too. If you're big, you get friends. You're more noticeable than other people.
What's the key to getting better as a lineman at this point in your career?
The key is not to get bigger, the key is to stay focused and work on your technique. Technique is the No. 1 thing that all linemen need to make it to the next level and to be successful at the next level. When you're tired — and every lineman gets tired — you've got to stay with your technique. If you stay with that, it makes everything easier for you instead of getting all sloppy.
Is there a player you model yourself on?
Not any particular player. I watch Jake Long of the Miami Dolphins. I watch his technique because he's one of the top offensive tackles in the NFL currently, and I just watch how he plays, watch his footwork and watch his tendencies. I watch Julius Peppers as well, what he does and the way he performs differently than other [defensive] ends. His technique is like perfect and when you have good technique, it just shows you don't have to be the biggest or the strongest. You can make it happen with technique.
What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Be humble. Being a humble person, you’re different. It’s hard to explain, but a humble person is a good person, in my opinion and that’s what I try to be every day. I don’t brag about what I’ve got or what school offered me or how many scholarship offers I got. I just stay humble and hopefully that will get you somewhere. The perfect example is Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA. He’s a very humble person and I just try to mimic what he does as a player. Never cocky. Always humble.
What’s the one food you could eat all day?
Papa John’s pizza. I could eat that all day. I eat it every Friday after the game, but not after last Friday. We lost, so it was kind of bad. My dad didn’t even attempt to buy it (laughs).Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun