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Motivated by football and family, former New Town star Quincy Roche eyes NFL future | COMMENTARY

University of Miami defensive end Quincy Roche talks to the media during a news conference for National Signing Day on Feb. 5, 2020.
University of Miami defensive end Quincy Roche talks to the media during a news conference for National Signing Day on Feb. 5, 2020. (Mike Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

The NCAA transfer portal was created to manage the transfer process from start to finish, add more transparency among the schools and empower student-athletes to finish present and future goals.

Quincy Roche has taken advantage of the system.

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A little more than a year ago, Roche was projected to be a fifth- or sixth-round pick in the NFL draft. Now, after transferring from Temple to the University of Miami, he has the potential to be selected in the first two rounds.

He has made money without being paid.

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“I just felt like putting myself and my family in a better position,” said Roche, a senior defensive end who played at New Town High in Owings Mills.

“After a successful season last year at Temple, my draft level wasn’t where I wanted it to be, so I figured Miami was the best fit for me out of all the schools that recruited me."

University of Miami defensive lineman Quincy Roche runs a drill during the first day of spring practice.
University of Miami defensive lineman Quincy Roche runs a drill during the first day of spring practice. (Susan Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

A lot of the big-name schools recruited him once he decided to leave Temple in December after graduating. After the 2019 season, Roche was named the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year with 49 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 13 sacks. He also forced one fumble and recovered two more, and had 57 total tackles in 2018.

He might be the best pass rusher in college football this year. Besides joining former Temple coach Manny Diaz in Miami, Roche plays on the same line as Hurricanes star defensive end Gregory Rousseau, who had 15½ sacks last season.

For opposing teams, it comes down to which player to double team: Roche or Rousseau?

“I loved the culture, I loved the coaches and I think we have a great supporting cast,” Roche said.

Roche has a multi-dimensional game. He can play with speed and finesse or power because of his 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame. He is light for an NFL defensive end, but played some outside linebacker at Temple, providing pressure from the outside and crashing gaps in the middle.

In the NFL, he’ll play wherever they want him.

“I’ve played next to the middle linebacker, moved around and dropped back in coverages,” Roche said. “I look as pass rushing as its own position. You got heavier guys who are more powerful, and then you have faster guys. It varies from person to person, but I like to think I can do both. I’ll take whatever the offensive linemen give me.”

The offensive lines will be better in the Atlantic Coast Conference compared with the AAC, but Roche has played against Boston College, Duke, North Carolina, Maryland and Notre Dame while at Temple.

He is used to challenges.

As a youngster, Roche struggled with Tourette syndrome, a nervous system disorder involving repetitive movements or unwanted sounds. He is also the youngest of seven children, and one of his three brothers, Tommy, died from kidney disease in his early 40’s two years ago.

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Last December, Roche earned a degree from Temple in communications studies and he said that he’s motivated to get up every morning for his brother Tommy, as well as mother, Marlene, and father, Franklin, who are both retiring.

“Growing up with Tourette’s syndrome can make it harder,” Roche said. “But as you get older, you learn how to deal with it.”

“I love being around my family. Actually, I am glad I am the youngest because I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for them and they taught me how to deal with a lot of things. Tommy drives me. I knew how he felt about me and what I wanted to accomplish.”

Quincy Roche (0) of New Town in action during the 1A State Basketball Championship game between New Town and Lake Clifton at the Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland.
Quincy Roche (0) of New Town in action during the 1A State Basketball Championship game between New Town and Lake Clifton at the Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland. (Daniel Kucin Jr. / BALTIMORE SUN)

Roche feels a similar passion for New Town High. Whenever he comes home for schools breaks, he stops into the weight room or onto the field to talk with football and basketball players.

Roche was the star player on the Titans basketball teams that won state titles in 2015 and 2016. There were some at the school who thought he might play college basketball instead of football.

But he was even more impressive as a tight end and defensive end than as a power forward. Regardless, Roche was always an enforcer.

“He was a beast, very talented,” New Town athletic director Preston Waters said. “From my 10 or 11 years here, he has to be in the top five or ten athletes ever at the school. He worked hard, never stopped and was never going to quit. We don’t win those state basketball championships without him. There were no easy buckets when he was on the floor.”

“He comes back often offering words of encouragement to our athletes. He has found the path forward and somebody stayed on him, somebody pushed him. Now, it’s his turn.”

Roche has been in Miami working out randomly with teammates since last Monday. He looks forward to the NFL scouting combine in February, where he plans to run the 40-yard dash under 4.6 seconds and bench press 225 pounds more than 25 times.

But he doesn’t want to get too far ahead of himself. To become a first-round pick next April, he has to produce more than he did at Temple against better competition.

And speaking of Temple, the Hurricanes host the Owls in Miami in their season opener.

“That game will be unique and fun playing against people who I went to war with, guys I built relationships with,” Roche said. “I really don’t pay a lot of attention to all the preseason stuff because it is meaningless. It all comes down to what you do during the season.

“My goals off the field won’t change. I want to put my family in a good financial position and inspire the young people in my community as much as possible.”

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