2015 Lincolnton (NC) DL Darian Roseboro committed to Michigan in a ceremony broadcast on ESPN.com this afternoon, choosing the Wolverines out of a final six that also included Alabama, Clemson, NC State, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Roseboro is slated to play strongside defensive end, though there's a good possibility he ends up at defensive tackle; either way, he's the first of Michigan's 11 commits in the class who will play on the defensive line.
4*, #14 DT,
4*, #6 DT,
4*, 82, #20 DT,
4*, 93, #6 SDE,
4*, #7 SDE,
Roseboro is comfortably within the top 200 overall prospects on every site, and Rivals—notably, the most recent to update their rankings—provides a very positive outlier, ranking him 42nd among all 2015 prospects. All but 247, which lists him as a strongside DE, consider him a defensive tackle prospect.
That's probably because Rosoboro is a very big guy. He's listed at either 6'3" or 6'4" and 283-293 pounds on the recruiting services; the general consensus has him at 6'4", 285 or so.
[After THE JUMP: scouting and such]
Roseboro has been on the recruiting radar since the 2011 season; posting numbers like these for a state finalist as a 265-pound freshman defensive end will do that:
Last fall, Roseboro had 107 tackles, seven sacks, and 12 tackles for loss. He was also named his team's defensive MVP in the state championship game. He bench presses 415 pounds, squats 435, and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds.
The 40 time, as you'll see, is fake enough that it casts doubt upon the veracity of the weightlifting numbers, but needless to say, Roseboro is strong.
While ESPN's more recent, full scouting report is practically unintelligible, their underclassman evaluation says pretty much the same—Roseboro is a physically impressive, productive player in need of a little technical improvement to reach his ceiling ($):
STRENGTHS: Good looking frame and overall player at the tackle position. Demonstrates excellent upper and lower body playing strength at this stage. He can jolt blockers back and maintain base at the point. Shows good speed down the line and burst off the ball. Displays good reactions and a great nose for the football. A punishing wrap up and run through tackler. A very productive and adept player versus the run and pass; understands assignments. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Needs to add a bit of speed and quickness to make the jump to a top-level prospect. Good lateral agility but currently not great enough to make consistent stops outside his box; more straight-line in movements. Shows some stiffness and can play high.
Like every high school defensive lineman in the history of football, Roseboro can improve his pad level.
Scout's free evaluation reads similarly to ESPN's:
A versatile defensive lineman who can move around depending on the scheme. Growing into likely a defensive tackle. Plays with a good motor. Does a sound job playing his gap, doing his job. Can set the edge at end and be disruptive up the field. More of a power player that is very successful when playing with good pad level. Can play high and needs to improve his moves and explosion off the ball. Plays with good balance. - Chad Simmons
Going back to his strength: Roseboro put up 32 reps of 185 pounds on the bench press at this January's Under Armour Combine, the most of anyone at the event; Rivals named him one of the top four defensive linemen in attendance. He also really impressed Sam Webb with his work in the one-on-one drills at the combine ($):
The Tar Heel State star displayed an excellent blend of quickness and power during the one-on-ones. On some reps he blew by his man with impressive “get-off.” When a lineman matched his quickness, his power was too much even for opponents that held significant weight advantages. By the time he matures at the next level he could be a 270-280 lb. five-tech that is a factor versus both the run and the pass.
Roseboro has already grown to the size Webb projected him to be at the college level; while that kind of gain is often concerning, Roseboro has only performed better as he's grown. In March, Rivals' Woody Wommack ranked him third among defensive players—and the best defensive lineman—in a strong field at the Rivals Camp Series in Charlotte ($):
Roseboro came into Sunday's event as the highest-ranked player on the defensive line and for the most part lived up to his billing. He continues to get bigger without sacrificing the quickness that makes him so dangerous as a pass rusher. Because of his quickness off the ball and his size, it's clear that Roseboro could fit into a number of defensive schemes and might even be able to slide inside if needed. It's easy to see why he's wanted by major programs from all over the country
Wommack's colleague Adam Friedman named Roseboro the top overall performer on either side of the ball at June's Shrine Bowl Camp ($):
There was no player more dominant than Roseboro at any position. He has a ridiculous amount of upper and lower body strength and none of the offensive linemen he faced could handle him. Roseboro is starting to grow into a defensive tackle, but he still has the quickness of a defensive end. He was also pretty crisp with his hand technique on inside and outside moves.
I started to bold the best bits of that and then realized I'd highlighted the whole thing.
Friedman did the writeup when Rivals moved Roseboro up 37 spots to his current, lofty perch in their rankings; it's safe to say he doesn't think of Roseboro's "tweener" status as an issue:
Roseboro is a defensive end in a defensive tackle's body and that's a good thing. He has the explosiveness and nose for the ball one hopes for in a defensive end and the size of a defensive tackle. Roseboro has the natural ability to play with good leverage as well. This helps him anchor down against the run.
Wait, stop the presses. Did a recruiting analyst just say, in essence, that a lineman plays with good natural pad level? If you weren't sold on him by now, that should seal it.
Roseboro doesn't just play on the defensive line for Lincolnton; he also gets a fair number of snaps as a jumbo running back, and even a few at tight end. ESPN's Gerry Hamilton took in a Lincolnton practice last month and posted several Vines of Roseboro looking very good in drills. His second rep at running back in the Oklahoma drill produced an "I be like dang" moment:
I be like dang.
Roseboro chose Michigan from a final six that also included Alabama, Clemson, North Carolina, NC State, and Tennessee. He also held offers from Auburn, Boston College, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Miami (YTM), Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, South Carolina, Syracuse, UCLA, Texas, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, and West Virginia.
Roseboro is the only prospect in the Rivals era (2002-present) to earn a rating higher than two stars coming out of Lincolnton High School. In fact, just one Lincolnton prospect in that span got ranked: 2008 two-star corner CJ Wilson, who went on to be a standout four-year starter at NC State; Wilson went undrafted in 2013 but landed on the Chicago Bears practice squad.
Lincolnton plays in North Carolina's second-smallest football classification (2A) out of four total. Last season, they bowed out of the state playoffs in the quarterfinals.
Roseboro's posted some eye-popping numbers thus far in his high school career. His aforementioned freshman stats: 107 tackles, seven sacks, and 12 TFLs, en route to a state title game appearance. As a sophomore, he again recorded 107 tackles to go along with 30(!) TFLs, eight sacks, four forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries. Last season, he tallied 128 tackles, 26 TFLs, 11 sacks, and seven pass breakups, per Scout. Needless to say, he's been quite productive at the high school level.
FAKE 40 TIME
ESPN lists an electronic time of 5.36 seconds, which gets zero FAKEs. He also recorded a 4.90-second 20-yard shuttle and a vertical leap of 25 inches—he's more explosive in short areas than he is fast, which is just fine for a defensive lineman. The film below shows he doesn't lack the requisite quickness to be an impact player.
These were quite misleadingly labeled "Sophomore All-American" highlights on Hudl, but they contain junior clips, and unlike the video I posted yesterday they have the handy circle around Roseboro before each play.
You can find single-game cut-ups from his sophomore season and a few clips from his freshman year on his Hudl page.
A short local news feature that accompanies one of those "about me" Q&As shows Roseboro moving around an impressive amount of weight. I'd embed the video but it autoplays; it's worth watching just to hear Roseboro's Carolina drawl.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
I fully expect Roseboro to start his career as a strongside DE, not only due to the quickness he displays for a player his size, but because of the depth chart at that spot: when he arrives in 2015, only Taco Charlton and Henry Poggi—who was recruited as a three-tech—will remain at that spot as the roster currently stands. He's got the size to play right away, and Michigan may very well need that to happen.
Down the road, his positional future depends on how well he can maintain his athleticism while being in a college strength program. Ideally, he's a monster of an SDE. Perhaps more realistically, he's a defensive tackle that can slide to the edge when Michigan needs a bigger line on the field.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
By our count, Michigan now has just one open scholarship slot remaining, though normal attrition should see that number increase to four or so. Roseboro fills a huge need as a guy who can play either SDE or three-tech, so the coaches can turn their attention to a few remaining priority recruits. CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South, LA WDE Jalen Bates, IN OLB Asmar Bilal, UT OLB Osa Masina, DC CB Marcus Lewis, and NY TE Tyrone Wheatley Jr. are some of the top options left on the board with serious stated interest in Michigan; five-star CA CB Iman Marshall should be mentioned here as well, though it'd be a major surprise if U-M managed to pull him in from the West Coast.