University of Miami graduate transfer defensive end Quincy Roche, the 2019 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, said he once ‘chased down’ new UM quarterback D’Eriq King when King played for Houston and Roche was at Temple.
The two are now roommates and good buddies, which should make for compelling conversations.
“Yeah, we had a couple of run-ins during the game,’’ Roche, who spoke to the media after spring practice Friday, told UM broadcaster Joe Zagacki with a chuckle during a WQAM interview just after signing day in February. “I actually got a sack during that game. Very dynamic with his feet, very dynamic with his arm. I’m really glad I don’t have to play against him.’’
King, a prolific signal caller who threw for 36 touchdowns and ran for another 14 in 2018 alone, was asked that day by Zagacki if Roche “got you one time.’’
Don’t think so
“I don’t remember that,’’ King said. “I’m not going to admit that.’’
That’s because according to the official stats, Roche never sacked King.
The two actually played against each other twice, in 2018 when King threw for 322 yards and five touchdowns (with one interception) and ran for another 125 yards and a score in a 59-49 loss; and in 2017 when King played receiver and Houston won 20-13.
Roche, the 6-4, 235-pound Sports Illustrated first-team All-American who finished last season with 19 tackles for loss and 13 sacks (tied for seventh most in the country), had three tackles each of his games against King, plus one fumble recovery and forced fumble.
When asked Friday what King is like, Roche, like everyone else this past week, was thumbs up.
“A good character dude, real on top of everything, always perfectly on time, punctual,’’ Roche said. “That’s a good guy. It helps to have somebody you can relate to that comes from a similar conference. I think both of us have been welcomed with open arms. Just the family atmosphere around here has kind of helped the transition. They just welcomed us so well. “
Roche, from Randallstown, Maryland, announced on Dec. 31 that he was entering the transfer portal for his final season.
“Typing this message nearly brought me to tears,’’ he posted on Twitter in his announcement to fans. “I have made so many lifetime memories, connections, and friendships.’’
Before Miami, Roche totaled 137 career tackles at Temple, 39.5 tackles for loss and 26 sacks in his three seasons. He added seven pass breakups, six forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and three blocked kicks.
Roche and Rousseau
Now, Roche is part of a scary-strong Hurricanes defensive end unit. He is expected to start opposite redshirt sophomore Greg Rousseau, whose 15 1/2 sacks were second most in the nation behind Ohio State’s Chase Young.
“It’s a blessing to have somebody as talented as him on the other side who can do so many things,’’ Roche said. “I think I’ve been learning a lot from him [and] he’s been learning a lot from me. That’s really going to make us better going into the fall.”
And the fall begins with the Sept. 5 home opener against Roche’s former team Temple.
“Yeah, man. That’s a unique scenario,’’ Roche told Zagacki. “I’m really close with everybody on the team. But I wish everybody the best, and everybody wishes me well. I’m really looking forward to going 12-0 and maximizing this opportunity.’’
‘Workaholic and smart’
Rousseau said earlier this week that it was “a blessing’’ having Roche as another talented edge rusher. “He’s a workaholic and smart,’’ Rousseau said. “His football IQ is really high. I’ve already learned a whole bunch of things from Quincy. He’s a great guy.’’
UM coach Manny Diaz was asked Friday, minutes after the Hurricanes were released for spring break, his impressions of Roche.
“Quincy, again, much like D’Eriq, a hard worker, a guy that just comes in and wants to earn the respect of the locker room by going hard. Now, in practice, you can see he’s got some things that make him hard to block. He’s got some athleticism about him.
“He can bend. He can turn a corner. He’s a different style of rusher than a [Greg] Rousseau, so it’s a different body type, a little bit of a different skill set. So having him and getting [DE] Jaelan Phillips for his first week, he’s a different guy. He’s got some different skills than the other two have, but all those guys are a problem.
“And you throw in Jahfari Harvey [and] Cam Williams has had a good first week. Defensive end, which should always be a glamour position on this defense at this school, now and forever through recruiting, I think those guys are right in line with what the University of Miami should have at that position.”