September 17, 2012
Catholic Central DE gaining attention, visits MSU
The recruiting process is brand new for Detroit Catholic Central junior defensive end Dylan Roney. And he's liking it so far.
Just four games into his junior year, Roney has started the unofficial visit portion of recruiting. On Saturday, he attended the Michigan State-Notre Dame game at Spartan Stadium.
Not only was it his first unofficial visit, it was also just his second college football game ever.
"I went to a Michigan game when I was like in seventh grade, but this was the first one I had been too like this," he said. "It's all brand new.
"I didn't know the stadium was so big like that. It was huge. It was sweet."
Roney, listed at 6-3, 235 on the official Catholic Central roster, had 8.5 sacks and 75 tackles in 2011 as a sophomore for one of the top teams in the state.
He then turned heads at the Michigan State camp last summer. He met with MSU running backs coach Brad Salem while there.
"Coach Salem liked me and then he sent me a letter saying to give him a call," Roney said. "So I called him up and he invited me to come to a game and to drop by and hang out. It felt great to get an invitation like that."
I think this is my first time commenting on sophomore football film, but such is the shameful expedited nature of college football recruiting ... You only need to watch the first three or four highlights of his YouTube film to see why this is a guy you want to get into camp for a closer look ... He's quick, tenacious, can bend and play low to get off a block, and then he accelerates in one stride after getting off a block ... He can change direction to close, and he tackles through the ball carrier, meaning he doesn't have to break down and come to balance and feel around for the guy to make a tackle. He explodes through it, which is a nice trait for any player, let alone a sophomore specimen ... That's at about 208 pounds. On one hand, you wonder if he will have the same acceleration when he gets up to college weight some day; on the other hand you wonder if he can get even quicker, because the kid barely had a driver's license at the time his video was filmed ... At that weight, he shows a time or two that he can explode into a blocker or a ball carrier. He has some shock and some nastiness. A few times, he knocks much bigger offensive tackles back with a single two-handed punch, a sign of nice natural strength ... He looks athletic, well-coached and it looks like he loves football. Also, he apparently has a high GPA. Not a bad combination. ... He showed excellent take-off and use of hands in getting around the left tackle and a blocking back for a sack of Jayru Campbell of Detroit Cass Tech in the state title game last November. That looks like a rip past the LT, who passed him off to the RB, and definitely a swim past the RB. He can move his hands that quickly, for a pair of moves like that in a single pass rush, and he does it without coming apart. He makes it hard for a blocker to get his hands on him ... Is he a high major recruit? That's up for the real experts, the college coaches, to decide. But his sophomore film certainly should make people want to see some more. He's an intriguing prospect to keep an eye on. As I like to say, let's not put him in the Hall of Fame just yet. He knows he has a lot of work to do, and he's thinking high school goals first and foremost, as he should ... Just keep him in mind when watching CC highlights on TV, or when flipping through the recruiting funny pages ... I would anticipate a flood of mid-major offers to come his way soon.
Roney, like most juniors, is still in the evaluation stages. Likewise, he is just beginning to evaluate colleges.
The first person he called when getting the invitation to an MSU game was his friend, Mike Schultz, who is a freshman non-athlete at MSU.
"He was going to walk-on at MSU, but he broke his foot," Roney said. "With him being there, I was able to come up earlier, like 1 o'clock and I hung out with him. He took me out to eat and we hung out the whole game, went to a little tailgate where some of my friends were."
Roney was accompanied by Catholic Central's Zach Bock, who was on campus as an unofficial visitor for MSU soccer.
Roney spoke briefly with Salem prior to the game.
"He said he knew it was just my second college game and he said, 'Just have fun. Take it all in; it's going to be a great atmosphere. Just walk around and check it out.'
"It was a great experience," Roney said.
He's looking forward to more trips, but right now he is focused on his junior season and helped Catholic Central attempt to make a run at its 12th state title in school history.
"In our program, you have to play inside the framework of our defense for it to work, so I'm focused on that and doing my part to help the team," he said. "I'm working on my game, trying to improve my ability to get off blocks, and working on my tackling and staying low on the line of scrimmage and not over-pursuing."
In Roney's sophomore film, the defensive end shows one- and two-step burst, quickness to close and an aggressive disposition in finishing. That was the 6-foot-2, 208-pound version of Roney. He's an inch taller and more than 20 pounds heavier now.
"The MSU coaches (at camp) said they like my quickness," Roney said. "They said I remind them a little bit of Marcus Rush. That's a real good compliment. They liked my speed off the ball and my pursuit and how I don't give till the play is over."
The Rest Of It
In addition to MSU, he also camped at Toledo and the Sound Mind Sound Body camp in Southfield, Mich.
Detroit Catholic Central is 2-2, with victories over Detroit Cody and Lincoln (Ont.) Niagara Academy sandwhiched around losses to Toledo Whitmer and Cincinnati Moeller.
Catholic Central suffered a 61-33 loss to Moeller on Sept. 8. Roney lined up against MSU commitment Shane Jones on that night.
"I blocked him the whole game," Roney said. "He's a good player, plays with a lot of aggression. I did the best I could versus him. He is one of the best I've gone up against."
Roney and Catholic Central will be back in action at 1 p.m. on Sunday in the 68th annual Boys Bowl game, this year against Warren De La Salle. "I'm pumped up about it," he said. "It's our homecoming game."
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