The Miami Hurricanes have always been known to develop stellar defensive ends, such as Calais Campbell, Jerome McDougle, and more recently with Joe Jackson and Jonathan Garvin. Well, UM has found its next great DE, Gregory Rousseau.
Rousseau made his first career start against Virginia this past weekend, and the redshirt freshman did not disappoint. #15 tallied seven tackles, two TFLs, one sack and a forced fumble. In fact, if you were to take away just one thing from that game, it would be Rousseau’s performance, he was that dominant.
Trajan Bandy: DE Greg Rousseau “was relentless tonight.” pic.twitter.com/dZBM4aQI6U— Susan Miller Degnan (@smillerdegnan) October 12, 2019
In particular, he made two game-changing plays that helped the Canes escape with a 17-9 win. The first one came on the first play of the second quarter, with Miami leading 7-0, and Virginia going for it on 4th and 1 already in UM’s territory. Rousseau read the play perfectly and BOLTED into the backfield to drop the running back for the 4th down stop.
Rousseau is a game changer on defense. Look at #15 absolutely blow up this 4th and 1 pic.twitter.com/f2DT0oEMJb— Beat The Astros/Canes Are Byke/Fire Jason Garrett (@hurricanesmarsh) October 14, 2019
Then the second play was in the fourth quarter, with Miami leading now only 10-6, and UVA in Canes territory and threatening. On a 3rd and 10, Rousseau blasted quarterback Bryce Perkins for the sack, also forcing a fumble, forcing the Cavaliers to kick a field goal.
Rousseau: game changer. Miami clinging to a lead in the 4th, 3rd and 10, gets the sack and forces a fumble. pic.twitter.com/JeHGRGyAvi— Beat The Astros/Canes Are Byke/Fire Jason Garrett (@hurricanesmarsh) October 14, 2019
After Friday’s game, Rousseau’s season stat line reads: 16 tackles, 5 sacks, 7.5 TFLs, 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery. #15 leads the Canes in both sacks and tackles for loss. He also ranks 4th in the ACC for sacks, and 7th for TFLs.
While ESPN announcers were amazed by Rousseau’s performance, Miami fans and even Manny Diaz weren’t surprised by it at all.
Manny Diaz on Greg Rousseau: "We've been saying this since his first spring, we knew he had a big-time future here."— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) October 12, 2019
A member of the 2018 recruiting class, the 6-6 athletic freak out of Champagnat Catholic in Hialeah was expected to contribute plenty his first year, dominating in his first spring in Coral Gables.
Another rookie put his name on the map yesterday.— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) April 15, 2018
Greg Rousseau recorded:
- 5.5 total tackles
- 4 tackles for loss
- 3 sacks pic.twitter.com/259ZG3UGDB
Sadly, Rousseau suffered a season ending ankle injury in just the second game last year against Savannah State. Though, he battled back and dominated throughout this past offseason, earning praise from everyone, including Calais Campbell himself, who stopped by practice in the spring.
I think Greg Rousseau has 7,543 sacks in 4 spring scrimmages.— rOmaN (@Romancane) April 8, 2019
Need this man healthy for the season because if he is........ #TNM
Coming into 2019, Rousseau was behind fifth-year Scott Patchan, making up an impressive rotation at defensive end, along with Jonathan Garvin and Trevon Hill. Even though his snap count wasn’t that high through the first five games, Rousseau’s presence was felt every single week, starting against the Gators, where he pulled down Feleipe Franks for his first career sack.
In those five games, Rousseau was used primarily as a third-down rusher, and even with minimal snaps, Greg continued to find the quarterback and get in the backfield constantly. Like here against North Carolina in Miami’s second game, Rousseau was lined up in the interior and dropped Sam Howell.
Versus Central Michigan, Rousseau not only recorded a sack, but he forced and recovered a fumble on the same play, as he was able to put on the Turnover Chain for the first time.
Greg Rousseau gets his third sack of the season and also puts on the Turnover Chain for the first time. 15 is blossoming into a star pic.twitter.com/lz2eqkpUMw— Beat The Astros/Canes Are Byke/Fire Jason Garrett (@hurricanesmarsh) September 25, 2019
As Rousseau’s play was elevating week after week, the question as to why he wasn’t starting became more and more frequent. Even though Patchan was playing well, the difference between the two was obviously in favor of Rousseau.
Why aren't we seeing more of Greg Rousseau (22 snaps vs. Va. Tech)? Blake Baker: "Greg has earned the right to play more. The flow of the game sometimes dictates that a little bit... he's been a bright spot for us all season."— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) October 7, 2019
Finally, with Manny Diaz announcing he’d have more of a role with the defense this past week, it was announced on Friday, day of the Virginia game, that Rousseau would be making his first career start, with Garvin on the other end.
Because Rousseau got off to such a hot start in the UVA game, the Cavaliers started to double team him often. That allowed for the other defensive lineman for Miami to run free and pressure Bryce Perkins all night long, sacking Virginia’s dual-threat quarterback five times. Perfect example was on the Cavaliers final drive, so much attention was shown to Rousseau to block him, that Trajan Bandy and Trevon Hill get to Perkins untouched for the sack.
Look at the attention Rousseau receives, Trajan Bandy and Trevon Hill are untouched as they bring Bryce Perkins down pic.twitter.com/vYQOhDRhz6— Beat The Astros/Canes Are Byke/Fire Jason Garrett (@hurricanesmarsh) October 14, 2019
It seems that coach Diaz made the right decision to start Rousseau, and because he’s only a redshirt freshman, his future and upside can’t be any brighter right now.