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2019 SOTU Awards: MVP/Rookie of the Year/Defensive MVP

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Gregory Rousseau is a certified star, and was the best player at Miami in 2019.

Central Michigan v Miami Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

It is very rare for a player in college football to exceed the hype that is placed on them by fans and media, but this year’s MVP/Rookie of the Year/Defensive MVP did just that. Gregory Rousseau had been hyped for the last 2 off-seasons in Coral Gables, but had his freshman campaign cut short due to injury. It was clear in the opener against Florida that Rousseau had star potential and once he was finally able to get in the starting rotation, Miami realized they had their next star defensive player. Miami better enjoy Rousseau because 2020 will likely be his last at The U.

Miami inexplicably did not start GR15 for the 1st quarter of the season, but he still was able to garner 2 sacks in very limited action. Week 5 against Virginia Tech it was clear that Miami needed a spark on the defensive side of the ball after they gave up 42 points to the Hokies. Manny Diaz and Blake Baker finally inserted Rousseau into the starting lineup the following week and the GR15 star was born. On ESPN against a ranked Virginia team Gregory dominated all night coming up with 7 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. That Friday night proved many pundits right, who had been calling for Rousseau to get more playing time than Scott Patchan.

The national media started to take notice after 2 great games on the road against Pitt and FSU. In those contests GR had 7 sacks total and helped the Canes hold those teams to a combined 22 points in back to back wins. The FSU game was particularly impressive as Miami’s D-Line completely decimated the FSU offensive scheme and Rousseau lived in the backfield. It was refreshing to see a Miami player step up big in the rivalry game and look like a star in the process.

The season obviously didn’t end how anyone wanted it to end, but Miami has a certified star in Gregory Rousseau. 54 tackles, 15.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles are numbers of a 1st round pick. If Rousseau played on a better team he absolutely would’ve been a consensus All-American. As it was, he was 1st team All-ACC and a 2nd team All-American, and the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year. Not bad for a player who was stuck on the bench for the 1st five weeks of the regular season. Chase Young got all of the defensive accolades in 2019, but in 2020 Rousseau is the star pass rusher to watch.

Gregory Rousseau is this year’s MVP/Rookie of the Year/Defensive MVP. He was the best player on the Miami Hurricanes, and will have huge hype going into 2020. As we’ve seen, he can handle the expectations and exceed them.