With the turbulence of this year, there has not been any semblance of consistency. And even though Miami’s defensive end position was forced to make adjustments during fall camp, Senior DE, Quincy Roche, provided a steady pass-rush presence for the Canes throughout the season.
The star transfer was initially expected to complement Canes’ 2019 breakout DE, Greg Rousseau, to deliver a nightmare combination for opposing QBs. However, when Rousseau opted out for the season, the expectations for Miami’s disruptive pass rush were slightly tempered as the lethal trio turned to a duo, and it was unclear how Jaelan Phillips would contribute on the opposite end of Roche after not playing since 2018. The Roche-Phillips combination proved to be one of the most formidable in the nation.
Before the U
Before joining the ACC, Roche provided a sparkplug for the Temple Owls in the AAC. Hailing from New Town High School in Owings Mills, MD, Roche was a three-star recruit, ranked 1469th in the nation in 2016. Roche fell under the radar recruiting-wise as he only got offers from Temple, Appalachian State, Furman, Monmouth, and Toledo.
As is usually the case on the field for pass rushers, it’s not how you start, but how you finish. And Roche certainly made the most of his time with the Owls by outperforming his recruiting rankings. In his first two seasons, Roche gathered 88 tackles, 20.5 TFLs, and 13.0 Sacks.
However, Roche truly turned heads and put his name on the national scene during a productive Junior season. In the 2019 campaign, he recorded 49 tackles, 19 TFLs, and 13.0 Sacks on his way to the AAC Defensive Player of the Year. Perhaps the most impressive metric was Roche’s Pro Football Focus 93.3 pass rushing grade, only trailing the NFL’s likely Defensive Rookie of the Year and Ohio State alum, Chase Young.
The Path to the U
The 6-3, 245-pound edge rusher initially put his name into the NCAA Transfer Portal nearly a year ago on December 31, 2019 as a graduate transfer. Roche kept his transfer process open to Power Five options to refine his skills with a higher level of competition, but was undoubtedly going to be a one-and-done because many outlets projected Roche as a late-first round/early-second round NFL draft pick.
After his visit to Miami in January, Roche announced that he would be joining Miami. The announcement came just hours after QB D’Eriq King chose Miami through the portal, who ended up being roommates. The decision also came a full year after Manny Diaz initially accepted the Temple head coach position for only 18 days prior to returning to Miami. Despite Diaz’s mere 18 days at Temple, other members on Miami’s staff had ties to the Owls, including strength and conditioning coach, David Feeley, who knew what they were getting as a culture fit in Roche.
We would like to OFFICIALLY welcome @CanesFootball Quincy Roche (@_Underated2) to the 2021 @Reeses Senior Bowl! #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE #BestOfTheBest #GoCanes @JimNagy_SB @PaniniAmerica #RatedRookie pic.twitter.com/uGG59bPum9— Reese's Senior Bowl (@seniorbowl) November 17, 2020
Upon his arrival, Roche made it clear he was not just trying to use the transfer season as a springboard for his NFL stock, and that, instead, he wanted to contribute by helping the team win and being a leader: “I want the younger guys on the team to look towards me and know that I am a leader by example,” Roche said on the Inside The NFL Prospects podcast. “I’m going to do everything right on and off the field and I’m going to teach them as much as I can and still learn as much as I can.”
Roche’s Successful Senior Season
The synergy between Miami and Roche ended up being mutually beneficial. Miami went on to finish this regular season 8-2, where the pass rush ended up being the highlight on defense. And Roche packed on 10 pounds over the course of the offseason to land an invite to the prestigious Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Roche delivered impressive performances against Pitt (7 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 0.5 Sacks) and Duke (6 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 1.5 Sacks), both of which he earned ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week. Overall, Roche put up slightly less productive numbers on the season compared to his Temple stats as he tallied 45 tackles, 14.5 TFL, and 4.5 Sacks.
Highest-graded defenders over the last two seasons— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 2, 2020
1. Quincy Roche - 92.4
2. Elijah Molden - 92.3
3. Derek Stingley Jr. - 91.9
4. Nick Bolton - 91.8 pic.twitter.com/S62u4FhsUb
However, this is where the game film will be crucial in appraising Roche’s draft value, because he has shrewdly contributed to Miami’s overall front line that has been a force in stymying opposing offenses. To that end, Roche has likely been a major factor behind the emergence of Phillips, Jared Harrison-Hunte, Jonathan Ford, and Nesta Jade Silvera.
From a lowly touted recruit to a future NFL draftee, the Canes faithful is glad Roche made a pit stop at the U for his senior season. Even though it seemed like a foregone conclusion, Roche did not show his hand as to his intentions for declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft until last night. “Right now I’m just locked in on finishing the season as strong as possible,” Roche said.
However, he announced on social media that he would be declaring for the draft by fittingly ending his statement with, “From being a 2 star recruit, I have always had a chip on my shoulder that has carried me through my career... Without further ado, I would like to announce that I am forgoing my remaining eligibility and declaring for the 2021 NFL draft.”
As he embarks on his NFL quest, Roche will likely benefit lining up as a pass-rushing outside LB rather than a down lineman at the NFL level. Roche has an intuitive first step and quick hands, but has also been able to improve at dropping into coverage according to defensive coordinator, Blake Baker. In addition, a number of NFL Draft outlets have been listing Roche as an LB rather than a defensive end, likely due to his frame that measures slightly below the prototypical NFL DE. Roche should be picked anywhere between the late-first round and third round, contingent upon his NFL testing results.
Interesting draft nugget that I'm pretty sure no one else besides me cares about:— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) August 7, 2020
Miami now lists edge transfer Quincy Roche at 245 pounds after he was 235 at Temple last season.
Super talented pass-rusher with size/strength as biggest concern so this is nice to see pic.twitter.com/Io0sM0sjpr
As for his mark at the U, in a year where Miami once again benefitted from the NCAA Transfer Portal, Roche proved to be a valuable asset. And despite the short stint, the popularity of the portal continues to grow and Miami could definitely use some more defensive weapons through the portal. To that end, Roche’s successful season - along with other recent transfers’ success - should continue to enhance Miami as an attractive landing spot for transfers.
Similarly, even though the stint was short, Thank U Quincy Roche, for making the most of the year. Thank U for stepping up and being a leader on a defensive front when Miami lost an integral piece for the 2020 season. U had many more options through the Transfer Portal compared to your initial recruiting process and could have chosen anywhere. Thank U for choosing to be a Miami Hurricane to wrap up you collegiate career.