The draft buzz on the University of Miami, Edge, Greg Rousseau, can be summed up in two words game-changer. When putting together the perfect defensive edge, you want a strong, athletic, and good length. You also want him to have good eye discipline, a heavy punch at the point of attack, and the speed to chase down ball carriers. Rousseau has everything you want at 6-7 270 lbs. he has a thick base and long-strong arms that help him set a defensive edge. Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the future star and talked to him about his playing style? I asked Greg about how the draft hype affects him and what it means to play for the Hurricanes?
“Playing for the Hurricanes is a dream come true for me. I grew up watching this team as a child, I feel so blessed putting on the uniform every week. I have been a fan of the team, so putting on for this team is huge for me. I think the pressures of it is one thing. To me, I feel like you have to go out and just play your heart out. You have to leave it all on the field. If you do that you will feel good about what you did. Then all the talk from the fans good or bad, won’t affect you. I am sure you know how fans can be? I get it because I was one of those guys growing up. I would get on my teams when they lose, so I understand their passion. The tradition here is huge! The history is filled with winners, to be honest legends. Some of the best players to ever strap it up. So people expect a lot from us as a team. You always need to be prepared. I know it can be a little stressful, but I wouldn’t change it.”
With 15.5 career sacks, Rousseau’s stats may not blow anyone away. But when you watch the film on him, you see the impact he has. Teams change their game plan for a guy like Rousseau. He is so disruptive and forces the offensive coordinators to keep an extra eye on him. Opposing teams have double and even triple-teamed him in his career. It is tough to have an impact stat-wise when you have an extra person in your face, but the young pass rusher was still impressive. Rousseau still had bright moments. He has a way of taking over a game, even when he isn’t near the ball, which is rare! I asked him about his playing style, as well as, what it is like dealing with all the draft buzz?
“I think I am a smart player. I know that I am always prepared, with film study and just always talking to coach. I’m always in someone’s ear asking questions. Trying to be better in everything I do. I don’t ever want to look in the mirror feeling like I have been outworked. I know that I am a leader and a guy that the team looks to for a spark at times. So I work myself as hard as possible, to be that guy they need me to be. I love my team and my guys.”
Moving forward he spoke about the recent draft buzz.
“I think it’s pretty cool to have some draft buzz, but I don’t let it affect me one way or another. I think if you start listening to people talk about you and let it pump your head up, it will mess up your play. It could slow you down and make you lose focus. So, while it is nice, I don’t want to lose focus on what I have in front of me. I owe it to myself and my family to keep up my grind.”
Before I spoke with the playmaker, I reached out to a few people who would know a little about Rousseau. One was a scouting source, and the other is a top prospect considered one of the best offensive linemen in college football, Christian Darrisaw. Coming from rival Virginia Tech, Darrisaw has come to know Rousseau well.
“Yeah, I would say in my time playing. He’s one of the guys that really stands out to me. He is a good one. He can do it all. Rush the passer and stop the run. You have to know where he is, and dig in a bit more. That is a guy that I really respect on the field. He is a guy I think is going to be a star in the NFL.”
Moving on, I asked my scouting source, his thoughts on the defensive headache?
“Jon-Michael, he is a headache for quarterbacks, and offensive coordinators. He can be a problem for an offense to scheme around. You see he is so long and athletic. He is sneaky fast, and can catch up to anything you throw at him. He doesn’t fall for all the eye candy, and seems to be in the film room. I like the kid a lot. You know it fits perfectly that he is a (Drew) Rosenhaus, guy. That guy can find stars, and that is what this kid is. He is a star, and if you develop him the right way he could be a 15 sack a season kind of guy. He will make waves at the next level. I think come draft time all the draft buzz will get even louder. He is the kind of guy you build a defensive line with. I love that kid from Pitt, too? Jaylen Twyman. He is the guy I love in the middle, and Rousseau, is the guy I like off the edge. Set him loose and stand back man.”
Watching the film on Rousseau, it is simple to get caught up imagining just how good he could be. With the tools he possesses, and the right mind frame. Rousseau, could be a guy we hear about weekly. He could easily be a guy that dominates the NFL, the way he dominated the ACC.
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