2011 Countdown: #17 Craig Roh

2011 Countdown: #17 Craig Roh


August 14, 2011
Craig Roh (#88)

Name: Craig Roh
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 269 lbs.
High school: Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, AZ
Position: Weakside end
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #88
Last year: I ranked Roh #8 and said he would have 45 tackles and 7 sacks.  He started at OLB and DE at various times, finishing with 43 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1/2 a sack, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 pass breakup.

Well, I overshot on Roh’s sack total by about 6.5 sacks.  Like everything that’s happened over the last three seasons, I blame the coaches.  Roh played outside linebacker for the first eight weeks of the season in a 3-3-5 defense, one in which he rarely rushed the passer and often found himself in coverage.  Who takes a 6’5″, high school superstar of a pass rusher and turns him into an outside linebacker in a 3-3-5?  Anyone besides Rich Rodriguez and Greg Robinson?  Probably not.  Things got so bad in 2010 that Roh and his father reportedly threatened to transfer schools if the coaches didn’t put him back at his natural defensive end position.  Whether that story is true or not, Roh was at defensive end by the Illinois game on November 6.  Roh showed plenty of promise as a freshman, when he had 2 sacks among 37 tackles and looked like a future star at the defensive end position; now he returns to that weakside end spot with about 35 more pounds on his frame than he had as a freshman in 2009.

Roh was being pushed by sophomore defensive end Jibreel Black in the spring, but recent comments by the coaches suggest that Black didn’t come back in August as advanced as they had hoped.  It seems that the weakside end position is Roh’s to lose now, whereas there were some questions back in April.  I have always thought highly of Roh, going back to the 2009 recruiting cycle, when I said he would be the best overall recruit in his class.  Now that he has a coaching staff who presumably know how to use a defensive end, we should see Roh take a leap forward after his sophomore slump.  In the 4-3 Under defense, he should see plenty of one-on-one matchups with opposing offensive tackles or even the occasional running back.  And instead of seeing meager sack totals from Michigan’s defensive ends (1/2 for Roh last season, 4 for Van Bergen), we ought to see them notch about 10 total between the two end spots.

Prediction: Starting weakside end; 50 tackles, 6 sacks

3 comments

  1. Comments: 21628
    Aug 14, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    269 pounds? Beeftacular. Our D-line could honestly kill people if things work out.

  2. Comments: 21628
    Painter Smurf
    Aug 14, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    Just curious what you think Roh's strengths are? Admittedly, I expected him to have more of a speed rush than what I have seen thus far, based on his HS reputation. The way Robinson used him last year was ridiculous. I think it is good that he is putting on weight – don't see him as a dynamo pass rusher in the mold of some previous UM greats, but he could make good, well-rounded DE IMO. His run defense will improve. Having Mattison tutor him can't hurt.

    Regarding Black, my guess is that Mattison wanted him to put on some good weight and is disappointed that he is still under 260. Just a hunch.

  3. Comments: 21628
    Aug 14, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    @ Painter Smurf 6:52 p.m.

    I don't really think we've had a chance to see Roh's strengths. He was playing out of position at both OLB and DE in the 3-3-5 last year, and his freshman season can be somewhat discounted because he was summer enrollee and only 235 lbs.

    Roh has solid technique, good speed, and above average athleticism. I think playing in a 5-technique (outside the offensive tackle) and taking on single blocks will be good for him. I think you'll see his sack totals jump because this is [finally] the position he should have been playing his entire college career.

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