George Rooks, Wolverine

George Rooks, Wolverine

January 27, 2021
Jersey City (NJ) St. Peter’s Prep DT George Rooks (image via

Jersey City (NJ) St. Peter’s Prep defensive tackle George Rooks III committed to Michigan for the class of 2021 on Wednesday. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Penn State, among others.

Rooks is listed at 6’4″ and 260 pounds and is the son of former Syracuse defensive lineman George Rooks, who played for the Orangemen from 1988-1991. During the former’s junior year in 2019, he made 71 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 9.5 sacks.

ESPN: 4-star, 83 grade, #22 DE, #208 overall
Rivals: 4-star, 5.8 grade, #14 SDE, #227 overall
247 Sports: 3-star, 88 grade, #30 DT

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Rooks has long been a Michigan lean . . . I mean a Syracuse lean . . . I mean a Boston College lean . . . I mean a Penn State lean . . . I mean . . . Okay, feelings about his leanings have changed direction like the wind. Rooks’s older sister, Taylor, played basketball at Michigan, which helped provide some familiarity and comfort with the Wolverines. I long thought the biggest threat to Michigan was Penn State, but defensive line coach Shaun Nua pulled off a big recruiting win.

Rooks plays defensive end for his high school team, and he looks the part. He has a thick lower body and a somewhat undeveloped upper body, so there is a lot of room to grow. He will probably grow into a defensive tackle or at least a 3-4 defensive end, depending on what kind of system new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald runs.

Rooks has plus athleticism for his size. He can sink his hips to change direction and is swift enough to take advantage of inside pass rush lanes when offensive tackles overset. He sells out his body to make tackles rather than waiting for the cavalry, which is the opposite of 2022 defensive line commit Davonte Miles. Rooks also has a nice, compact swim move, which is probably his best pass rush move at this point in his career.

On the negative side, Rooks does not display heavy hands. He does use his hands – sometimes to good effect – but he needs to strike and lock out better rather than playing patty cake. I also believe he needs to improve his aggression when taking on and defeating pullers. He has a tendency to open up his chest, stop his feet, and catch blockers rather than trying to be the aggressor.

Overall, Rooks has a nice set of athletic skills but is held back by a little bit of a tendency toward finesse when taking on blockers. I believe he will make a move to the interior of the defensive line, and it will take some time to bulk up. I see him as an eventual 290- to 295-pounder playing 3-tech (outside shoulder of the guard) or 4i (inside shoulder of tackle). With proper development, he could become a quietly solid player in the mold of Matt Godin.

Michigan now has 21 commitments in the class of 2021, and Rooks is the only one who has not yet signed his National Letter of Intent. (The Wolverines have also signed offensive tackle transfer Willie Allen.) Rooks is the only defensive tackle in the class aside from Dominick Giudice.

Rooks would be the first player from St. Peter’s Prep since linebacker Anthony Jordan (not to be confused with Jordan Anthony), who played for the Wolverines from 1997-2001.

TTB Rating: 80

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