June 1, 2010

Michigan commitment Chris Rock a terror for foes

Chris Rock, 6-5, 250 pounds, couldn't be blocked by Wyoming High School's offensive line, but the Cowboys, home to 2010 Michigan signee Jibreel Black, couldn't afford to double-team Rock in their 2009 matchup, and they would pay the price for that decision …

"We really didn't have much of a choice because they had another really good defensive end and then they had a defensive tackle going to Michigan State [Travis Jackson] so we couldn't afford to double-team Chris," Wyoming coach Bernie Barre said. "That was unfortunate for us because every time our quarterback dropped back to pass he had to dodge pressure."

Rock helped lead Columbus St. Francis de Sales to a 24-7 win over Wyoming in the Division III state semifinals. St. Francis would fall a week later to Cardinal Mooney. Rock finished his junior season with 15 sacks in 15 games, after totaling 16 sacks among 60 total tackles in 14 games during the 2008 campaign.

"From watching tape and playing against him, he's awfully good," Barre said. "He has great size, speed, agility and strength. He's taller and rangier than Jibreel [6-2, 250 pounds] but maybe not as quick. They have some similarities as defensive ends but they're different players too. I could see them being bookends up at Michigan."

When he learned Rock had committed to U-M over the weekend, Barre was shocked. He doesn't know the circumstances of Ohio State's situation but feels the Buckeyes missed out.

"There are a lot of great players in Ohio and Ohio State gets its fair share and can't get them all, but you don't let this kid go to your rival," Barre said. "He's the kind of talent they couldn't afford not to recruit."

Rock did not hold an offer from OSU - the Buckeyes earned two early commitments from defensive ends and backed off Rock - but he did have 15 scholarship offers, picking the Maize and Blue over Boston College, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Stanford and Wisconsin among others.

A visitor at the BBQ at The Big House May 22, Rock is a member of the Rivals250 to Watch in 2011 and is ranked the No. 6 defensive lineman in the state of Ohio by OhioVarsity.com.

"What I like about him is he's a high-motor guy," OhioVarsity.com publisher Steve Hare said. "He's always active with a head on a swivel looking for the football and tracking it down. He's a big, physical guy with long arms that knows how to use his hands to separate himself from an offensive lineman.

"He's a kid with a high ceiling because he has such tremendous instincts, he's strong and he works so hard on every play.

"I don't know that he'll be an instant contributor, but give him a year or two to learn the ropes at Michigan, put on some additional weight, and I think he will eventually be a very sold contributor, potentially a multi-year starter for the Wolverines."

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