NR: 31 SR: 29 Star Rating: ****
An Inside Texas conversation with former Hallsville head coach Roger Adams on Roddrick Muckelroy:
IT: What are Roddrick's strengths as a football player?
Adams: We knew Roddrick was a special athlete first time we laid eyes on him playing seventh grade football. The thing that makes Roddrick so special is, one, he understands the game plan, two, his reaction to the football, and three, just how he plays the game of football. He's a very gifted athlete and I believe that The University of Texas is getting one of the finest young men to play linebacker, or wherever they decide to play him. He'll make an impact for them, I can't say his first year, but the years after that.
IT: What did the Texas coaches tell you that they liked about Roddrick?
Adams: First of all, his nose for the football. Roddrick studies the films. My defensive coordinator at the time, who's now the head coach, does a great job coaching them how to read keys and how to shuck blockers and all that stuff, but they like his leverage, his long arms. Though he's 6-3, he's got arms that would match up to about a 7-foot man and he's just got great leverage and just his ability to read and react.
IT: What are Roddrick's current measurables?
Adams: Six-three, probably a little over 220 now. During the season, he played at around 218. He's an athlete that will fill out. He's got great bone structure. Once he hits those weights and starts eating that University of Texas food, he's going to blossom. Mom and Dad were both great athletes here in Hallsville. His daddy is a very barrel-chested man so you know Roddrick somewhere down the line is going to be a big man. And not that he isn't already...
IT: What about his 40 time?
Adams: We clocked him at close to a 4.5 but probably consistently and knowing how the college coaches time he'll be around a 4.6... Hopefully once he starts to thicken up he'll continue to be able to run that.
IT: Where does he project at the next level?
Adams: They plan on him stepping in (at) Derrick Johnson's (spot). That to me was very impressive for the coaches to say that. I project him to be a linebacker, I don't know whether it will be inside or outside. Looking at his speed in the forty, to me once he finally thickens up and starts to mature physically, I think he'll be an inside linebacker...
IT: What are the areas of his game that Roddrick needs to improve upon to be successful at the next level?
Adams: He's been everything for us for four years, so it's hard to say. Things he needs to work on to be a better athlete, one, strength, for such a big kid, long arms, he needs upper body strength...
IT: Did you play him at multiple positions?
Adams: You don't come by athletes like this too often. Roddrick in the past has been a linebacker, tailback, fullback at times, sent him down on the kickoff team. When you have a good thing you try not to wear it out but he's such an impact player no matter where he would be. I could probably have put him on the offensive line and he would have been the greatest blocker we had.
IT: Is Roddrick a leader, and if so, how does he lead?
Adams: Yes, without a doubt. Roddrick is not a very vocal leader. There are times when he gets up and says things but he more leads by actions. He's a winner through and through. Leaves everything on the field. He's spent after every game. You can just see it in his eyes, he has nothing left. Kids see that and that's how he's a big leader, just by his actions. Very few times vocally has he stepped up and said things, but when he does, they listen. So do I. [Laughs]
IT: What does he say to you?
Adams: He comes up and says so-and-so is tired, or 'Coach, I'll carry the ball', or 'Coach, I'm tired'. Lot of kids won't say that, they want to be on the field just to be on the field. He's on the field to win. And if he's tired he'll come tell you. And that's very appreciated. Though he's a great athlete, when he's tired you need to get him out.
IT: So he obviously has self-awareness...
Adams: He knows his limits. He's just a great leader and he wouldn't do anything to hurt the team.
IT: What did Roddrick mean to your football program?
Adams: He's been a starter for us the last four years, even as a freshman. He started for us till he broke his collarbone. You know the old saying, he's just the bell cow you need. I don't know if you've dealt with cattle very much, but the bell cow leads the whole herd and that's what he's been. Even when he was young. Mostly as a sophomore's when it started. He's just been that leader on the field that you know things are going to get done and he's going to be the presence out there that these other kids look up to. I can tell you when we played Terrell one year, Roddrick's knee was hurt and it was all the way up till game time whether he was going to play or not and boy in pregame we're fine, we're fine, we're fine, well, right at the start of the game. Roddrick said, "Coach, I can't go'. Well, when the kids found that out, the kids weren't ready to play, went out and stumbled through the first three quarters then we finally figured out we could play with them and of course came back but they ended up beating us by two to where I knew if Roddrick were playing we would have won. That's just his presence out there. The coaches, the kids, the fans, we all clung to him because we knew that he was our man, he was the savior out there for us. He's made such great plays these last four years for us that most kids can't make in high school.
IT: Is there a defining moment for you that exemplifies Roddrick's ability as a football player?
Adams: The year we played Palestine the year they had Adrian Peterson. Mr. Peterson won his few battles but Roddrick tackled him straight up. Here's a kid that was No. 2 in the Heisman Trophy (balloting), Mr. Everything as a senior in high school, and here was a junior linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy making big plays on him. Watching that game film is so exciting watching that because I see what kind of athlete Peterson was and still is and then I see how Roddrick competed against that, and it's going to be exciting because I'll get to see it a few more years and hopefully Roddrick fits in the system and gets to play quite a bit. We'll wait and see. But without a doubt, that was like watching two prizefighters fight for the heavyweight championship of the world. I'd have to call it a draw. Other than we won the game, so I guess Roddrick won!
IT: Is there anything you'd like to add about Roddrick that we didn't already cover?
Adams: I wish he was back. In my 25 years of coaching without a doubt -- and I've seen a lot of good athletes; we've got one at Oklahoma -- Roddrick is such a student of the game. He'll study and he'll do exactly what he needs to do to do his best. There's not much more I can say about him. I love him and I just hope he doesn't forget about the old, short, fat bald man here when he makes it big. I wish him the best and I'm glad we got one to stay in Texas.
Note from Clendon: Muckelroy told Will that the Texas coaches liked his style of play, his speed, his attitude and his character. Muckelroy said he "know(s) the game real well" and he echoed his former coach's comments about his ability to study and then read offenses.
UT's Signing Day bio: Four-year starter at linebacker and played some running back … totaled 378 tackles and 33 TFLs for his career … first-team 4A All-State by The Associated Press and Texas Sports Writers Association as a senior … also first-team All-Area and first-team All-District … recorded 104 tackles, four sacks, 12 TFLs, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery that year … added two rushing TDs while lining up at RB in goal-line situations … tabbed honorable mention All-State by The Associated Press as a junior … also first-team All-Area, first-team All-District, and first-team All-District as a running back … posted 144 tackles, 14 TFLs, while rushing 89 times for 664 yards and nine TDs that year … registered 21 tackles, a forced fumble and scored two TDs, including the game-winner versus Palestine in the first round of the playoffs in 2003 … made 108 tackles, two sacks, seven TFLs, one INT, five fumble recoveries, and two forced fumbles as a sophomore … added 98 rushes for 448 yards and two TDs … a two-year letterman in basketball … competed in track for three years in the 100m, 200m and mile relay … enjoys video games and cuts hair … brother, Kendrick, is a LB at Kilgore Junior College … cousin, Joe King, played OL at Oklahoma State and in the NFL from 1991-97 with Tampa Bay, Cincinnati and Cleveland … born October 27, 1986, in Longview, Texas.
"I chose Texas because it's where I've always wanted to play football. I had my eyes set on Texas. I liked all of the people I met and the campus, and it's just a place that I wanted to be for my college career."
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