T.D. Roof became Georgia Tech’s third commitment in its 2017 recruiting class when he committed on June 6th, 2017 — just one day following the commitment of OL Connor Hansen. Although he’ll play linebacker for the Yellow Jackets, he’s a little bit undersized at only 5’11”, and 205 pounds. (In fairness, recent trends on defense have involved really effectively using linebackers that traditionally would have been considered undersized, but that fit better to defend against spread-based schemes.) Roof played high school football for Buford High School, on the northern end of Gwinnett County. He’s rated a three-star prospect by Rivals (5.5) and the 247Sports Composite (0.8346), and committed to Georgia Tech over offers from Indiana, East Carolina, and several other FBS programs.
Roof is, of course, the son of Georgia Tech’s defensive coordinator Ted Roof (who played for the Yellow Jackets himself from 1982-1985). He becomes the latest in a growing trend of legacy players to follow in their fathers’ footsteps by playing on the Flats — and is just one of a few legacy players in his signing class.
When you watch Roof’s highlights, it’s apparent that he wasn’t recruited to Georgia Tech just because his dad is the coach there — the kid really brings a lot to the field. The biggest things that stick out about his game are his impressive speed and motor. Although he’s undersized for a linebacker at only 205 pounds, he really utilizes his speed well in running plays down from the back side, pursuing ball carriers, and shooting gaps between linemen. He really seems to just prefer to play the game fast, almost with a sense of reckless abandon. Also, while “motor” is typically something attributed to linemen, Roof shows a great “motor” by not quitting on plays and continually showing high energy in chasing down plays from afar (including on kickoff coverage). His combination of speed, motor, and a sneaky sense of physicality actually really remind me of a recently-graduated Georgia Tech linebacker who we said was undersized.
A key thing that Roof will need to be mindful of in college is not over-pursuing plays. His aggression, while generally a positive quality for a linebacker, is such that it could leave him out-of-position to make plays. That will come with time as he learns the system and adjusts to the speed of the college game, but it could definitely cause issues if he gets early playing time.
What to Expect
With his skill set, I expect Roof to either play a similar outside linebacker role to what P.J. Davis played, or more of a LB/S hybrid spot (a nickel corner, if you will). That said, there are a slew of other players at each of those spots with more experience that will limit Roof’s early playing time — not to mention that there are several very talented players in his signing class that will also be competing for playing time. For 2017, my expectation is that Roof will redshirt, unless he proves to be invaluable on special teams.
Long-term, Roof has the ability to grow into a playmaker on Georgia Tech’s defense in the same way that P.J. Davis did, using his speed and aggression to make plays all over the field (and even lead the team in tackles twice). I’m very curious to see how Roof grows and contributes on-field throughout his career on the Flats.