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Rousseau, Roche Ready to Lead Miami

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Gregory Rousseau and Quincy Roche are poised to lead another dominant defense for the Hurricanes.

Three defenders in all of college football are back after compiling at least 13 sacks a season ago; two of them play for Miami. In returning sophomore Gregory Rousseau and Temple-transfer Quincy Roche, the Hurricanes now have a pair of bookends who combined for 28.5 sacks, 38.5 tackles for loss and eleven quarterback hurries in 2019. Miami not only has the nation's top edge-rushing tandem by a wide margin, but one of the most talented and accomplished duos in recent memory.

Rousseau and Roche are poised to lead another dominant defense for the Hurricanes.

Only all-everything Ohio State playmaker Chase Young recorded more sacks a year ago than Rousseau, a 6'7'' redshirt freshman who burst onto the national scene with a season for the record books. His 15.5 sacks rank tied for second all-time at the program; finishing the fall playing his best football of the year, Rousseau recorded 10.5 sacks over Miami's final six games alone. He already has a place in history. Few freshman seasons, at any position, have been as prolific as the one Rosseau just had.

Roche tallied 26 total sacks at Temple, adding 39.5 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and three blocked kicks. Recently the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, he is one of the Owls most decorated players ever. Now Roche will help lead the charge at Miami. He, athletic and rangy at 6'4'', 235 pounds, is a creative and constant disrupter. The rate of Roche's recent production has few parallels.

For a defense that ranked 13th nationally this past season, Rosseau and Roche, collectively, can help take the Hurricanes to an even higher level. They form a truly rare pairing. For point of reference, Rosseau and Roche's combined aforementioned count of 28.5 sacks last year would have been more than three entire ACC teams, very nearly, with a few more big plays, ranking in the top half of the league. Furthermore, that number would have slotted in the top 60 in the country.

Poised to be complementary catalysts on both sides of the defensive front, Rosseau and Roche give Miami's defense rising All-American bookends on which to build. Though some unit retooling must be done, no team in college football has a better foundation. The Hurricanes will be able to relentlessly get after opposing defenses, which is significant given that Miami finished sixth in the nation in tackles for loss and seventh in sacks a season ago.

One of the game's top attacking defenses just might be even better. Get ready for more.  

These Hurricanes will be a fascinating team to watch. Houston-transfer D'Eriq King, one of the best signal callers around, brings impressive credentials to the quarterback position. He and new coordinator Rhett Lashlee are leading an offensive renovation. Across the board, more heralded and blue-chip talent is on the way from the prep ranks. Miami, clearly, has the top two defensive ends in the game. 

Individually, Rousseau and Roche have been elite defensive playmakers; collectively, they will form a rush for the ages.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports