Sumter High School outside linebacker Antonio Roach had a couple of offers to play college football on the table from NCAA Division II schools Wingate and North Carolina-Pembroke.
Then, just a couple of weeks ago, Newberry College, also a DII …
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Melvin Lundy DB Newberry
Andre Amaker LB Newberry
Antonio Roach LB Newberry
Keshawn Croskey WR Pike
Abraham Temoney DB Erskine
Zyricq Rufus OL Catawba
Terrance McClain OL South Carolina State
Anthony Bradley QB Allen
Sean Swaringer Newberry
A’Monte Brown Newberry
Treyshawn Moore Shepherd
Eric Watts DE Connecticut
Zion Nelson OL Miami
Tayvian Gass OL Wofford
Joshua Simon WR Western Kentucky
Malik Richardson QB Western Carolina
Then, just a couple of weeks ago, Newberry College, also a DII school, came into the picture. And now, Roach will be in the team picture as a member of the Wolves program.
Roach, along with SHS teammates Andre Amaker and Melvin Lundy, signed with Newberry on Wednesday in a ceremony at the Sumter High mini-gymnasium.
Other Gamecocks signing on Wednesday were wide receiver Keshawn Croskey with Pike University and defensive back Abraham Temoney with Erskine College.
"They started showing interest in me about two weeks ago," Roach of the Newberry coaching staff. "When I went up there for my visit, it just felt like home to me. I just knew this is where I wanted to come and play football."
Roach admitted the fact that Amaker and Lundy had already visited Newberry and was strongly considering going there influenced his decision as well.
Roach was a 3-year starter for the Gamecocks. He was an all-region performer and won the region defensive player of the year award one time as well.
He had 73 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and five quarterback sacks this past season when Sumter went 10-1, going undefeated in the regular season. He also recovered a fumble that he returned for a touchdown and blocked a punt.
Roach has done all this despite being just 5-feet-8-inches and weighing 166 pounds, small for a linebacker. Gamecock head coach Mark Barnes doesn't think that will affect him at Newberry.
"Antonio has always had to deal with questions about his size since he started playing football," Barnes said. "He's just a great player, all over the field making plays. I'm happy he's getting this opportunity. I am very confident that Newberry is getting a great football player."
Newberry is a member of the South Atlantic Conference. The Wolves had a 5-6 overall record this past season and went 3-4 in the SAC.
"It means a lot for me to get this opportunity," Roach said. "It feels really good. "I'm just thankful that they had the faith in me to ask me to come and play for them."
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