UGA commit Julian Rochester isn’t happy about the recruiting rankings.
Rochester, a 5-star defensive tackle from McEachern High School, has taken some heat this offseason for not performing so well at Nike’s “The Opening” all-star competition. According to reports, he showed up a bit overweight and out of shape.
When he first saw what was said about him, Rochester’s first reaction was just to shake it off.
“I laughed,” Rochester told the AJC. “Why am I going to let some 5-foot-2 (recruiting analyst) bother me? Why am I going to let that affect what I got going on at McEachern? Why am I going to let that affect what I got going on at the University of Georgia? Don’t quote me when I get to the NFL. Don’t quote me when I get successful. I’m not letting that bother me at all.”
He continued: “I’m not going to let somebody that sits behind a desk all day and has never played a down of football tell me what I can or can’t do. That’s not going to stop me from going to a good school. Don’t call my phone. Don’t say anything to me when I make it and become successful.”
Rochester is barely clinging on to his 5-star status after the fallout from The Opening. Before the all-star recruiting event in July, he was considered among the nation’s top 12-13 prospects. Then he quickly dropped to No. 24 overall in the country — which is still elite. But not in the mind of Rochester.
The 6-foot-5, 323-pounder plans on quieting his doubters by having the best season in McEachern history. He has lofty goals of getting around 25 sacks and leading his teammates to a state championship.
“I am trying to get first-team all-state and first-team all-county,” he said. “Shoot, I wish there was a first-team all-country. I’m trying to go out with a bang with my teammates and win a state championship. I’m trying to get legendary status.”
For anyone who questions whether or not Rochester can prove his doubters wrong, he has a proposition for you.
“Can these people block me? No,” he said. “That’s all I have to say about that. Until they come out on this field and try to block me, then they should stop talking. You can talk all you want, but you won’t come say it to my face. You won’t let me put the facts out there.”
The AJC Super 11 prospect isn’t focusing on what others say about his personal game. He is more focused on his senior season at McEachern and helping build the 2016 UGA recruiting class.
Even though other UGA targets could possibly take a starting spot from him, Rochester is trying to get defensive tackles for the Bulldogs — Rashan Gary, Derrick Brown and Antwuan Jackson. Rochester wants to play side-by-side with some of the nation’s top prospects.
“I want to be with the best,” he said. “I’ve never been afraid of competition. All I can do is go out there and give it my all. If God let blessed that person to be better than me, then so be it. But I’m not going to let them be better than me by choice. They are going to have to fight for it to get my spot.”