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Saturday, January 25, 2014
2015 S Roundtree's recruitment heating up

By Gerry Hamilton

EVANS, Ga. -- At the beginning of the high school season last fall, Class of 2015 safety Rashad Roundtree (Evans, Ga./Lakeside) was regarded as a future Division-I football player by those close to the Lakeside program.

By the end of the regular season, however, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound hard-hitting safety who had more than 90 tackles and four interceptions had not been offered by any schools.

While Georgia, Clemson and South Carolina had talked to the Lakeside staff about offering Roundtree, it wasn’t until the day of the Panthers' playoff game on Nov. 15 that the first verbal offer was made.

“Duke offered me on the way to our playoff game against Creekside,” Roundtree said Friday. “I was extremely happy. I really wasn’t expecting it to be Duke at all, especially since they started really contacting me three days before. It was really exciting to get offered by a great program like Duke, and especially watching the great job they did on the field this season. It really means a lot that they went out on faith with me and took a chance on me."

Roundtree has been caught off guard by his meteoric rise.

“After my junior season, I started to get a lot of interest, but I didn’t expect to get offers until my senior year," he said. "Once Georgia and Michigan State and Ole Miss offered me, they just started rolling in.”

Now with offers from Georgia, Alabama, Duke, Clemson, South Carolina, Florida, Ohio State, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, the opportunities are presenting themselves quicker than Roundtree can digest them.

“Right now, I’m just trying to view everything from a distance," Roundtree said. "I’m staying focused on the team right now, but in the next few months I will really begin the process in depth.”

Roundtree is already trying to line up unofficial visits for this spring and summer, and he plans to study the coaches from every school that has offered.

“The coaching staff is important. It’s really all the coaching staff, not just the head coach or a position coach," he said. "The whole coaching staff makes a team go. Seeing the coaches that have a good relationship with the players is key. I want to see how the players react to each other, how they work together in the offseason and practice.”

While the physically developing prospect isn’t ready to name top schools, he does admit that the 2010 national title game caught his eye.

“I think it was Auburn and Oregon national championship game that really hit the spot with me," he said. "Just the way those teams ... the hype that both teams had. Nobody could decide. Cam Newton was on that hot streak and people weren’t sure he could continue it. Oregon had the fast-paced offense. That was the game that really got me watching college football a lot."

With an offer list that is expected to rise to more than 20 soon, there are two programs west of his hometown that he hopes to see offer.

“Right now I’m interested in UCLA and Texas A&M," he said. "Just great programs on the rise."

One key aspect of Roundtree’s recruitment that college coaches must accomplish is winning over his family.

“It will especially be my mom and my dad, and my sister and my coach too that I lean on," he said. "It will just be sitting down and really evaluating stuff. How much they impress my mom will be big. I know that’s going to be a big factor. Which ever school can impress her the most, that will be a big factor for me."

On Friday, coaches from Duke, Florida, Ole Miss and Georgia all made appearances at Lakeside High, and the Bulldogs attended Roundtree’s basketball game.

Roundtree has been selected to play in the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game. He accepted his invite at a school pep rally Friday morning in front of 1,700 students.