Most people are familiar with the guy who talks softly and carries a big stick. Northeast defensive lineman Leroy Roddy offers a different scenario.
The 6-foot-1, 310-pound senior walks/runs softly as he prepares to stick it to opposing ball-carriers.
“Agility is the biggest thing he has going for him,” Northeast coach David Masterson said. “He’s a big guy who is very strong. But his ability to move gives him the chance to make more plays.”
Masterson and the Vikings (2-1) will be looking to Roddy to continue his “specialty” when they host The Dunham School (3-0) for a pivotal District 6-2A opener Friday night.
Roddy earned plenty of accolades a year ago while helping Northeast advance to the Class 2A semifinals. He finished with 89 total tackles, including nine tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks and was an All-Metro and Class 2A All-State selection. He was selected as the top lineman at an Under Armour camp held in Dallas in the offseason.
Don’t ask Roddy about those things. Or about any of the state colleges who are currently recruiting him.
“We’re focused on this season … taking it one day and one game at a time,” Roddy said. “I’ve got some scholarship offers. I don’t want to think about that or talk about it now. The season is more important. Last year was great because we were able to win and go so far. There was a group of us who grew up playing together, and we knew each other well. This year we’re younger, but I think we’ve got a lot of potential.”
Adversity came early for the Vikings, who lost 56-6 to Class 5A Walker in their season opener. Two victories, including a 26-18 win over Glen Oaks last week, have followed.
“We have young guys who are talented,” Roddy said. “In that first game, they were trying to do their own thing. They learned then that you’ve got to do what the coaches tell you and play like a team. We all make mistakes. As long as we learn from them and keep working hard, I think we’ll be fine.”
Roddy prefers to lead by example. But Masterson says it is not unusual for Roddy to put his arm around a younger teammate who made a mistake or just got chewed out by a coach.
“Leroy is a good player, but he’s also a good kid,” Masterson said. “He’s been around this program for years and knows what we expect as coaches.”
When Masterson said Roddy has been around the program for years, it’s no exaggeration.
He’s a four-year starter, who garnered significant playing time as an eighth-grader. When injuries decimated the Vikings line, Roddy was a 255-pound seventh-grader who lined up at defensive end across from La’el Collins, the former Redemptorist and LSU star, now with the Dallas Cowboys.
“Now obviously, he got beat by Collins,” Masterson said. “But he kept working play after play and never got down about it. I liked what I saw, and he’s continued to grow.”
The only ex-Redemptorist player Roddy is concerned with now is former RHS quarterback Mike Williams, a 250-pounder, who has thrown for 612 yards in three games. Williams moved to Dunham after Redemptorist closed last spring.
“Their line is small in some places, but they’re scrappy,” Roddy said of Dunham. “They’ll battle us. He (Williams) is a big and strong.
“We need to keep him in the backfield, so we can make plays.”