A past connection formed in Durham has led to a future in Greenville for Buford, GA, quarterback Mic Roof.
Roof is one of two outstanding football-playing sons of former Duke University head coach and defensive coordinator Ted Roof. The elder Roof, who is now defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, was the Blue Devils head coach from 2003 to 2007. For two of those seasons in 2006 and 2007, first-year East Carolina head coach Scottie Montgomery served as Duke’s wide receivers coach.
The relationship forged between the Roofs and Montgomery during that time paid dividends for East Carolina on May 20 when Mic Roof gave his verbal commitment to the Pirates without even having set foot on the school campus.
A major reason Mic Roof chose ECU sight unseen?
“There was an obvious connection with Coach Montgomery and that played a role in it,” Roof said recently. “My Dad really helped me through the recruiting process, and when East Carolina and Coach Montgomery came into the picture he told me that was someone we could trust.
“Then I learned about the fan base up there and the great atmosphere they have for football. I found out it’s a great place to go to school, so I committed right after the spring game.”
Charlotte, Miami of Ohio and Troy had already offered scholarships to Roof by the time Montgomery staff began their recruiting efforts in January. Hoping to land at least two quarterback prospects for his new program, Montgomery quickly offered the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Roof in late January.
The Pirates would eventually land pledges from both Roof and Charlotte quarterback Kingsley Ifedi on the same weekend.
“Coach Montgomery told me they would sign two quarterbacks this year,” Roof said. “I didn’t mind that. I knew I’d have to compete anywhere I’d go to play. I didn’t see that as a turnoff to East Carolina for me.”
Roof will join an ECU quarterback field in 2017 that should include scholarship players in Ifedi, 2016 freshman Reid Herring, sophomore-to-be John Jacobs and junior college transfer Gardner Minshew, plus walk-on Ray Smith.
Competing for playing time at quarterback in the major college ranks is something Roof has dreamed about since childhood when he and twin brother T.D. first began tossing around a football in their backyard. Mic Roof was drawn to the quarterback position from the start.
“I wanted to play quarterback and he (T.D.) wanted to catch the ball, so it kind of worked out,” Mic Roof said. “We played a lot in our backyard because my dad wouldn’t let us play with pads until the fourth grade. We begged him to play, but he didn’t want us to start too early. So he finally let us play in the fourth grade and I loved it.”
It would take a while for Roof to work himself up the depth chart once reaching Georgia state powerhouse Buford High School. The Wolves have won 11 state championships in football, including consecutive crowns from 2012 to 2014.
Roof was a backup quarterback on the ’14 title squad as a sophomore, completing eight of 11 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown in limited action. The poise he displayed that season quickly put him at the top of Buford quarterback depth chart by the start of the 2015 season.
The Wolves once again advanced to the state finals with Roof under center, but lost 10-0 in the championship game against Cartersville. Roof wound up completing 109 of 164 passes for 1,507 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior.
“I just want to win, so I do whatever it takes to help my team win,” Roof said in describing his strengths at quarterback. “I think my play-action game is pretty good. I don’t mind handing the ball off. I’m not a selfish player who always has to pull the ball down and throw it. Running or throwing, it doesn’t matter to me how it gets into the end zone. I just want to win.”
Roof will have to do his winning after this season without his brother. T.D. Roof, who plays linebacker for the Wolves, made his verbal commitment to his father’s team, Georgia Tech, a month after Mic’s pledge to ECU.
“I never really looked at Georgia Tech because I do not fit that type of offense, whatsoever,” Mic Roof said. “I’m happy for my brother, but it’ll be tough playing without him. I’ve had him for 17 years. But I think it will be fun. Different. But fun.”
The good news is that Roof will be bringing part of Buford to East Carolina with him. Teammate Connor Mills, a 6-3, 290-pound offensive guard, also joined the Pirates’ recruiting Class of 2017 on June 8.
Mills picked ECU over offers from Charlotte, Charleston Southern, Elon, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Mercer, Middle Tennessee State, Navy, Ohio University, Samford, Southern Miss, Troy, Tulane and Western Carolina.
“I was really excited about that,” Roof said. “I’ve been working on him to commit for a couple of weeks. He finally pulled the trigger and I’m excited for him. I’m glad he’s coming to East Carolina and hopefully we can room together.”
The commitments from Roof and Mills increases the ECU recruiting class to seven.