When Akron first started recruiting 2021 Penn Hills athlete Noel Roach, he didn’t know that much about the program.
But as a Division I school in the MAC that wasn’t that far from home, he gave the Zips his full attention as part of the recruiting process.
When the coronavirus restrictions halted the recruiting process, Roach missed his chance to take a visit to the campus.
But through virtual tours with the Akron coaching staff and advice from his former Indians teammate Corey Thomas, who is entering his redshirt freshman year with the Zips, Roach was able to make a decision and he committed to Akron on Friday.
“I just feel like the coaching staff and [defensive coordinator and safeties coach Matt Feeney] really showed me how I fit into the scheme, how they ran things and how they ran defense,” Roach told Pittsburgh Sports Now.
Feeney and the Zips are recruiting the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Roach as a safety, where he will join Thomas in the Akron defensive backfield.
Thomas, in particular, was able to give Roach a good idea of what things are like on campus in lieu of taking a visit.
“He told me how they’re changing the culture there and how it’s going to be the next few years when I get there,” Roach said. “I just fell in love with that.”
That had Roach sold. The only final hurdle was selling his parents.
“Besides me, they were the biggest part in the decision,” Roach said. “I could focus with them on everything. We all got good information together and made a good decision. … My dad grew up watching football, obviously. He knew the tradition there. For my mom, it was the distance, that I’m playing Division I football and she knows the academics there are good.”
Roach said that he knew he wanted to make a decision before his senior season at Penn Hills, but with the 2021 classes filling up nationwide, he moved up his time frame to make sure he got a good fit.
“Everybody else wants to commit,” he said. “Spots are filling up. I was trying to get to a place where I could be a good fit and they wanted me.”
Now that he’s done with his recruiting process, Roach can get back to focusing on his senior season with the Indians.
“We wanted to commit before senior year, because we didn’t want any distractions,” he said. “I believe that my team can with the championship this year, so I want to give them my all.”