Liberty senior Bryan Roof is polite and laid-back off the football field. On it he is focused and gritty, and those qualities translate into success.
"There isn't a high school program in the country that wouldn't like to have him play on their team," Liberty Coach Tommy Buzzo said. "He plays when he's bloody, he plays when he's hurt. In games or in practice you're going to get everything he has. He does everything you'd like for him to do.
"And then, on top of that, he's just a great kid. Not that I would, but if I needed him to come cut my grass, he would be happy to do it. And if you needed him to cut your grass, he'd be happy to do that too. On and off the field he's just all heart."
Roof has been much heralded as a linebacker on a defense that has ranked among the Washington area's stingiest the past three years. He earned All-Extra, all-Region II and all-Northwestern District honors last season, leading the Eagles with 101 tackles, including 12 for loss, two sacks for minus-21 yards, a blocked punt and a blocked field goal.
This season he is on pace for a similar showing, totaling 16 solo tackles, including two for loss, and 15 assists in three games. His 31 total tackles are 19 ahead of his closest teammate.
"I think my greatest strength as a football player is the heart that I give out there," Roof said. "I'm going 100 miles an hour every play."
Though defense is Roof's specialty and his preference -- there are more opportunities to hit people, he says -- his 6-foot, 254-pound frame makes him more marketable to college recruiters as a fullback. He is the Eagles' third-leading running back and their primary goal-line carrier, having rushed for 133 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries this season.
"We're going to give him the ball more than colleges will," Buzzo said. "Because at this level he's always going to go forward. Always. He runs hard enough, and is big enough, that even if we miss a block he's going to get something. But they like him at fullback because of his height and his blocking ability. He's a tremendous blocker. It's just a matter of finding a system that uses a two-back offensive set and needs a big, bruising fullback in there to lead the way."