For N.C. State’s Darian Roseboro, it wasn’t a tough decision or one he wanted to prolong.
“I made a promise to my dad to earn my degree before I leave, and I plan on keeping that promise,” the junior defensive end said.
Johnny Roseboro, Darian’s father, died Oct. 7 in Lincolnton at age 43. His son called him his “best friend, coach, hero, dad and most importantly my keeper,” and Darian plans to graduate next year with a degree in sports management, with a concentration in sports marketing.
The NFL? Roseboro decided that can wait. While Roseboro has the size, speed and pass-rushing instincts at 6-4 and 287 pounds that NFL teams covet, while he may have scored high at the NFL combine, he wanted it known before the Sun Bowl that he would be back with the Pack.
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Roseboro announced the decision Sunday on Twitter, saying, “I want to do it the right way and this is the right way and the right thing for me.”
Roseboro, in an interview, explained getting the message out before the bowl, saying, “I just wanted everything to settle down and not have as many people calling me while I’m trying to focus. Pretty much just lay things to rest so it won’t be anything for anybody to worry about or be a distraction for anybody.”
Quarterback Ryan Finley and running back Nyheim Hines are two other players grappling with the decision about leaving early and entering the 2018 NFL Draft. Both will wait until after the Dec. 29 bowl game in El Paso, Texas, before making the call.
A year ago, defensive end Bradley Chubb was in that stay-or-go position. Like Roseboro, he could have found an NFL team that wanted him and started his professional career.
But Chubb stayed. While playing through a few injuries, he was the 2017 ACC defensive player of the year and a consensus first-team All-American, and could be among the top 10 picks in the NFL Draft.
“He’s a great player who has a passion for the game and plays the game the way it should be played,” Roseboro said.
Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren believes Chubb’s example may have been a factor in Roseboro’s decision and could influence such players as Finley and Hines.
“Bradley was told he would be drafted high,” Doeren said. “Bradley’s decision to come back is relevant because he knew where he would be drafted. He knew the guys above him would be coming off the (draft) board, and he would become the best defensive end in college football, which is a $20 million increase, if he played well as a college senior, in the draft.
“There are some guys who heard that story and are seeing it live, and it helps us.”
At the same time, Doeren said, safety Josh Jones did leave early after the 2016 season, performed well at the combine and was drafted higher than expected – in the second round by the Green Bay Packers.
“All of those are stories you talk about with the guys,” Doeren said. “And each one of these young men are different. The NFL gives you different information on all of them. You go through it and try to help them make the decision that’s best for them and their families and don’t push them one way or the other, since it’s a really big decision.”
In looking at Roseboro’s decision to stay, Doeren said, “I think he’s got goals that are realistic. Darian’s focused on what he wants to do. His goal is to be a first-round pick, his goal is to be a college grad. Neither one of those goals is real right now, so he has to come back to reach his goals that he and his dad talked about.”
Roseboro played the week after his father’s death, dedicating the Pittsburgh game to him, and the Wolfpack players wore “JR” stickers on their helmets in Johnny Roseboro’s honor. In the Pack’s 35-17 road win, Roseboro had a game-high three tackles for a loss, a sack and a quarterback pressure, earning a game ball from Doeren.
With the NFL decision now made, Roseboro wants a bowl win as a springboard into his senior season. He said his mother and grandparents would be at the bowl game, giving it a special feel, even though his father will be greatly missed.
“I always think of a bowl as another season,” Roseboro said. “You’re working on what you need to do to improve and you’re able to see the younger guys improve and work on their skill sets, as well.”