Malcolm Roach will be back on the Forty Acres, as the versatile Texas Longhorns defender announced his decision to return for his senior season on Thursday afternoon:
“Winning the Sugar Bowl was an amazing way to cop off my junior year,” Roach wrote. “We ended on a high note but everyone in that locker room knew that he have unfinished business. I received a great deal of attention from the NFL this season. However, after talking it over with my family, I’ve decided to return for my senior year and earn my degree from the University of Texas.
“Longhorn Nation I will be back!”
Roach became the second Longhorns player to make a similar announcement on Thursday, joining standout wide receiver Collin Johnson.
A 6’3, 270-pounder, Roach was originally a consensus three-star prospect in the 2016 class out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As a freshman, he was a breakout sensation at the Fox position under former head coach Charlie Strong, starting five games and recording eight tackles for loss and three sacks.
During the 2017 season, Roach moved to defensive end while battling a turf toe injury. He only started three games, but did notch 37 tackles, four tackles for loss, and two sacks.
After experimenting with Roach at linebacker against Maryland and Tulsa, including Todd Orlando’s B-backer position, Roach suffered a fractured foot against USC that kept him out until the West Virginia game. When he returned, Orlando moved him back to defensive end, where he played well in the Big 12 Championship game against Oklahoma with five tackles.
On the season, Roach totaled 24 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and two quarterback hurries.
With all three starters along the defensive line departing, Roach is likely to remain at the defensive end position, where he’ll have a chance to provide some steady senior leadership and build on his experience playing there over the last two seasons.
So while there wasn’t any significant buzz about Roach declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft, it’s still a positive to hear that he’ll be back, because the Longhorns will need him to once again be an impact player like he was as a freshman.