When you mention the name Chris Rock, almost immediately you think of the funny man with the wicked tongue who does stand-up comedy. The good people at Columbus DeSales don’t think along those same lines when they hear the same name. Chris Rock is a sophomore defensive end at DeSales who is making his name known around the recruiting circles at this time. Here’s some of his story and it’s certainly nothing to laugh about.
It’s hard to believe that week seven of the high school season is upon us already.
There’s not much daylight left by the time most of the games get underway this week and there is even a bit of a chill in the air now.
Last weekend (week six) I was in Columbus on Friday afternoon for our Bucknuts inaugural golf outing that was held at the Tartan East Golf Club.
By the time the scramble event was over and we all had a wonderful dinner together, it was time for J.J. Huddle’s Matt Natali and myself to slip out during the silent auction and raffle so that we would have enough time to attend a nearby high school football game.
Natali chose the Steubenville at Bishop Watterson game for us and we swiftly made our way over to an overcrowded Hagley Field. Boy the Steubenville faithful support their team as well as anyone in Ohio. They consumed almost three-fourths of the stands and most of the field itself was surrounded in red and black.
I must admit that I was looking forward to seeing junior Dwight Macon under center for the Big Red and although he didn’t disappoint, I wouldn’t say he had a spectacular performance by any means. He did do enough however to help get his team out to a 14-0 halftime lead.
Along with Branko Busick’s four-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Macon ran for his team’s other first-half score in the second quarter to help provide Steubenville with their 14-point margin at the intermission.
That also happened to be the final tally on the scoreboard after the second half was completed as Steubenville kept their undefeated season going with a very nice road victory.
Matt and I didn’t see the second half of that contest that kicked off at 7 p.m. because we left at the half for nearby DeSales High School to see the Stallions take on St. Charles.
Much to my surprise and probably to most of those in attendance on the home side, St. Charles led 10-7 at the half of that game. It was Homecoming at DeSales.
The Stallions rallied in the second half and came away with a 20-10 victory. And they, like Steubenville, remained undefeated after six weeks into the season.
One of the younger players I was excited to see that night was a sophomore with a catchy name for DeSales. I’ve been hearing about this young defensive end for a while now so when I had a chance to go see him and DeSales play, I went for it.
First of all the name itself, Chris Rock, automatically helps him stand out.
“People will say to me ‘tell me a joke’ and stuff like that. But I’m used to it,” Rock said. “I have a sense of humor about it but I’m not really a stand-up commedian kind of guy.”
But at 6-5 and 245 pounds Rock is nothing to laugh at when you see him perform on the gridiron.
“I’m just trying to be the best player that I can be,” he said. “And if I keep working hard then hopefully, eventually I’ll get a scholarship to a good school.”
He’s certainly a work in progress still but Rock is obviously a nice-looking prospect already.
“As a kid in little league football I’ve always been a lot bigger than all of the kids,” he said. “And I’ve always been, I guess, decently good.”
Last year, Rock started as a freshman at Thomas Worthington High School.
“I think that helped me a lot this year being a sophomore and playing at DeSales,” he said. “It’s a really good school with a lot of good tradition and great players coming through there.”
Rock went looking for a better opportunity for himself and he found it at DeSales.
“I was just kind of looking for a place that was a better fit for me,” said Rock who transferred in the spring in time for the last quarter of school last year. “We didn’t really win that many games last year at Thomas (2-8) and I was kind of looking for a place that we can win a lot of games and have a little fun and I could get a lot of exposure.”
Bingo, DeSales is 6-0 and Rock has become a well-known commodity just halfway through the regular season of his sophomore campaign. But before he came to DeSales, Rock also toiled in anonymity on the hardwood as a freshman for the Cardinals.
“I did all right,” said Rock who played the four position. “I was playing JV and playing a little bit of varsity but not really because they had a bunch of seniors on the team. But it was fun.”
He plans on competing on the hoop team for the Stallions this winter also.
“Basketball used to be my big thing. I used to play AAU and that was really fun,” Rock said. “But I’ll probably say now I’m more focused on football.”
Football is more likely the sport that will allow him the chance to attend school on the next level for free. Rock certainly seems to have a frame that is built more for football than basketball.
“I think I’ve always had good natural lower body strength,” Rock said. “My upper body isn’t that strong yet so I’ll need to work on that in the off-season a lot.”
He’s not really into the recruiting mode yet but Rock did attend Ohio State’s football camp last summer and he worked out with the defensive ends while he was there.
“I was fun. I didn’t really feel like I was recognized or anything but it was a fun time. I went there with some of my friends,” he said. “It was a good experience just to be there. I really liked Coach Heacock. He was a nice guy.”
Fast forward to now where Rock is just enjoying his season. The Stallions are currently second in computer points in Region 7.
“I feel that we’re playing really good right now,” he said. “The only thing I can say that we really need to work on is not turning the ball over. We have a lot of fumbles and stuff. We just need to take care of the little things and if we can clear those up I think we can be really good.”
DeSales has Watterson next on their schedule at Crew Stadium (Friday night).
“I don’t think we can make those kind of mistakes against them because it might cost us,” Rock said. “It’s a big rivalry game so those guys will play hard.”
It’s clear, after seeing him play, that Rock’s better days are certainly ahead of him on the gridiron and, although nothing is going on for him now, the recruiting process is certain to heat up for him in the near future.
“When people come to visit our high school they’ll just leave me questionnaires and stuff,” he said. “I think about (recruiting) sometimes. It’s really exciting to think about getting recruited to a college to play football. And I love football. But that’s all really.”
Rock doesn’t really have an ultimate scenario about how he would like the recruiting process to turn out for him yet.
“I haven’t really looked into colleges that much,” he said. “I like Ohio State, that would definitely be a good choice for me. But (I’d consider) any good school really.”
Ohio State is definitely a school that Rock would be interested in if they were to show some interest in him.
“That’s a very big possibility. I like how they play and the coaches seemed really nice when I went there for the camp and stuff,” he said. “And my dad is an Ohio State fan and so I kind of grew up one too.”
Winning a state title or two, however, is something that Rock is probably a bit more interested in these days.
“Right now we’re kind of focusing on Watterson obviously and if we beat them we’ll win the CCL so that’s first,” he said. “And then (we’ll focus on) making the playoffs. And our biggest goal is to make the state championship game and win it.”
Rock, who turned 16 in July, has about a 3.5 GPA.
And after seeing both Watterson and DeSales play last week, I give the edge to Rock and the Stallions in this contest.