Isaac Rochell isn’t planning to be at Notre Dame’s team banquet next month and he really doesn’t want to be there either, but that doesn’t say anything about the way the 2013 Irish defensive end commit feels about Notre Dame.
“In my mind, I’m going to be playing in the state championship,” said the 6-foot-5, 260-pounder from McDonough, Ga.
Rochell’s Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy squad enters the playoffs with a 9-1 record. The Chargers are hosting Our Lady of Mercy in the first round of the playoffs on Friday.
“I think if we work hard and do what we’re supposed to do, there’s no doubt that we can win a state championship,” said Rochell.
If Rochell and Eagle’s Landing keep winning, the state semifinals will be on Dec. 7th, the night of Notre Dame’s banquet. Rochell used an unofficial visit to get to the Michigan game in September and is hoping his team keeps winning and he’ll be able to use his official visit in January.
“But for some odd reason, if we lose, I’ll be there for the banquet,” Rochell said. “If not, I’ll be back there after the first of the year. I’ll definitely be there again.”
Rochell is excited to see his future teammates head into the season’s final game with an unbeaten record and the nation’s number one ranking.
“I think it speaks for itself, they’re number one,” said Rochell. “They just need to keep working hard and beat USC. I think they should, but they need to keep working and doing the things they’re doing.”
The number one ranking has been a source of pride for Rochell among his teachers and classmates.
“They know it’s not an average school, it’s the number one school in the nation,” Rochell said. “There are a lot of Notre Dame fans at the school and it’s a big deal for the school to have me committed to the number one team in the country.”
But Rochell’s main focus is on his own season.
“The season’s going good for me,” he said. “Our d-line is playing really good and our defense is playing well. All season when our starting defense has been on the field, our defense hasn’t given up a touchdown.”
Eagle’s Landing hasn’t lost a game since the season-opener way back in August and has outscored opponents 455-54 in the final nine games of the regular season. Rochell missed some time with an injury, but has worked his way back.
“I broke my hand, so when I got my cast off, I was playing with a broken hand,” he said. “Now, I’m working on bringing my hands every play and really concentrating on that. Other than that, we just have team goals, not necessarily individual goals.”
And the team goal is simple, winning state.