World-Herald prep recruiting specialist Mike Sautter attended football practice at Omaha Roncalli on Friday. Here are his observations.
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The Omaha Roncalli seniors have made it to the state playoffs in each of their first three seasons. The Pride have not won a playoff game in all three tries. In 2018, Roncalli's goal and is to make it to the second round — at least.
Senior Alex Rodgers doesn't get the respect he deserves as one of the better all-around athletes in the 2019 class. In 2017, Rodgers rushed for 1,011 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was also led the team with 241 kick return yards and 80 punt return yards. In 2016, Rodgers had 375 yards passing and 690 yards rushing. From his hybrid linebacker/safety position, he added 70 tackles, two sacks and one interception.
Junior quarterback Jack Dotzler will join Rodgers in the backfield. Dotzler, who also starts at safety, throws a good ball in a clean pocket and has an understanding of the offense. His 2017 season was cut short by a broken ankle in the second game.
Senior Isaiah Wheeler is the team's best lineman. He has a good combination of size and speed at defensive tackle. Wheeler, who had 30 tackles and three sacks in 2017, will start at offensive guard and likely will be the long snapper as well.
Shane Orr, who recorded 19 tackles in 2017 as a sophomore, will play on the opposite side of Rodgers at outside linebacker. Orr will also see time at wide receiver as well.
Depth will be an issue in 2018 for the Crimson Pride. With 56 players on the roster and a tough three game slate to open the season, they will need to remain healthy. Roncalli opens the season with Omaha Gross, Omaha Skutt and Waverly.
6-foot-4, 250-pound sophomore lineman Nolan Gorczyca will be counted on to add depth up front on both sides of the ball. Two more players who should be solid contributors are junior RB/OLB TJ Hamilton and senior OLB/WR Max Wilmes.
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