WASHINGTON (BVM) – What do top football prospects Dante Lovett, Antonio Cotman Jr, Jordan Bass and Takye Heath have in common? Besides the fact that they reside in the Washington metropolitan area, known colloquially as the DMV, they are also all mentored by Rashad “Roc” Carmichael.
Carmichael, who played five years in the NFL with the Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles and the Arizona Cardinals and was a standout for Virginia Tech in college, has become one of the DMV’s biggest football mentors over the past few years. While Lovett, Cotman, Bass and Heath are among some of his most notable understudies, Carmichael has a far-reaching presence that has supported high school players as far as Georgia and New York, current college players like University of North Carolina cornerback Tony Grimes and even NFL players like recent Cincinnati Bengals undrafted free agent signee Delonte Hood.
“It was a natural process and transition from the NFL,” Carmichael said. “It was always my plan. I understood that my route to success of making it to the NFL was a long journey so I felt someone had to be there for the ups and downs the families go through during the whole process. Instead of focusing on being a coach or being a trainer, I took on the mentor role.”
— Roc Carmichael (@BappNAinEZBino) May 4, 2022
Carmichael has always had the goal of helping those in need. He has shown an ability to help those people, like former Wise High School player Kailel Baldon who struggled through homelessness, by connecting with them through the sport he loves. He wants to provide those kids, who are under recruited and underrepresented in the area, with an opportunity to achieve the same successes he was able to achieve because back when he was their age he was in a similar situation.
“I know from personal experience as a player that there are a lot of questions you have through the process so if you have someone there to help you through, I think there will be more guys who can be successful,” Carmichael said. “I’m really trying to create more opportunities and more chances of guys making it.”
Though Carmichael worked hard at his craft, that didn’t mean he was getting college looks. A standout at Gwynn Park High School in Clinton, Maryland, Carmichael played running back and defensive back and helped the Yellowjackets to a 14-0 mark and a state championship in 2005, rushing for over 800 yards and 11 touchdowns while also recording three interceptions and 30 tackles on defense as a defensive back. Despite only playing in seven games, Carmichael was named all-conference and all-region and finished his career with 1,785 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns while also recording 12 career interceptions and 115 tackles.
Even with all those statistics, Carmichael was overlooked. As a teammate of former Baylor standout and Cleveland Browns first round pick Phil Taylor, Carmichael had to work to get the attention of scouts.
“I feel like I was one of those guys,” Carmichael said. “I was in their shoes, especially the kids and families that travel around to the different colleges and Under Armour, Rivals type of camps. Me and my dad were doing the same thing in seventh grade all the way to my senior year when I got my Virginia Tech scholarship.”
On a trip with Taylor to a one-day camp at Virginia Tech, Carmichael showed out at the camp by running a 4.3 40-yard dash and winning a few one-on-ones. During the camp, legendary Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer pulled the young athlete aside to offer him a scholarship, something Carmichael accepted.
“I had to scratch and fight [for that scholarship],” Carmichael said. “Coach Beamer offered me right there on the spot and asked what offers I had and I laughed at him and said I had none…Coach Beamer saw something in me that day and offered me and I committed right there on the spot.”
Because of that opportunity, Carmichael was able to excel as a starting corner, recording 115 tackles, 10 interceptions, 16 pass breakups and 26 passes defended in his career. This allowed him to attend the NFL Combine then be drafted into the NFL in the fourth round by the Houston Texans in the 2011 NFL Draft. It is an opportunity like that which Carmichael works to give his players so they may be able to have the career he had.
With that in mind, Carmichael began working with DMV athletes This past winter, Carmichael expanded his reach with his 1% Showcase, which was held at Athletic Performance Inc. in Gambrills. The showcase featured over 100 athletes from the DMV area and beyond, giving them high quality training while also allowing them to get some more attention from collegiate decision makers.
“Me being a DMV guy, we have a lot of talent that gets overlooked,” Carmichael said. “I really believe in the DMV…I plan to keep that going annually. It was really successful.”
Carmichael isn’t done reaching out to the next generation either. In January, he helped coach in the Under Armour Futures All-American game, the nation’s biggest offseason football event for eighth graders, alongside another DMV resident and former NFL player Torrey Smith.
“That was a great opportunity and a great experience,” Carmichael said. “Definitely shoutout to those Under Armour guys. I will definitely be down there this year as well.”
— Roc Carmichael (@BappNAinEZBino) January 3, 2022
The former NFL DB is also planning on his newest venture, a 7-on-7 team called “the 1%ers.” Why the “1%ers?” Because that’s about how many college football players end up in the NFL.
“I think it sums up the total journey that has to be completed as a football player and in life to be successful,” Carmichael said. “It goes back to the chances you have of making it to the NFL from high school…that puts everything in a nutshell of how much work, time, dedication, blood, sweat and tears goes into making these dreams come true.”
With his future of helping the next generation likely only growing, expect the name Roc Carmichael to be even more popular in the DMV area for years to come. As more DMV area players commit to DI programs, expect even more to give credit to Carmichael, one of the area’s biggest football mentors.
“The number one thing I want people to take away from me is to trust the process,” Carmichael said. “You get out what you put in. If you put the work in, all your dreams and everything will come true. It doesn’t matter if you’re a 10-star or a no-star, just keep working.”