The University of Maryland’s motto for students is to “be fearless.” Greg Rose, a senior defensive end on the football team, has excelled at that.
The path that the 6-foot-2, 295-pound Rose traveled to play for Maryland was filled with twists and turns, but he never gave up. Originally from Los Angeles, Rose attended DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md.
After high school, Rose took the junior college route and attended Lackawanna College (Scranton, Pa.). While he excelled on the school’s football program, Rose was hungry for more. Rose served as a walk-on at Maryland as a junior, and his hard work paid off when he was put on scholarship ahead of his senior season. Rose has been a crucial part of Maryland’s 4-0 start on the gridiron as well.
“It was in all God’s plan, really. My sister, she got accepted to go to Howard University, and my mom … moved me and my sister out here,” Rose said on Glenn Clark Radio Sept. 24 of how he ended up in the D.C. area. “When I got here, I didn’t know nothing about Maryland so I wanted to go to the best high school out in Maryland. I was fortunate enough to be able to go to DeMatha Catholic High School.”
Rose played football all four years at DeMatha before graduating in 2017, playing on the varsity squad for three of those years. Rose won three WCAC championships during his tenure at DeMatha. Those championship games were played at Maryland Stadium, sparking a desire for Rose.
“My senior year … it was my last time playing at Maryland Stadium and I didn’t want it to be last time playing at Maryland Stadium,” Rose said. “It just felt good. I just really wanted to [play football], like real time, big time. I really wanted to play for Maryland.”
After graduating high school, Rose attended Lackawanna College and became an honorable mention All-American at the junior college level and a first-team All-Northeast Football Conference selection. Rose also won a NEFC championship while at Lackawanna.
Rose stayed in contact with his old high school coach, Elijah Brooks, who became the Terps’ running backs coach in 2018. Brooks put a good word in for Rose, who walked on at Maryland before the start of the shortened 2020 season. Rose played in two games for the Terps last year.
As the 2021 season approached, head coach Michael Locksley saw the constant work ethic that Rose brought to the table. To Rose’s surprise, Locksley decided to reward him during what Rose initially believed to be a routine team meeting. However, the team heard from NBA superstar Kevin Durant instead. Durant told the team that Rose would be put on scholarship.
“I had no idea. Honestly, we were already in camp, so I just thought we were having a motivational speaker, then get snacks and go to bed and get ready for the next day,” Rose said. “Once I saw Kevin Durant on the screen, I was excited because, I was like, ‘Kevin Durant’s going to talk to us? I definitely want to hear what he has to say.’ Then I heard my name and it was just different. It was an unreal experience.”
Rose said the news of being put on scholarship showed that the work he put in wasn’t “going unnoticed.”
“It just really meant a lot that Coach Locks was willing to give me an opportunity to become a scholarship athlete and help out my family,” said Rose, who has a daughter. “It just meant a lot.”
Rose made his first career start as a Terp against West Virginia in the 2021 season opener, posting two tackles in the win. However, he made his biggest impact against Illinois in Week 3. With the game all tied up late in the fourth quarter, Illinois had the ball and a chance to secure the win.
But Rose had different ideas. During Illinois’ last drive, Rose tallied two game-changing sacks, forcing Illinois to punt with 47 seconds left remaining in regulation. Maryland’s offense then drove down the field to set up a game-winning 32-yard field goal.
“We learned a lot about overcoming adversity,” Rose said of the ups and downs of the Illinois game. “… We don’t flinch. Even though things weren’t going [well], we never got too high or too low. The only person that can beat us is us.”
Maryland is sitting at 4-0 this season and looking to improve to 5-0 against fifth-ranked Iowa. Rose knows the season is still young, but his determination is still in high gear.
“We have a long season ahead of us,” Rose said, “I just want to keep producing for Maryland and keep playing for the name on the front of the jersey.”
For more from Rose, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox