February 5, 2010

Coach Jones' Development Business: Roney Lozano

To evaluate UC-signee Roney Lozano using the same metrics as other lifelong football players seems pointless.

He has been playing the sport for two years, one single season at defensive line. How could anyone know his trajectory in this complex game?

"We are in the developmental business," said Coach Butch Jones. "We are looking into the best players to fit into the growth process."

This common refrain contains more than coachspeak.

When Coach Jones says this class can not be judged until 3 or 4 years down the line he surely means a player like Lozano.

For a young man to pick up football so quickly and earn high-profile D1 offers speaks to his power and athleticism. Unlike his indeterminate potential Lozano's athleticism can be gauged immediately.

"Right now I am weighing about 275," said Lozano. "I am benching about 315. My squat is about 475."

Knowing that most of the men in the trenches weigh in around 3 bills Roney will be pushing to get his weight up by freshman year. With a proven work ethic his goal weight of 285 to 295 seems plausible.

The Columbian-born Lozano happily signed for UC, despite a handful of late arriving poachers.

"I think it speaks volumes for the recruiting process," said Coach Jones. "Here is a Miami resident. He was offered by U of Miami. Texas Tech came in and offered him late. He did not stay at home."

There were several key reasons why Lozano chose Cincinnati over Texas Tech, Miami, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Maryland, and others.

"First of all I will be going to a great program," viewed Lozano. "I felt like being a great program will push me more and help me compete harder. The coaching staff coming in…they are a new staff. I will be going in my freshman year with a five year contract. We will both be starting something new. I looked at it as a plus."

While many players seek out a coach entrenched at a school with a system in place for years, anticipating more of the same, Roney really likes the chance to be a part of the freshness at 2700 Bearcats Way.

Lozano has experience with new coaches as his senior season aligned with Coach Chance Benton's American High School debut. Benton had nothing but nice things to say about Lozano, acknowledging both an intense work ethic and kind heart.

The burgeoning opportunity appealed to him then as now. Even more appealing to the agile DT is the defensive scheme employed by Coach Jones.

"They are switching defenses from a 3-4 to a 4-3 meaning that they would need a tackle just like me," said Lozano. "It just seemed right. When I was on my visit I liked the players. I got to hang out with big Derek Wolfe. He showed me a good time. He seemed like a guy I could play with and look up to."

The roster will be stuffed with run stuffers especially first year players. In addition to Lozano, Coach Jones and his staff brought in Brad Harrah, Camaron Beard, and Eric Lefeld. The other three expect to compete on the outside of the D-line while Lozano knows nose tackle to be his residence.

"He has great disruptive quickness, uses his hands extremely well, and has very good feet," said Coach Jones.

Both Lozano and his future coach agree his innate quickness will be the greatest asset against Big East linemen. His self-reported 40 time of 4.82 should have fans licking their chops in anticipation. Coupled with the powerful legs expect to see him in opposing backfields in years to come.

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