Roots adds depth to running back core

Aaron Zewdie, Staff Reporter

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The CWU football team is 3-2 so far this season. They have many key players, one of whom is sophomore Michael Roots. Roots is a running back transfer from Southern Oregon University (SOU).

Roots is from Sacramento, California, and has been playing football since the age of seven.

“I remember being out in the streets playing street football with my big cousins and every weekend we would have a tournament outside in the street,” Roots said. “It just grew on me from there. I just decided to go further with it.”

Football has always been Roots’ favorite sport, he focused on football so much that he ran track during his high school career for the sole purpose of improving his football.

Prior to his college years, Roots attended Luther Burbank High School in California, where he had a hard time trying to play football. During his sophomore year in high school, he was only able to play two games because he was a transfer from a different school in the district. In Roots’ junior year he wasn’t able to get enough playing time. Things changed in his senior year, as a senior, Roots rushed for 2,124 yards, and scored 27 touchdowns on 198 carries.

After high school, Roots decided to walk on to the San Jose State University Spartans football team, but he had trouble adapting to the college life. This led to Roots heading back home, and choosing the junior college route. Roots attended SOU, but he wasn’t happy there, which led him to CWU.

Roots decided to transfer to CWU because of one man: new CWU Running Back Coach Greg Stewart.

Coach Stewart was an integral part of Roots recruitment into SOU. Once Stewart left SOU, Roots found that he wasn’t really happy at SOU. After a season at SOU he contacted coach Stewart to see if there was any open spots available on the CWU football team. Roots was willing to work hard for a position and informed Stewart that he would work for a scholarship.

“What made me go to Central was the love from Coach Stew,” Roots said. “When he left, it didn’t feel the same.”

Beyond his success on the field this season, Roots has been able to develop a love for the university and its surrounding environment. With support from his teammates and the Ellensburg community, Roots feels like he’s been able to find a new home for himself.

Off the field, Roots is a business major and would like to have his own business in the future. He attributes his choice to major in business to him growing up around a lot of leaders and role models.

For Roots, work ethic has been an important part of improving himself on the field. Roots emphasized the hard work and dedication that he put in during the off season, which he said involved watching game film, doing push-ups and sit-ups at home and working hard during practices.

Head coach Ian Shoemaker points out that Roots is great physical running back that plays hard. Shoemaker adds that Roots has been good in return kicks and special team as well.

Roots has enjoyed his opportunity playing football in Ellensburg. His energy and personality has helped him fit well with his teammates.

On saturday Oct. 6th the Wildcats played the Azusa Pacific Cougars and won 45-31. Roots played a key part in the game, finishing with 152 yards and 2 touchdowns on 17 carries. With another performance in the books, Roots has been building quite the resume, racking up 527 yards with 4 touchdowns in the season so far.

“He is just a downhill type of guy,” Stewart said. “He knows how to take the bruising and he is a guy that has speed on him.”

Stewart added that outside of being a great football player, Roots is a great teammate. The guys on the team gravitate to him.

“I just think he is a great man. I think once he graduates from Central Washington he is going to make his momma proud. He is going to make his family proud,” Stewart said. “I think that he is going to be somebody in the community where you know he is going to be a knight in shining armor for his family, a better father and a better husband.”

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Roots adds depth to running back core