BRADY, Neb. (KNOP) - Since he was in the fifth grade, T.J. Roe has been involved with the Brady football team, starting out as a manager, and now in his fourth year starting for the Eagles.
T.J. Roe is a leader offensively and defensively for the Eagles, and is a four year starter on the offense (Credit: Patrick Johnstone/KNOP-TV)
"I've always loved football, and when I was younger I used to like football cards and all that stuff and watch football games, so when I could be a student manager as soon as possible, which was 5th grade, I did it and I loved it, because you go to games, I was the ball boy, so on the team sideline," Roe said.
However, instead of spending his time as a manager goofing off, Roe used that time to better understand the game of football.
"I'd come to practice and sit with coach and watch the drills, and I just absolutely loved it. I used to take pictures of the play card on my dad's phone, and look at the plays during the game," Roe said.
Roe's hard work paid off. Since he knew the plays, and the way the offense operated, he was given a starting spot as a freshman.
"He kind of got thrown into the fire, had to play fullback because we just didn't have anybody, and he was smart enough to do it. So, he has a lot of experience to help everybody around him and he knows everybody's job for the most part," said head coach Andy Seamann.
Despite being one of the top players on the Eagles, Roe is never satisfied, and always keeps working to improve.
"He works hard watching film, probably than most kids we have. He takes it seriously, being a good hard leader. He works his butt off in the weight room, and those things are what the kids see, the stuff they see off the field is what carries a lot of the time," Seamann said
"He's looking up videos of how to get better, he's looking up drills he can do. Even in the off-season, he's done work outs just by himself. The kid just doesn't stop working. Just non-stop, he works with people, he goes out and throw routes with anyone he can, he just go and throws the ball if he needs to, and he'll go and get it, and throw it again, that's how hard working he is," said senior tight end Logan Porter, who has been friends with Roe since the second grade.
Roe and Porter play football and basketball together, as well as run track, and participate in speech and one-acts. The two spend a lot of time together, and their competitiveness pushes one another to be better.
"If he needs to reach a goal he'll do anything to reach that goal. He's very competitive, and that's a good thing that comes with being a leader, and being a good quarterback. He just wants the best for everyone, and wants the best for himself, and the whole team," Porter said.
Roe is the team jokester, cracking jokes whenever he knows the team needs it.
"When things are getting a little rough, me and him like to crack little jokes, and he likes to lighten the mood, gets everyone and he gets me out of that serious mode," Porter said.
"He still thinks he's funnier than he is," Seamann said with a smile, "He's a great kid he, works hard, he's one of the hardest workers, he loves football."
"I just keep the mood light, just make everyone laugh, I like people smiling," Roe said.
Roe enjoys being on stage for one-acts, and competing in speech meets.
"I just like to perform. I like being in front of people, I like to be the 'center of attention.' I like performing, making people laugh, having fun. it kind of gets me in my own element of I can do me," Roe said.
Porter said Roe's biggest strength on stage is his accents and impressions. When asked about it, Roe gave an impression of Pennywise the clown from Stephen King's IT. He said Porter hates clowns, and hates when he does the impression.
Roe plays both sides of the ball, but says throwing a touchdown pass is a better feeling than causing a turnover.
"When I'm on the field I always give coach the point, like that just happened. He usually smiles back and me I like that that feels pretty cool," Roe said.
In his free time, Roe enjoys playing video games, specifically Madden and NBA 2K, and spending time with his dad and grandpa.
While he doesn't currently have plans for college, Roe said his dream has always been to play college football, so he hopes he will get the opportunity to do so.