As a Towson alum, this news makes me happy, for a couple of reasons.
First off, Roper was once a pretty coveted recruit. Scout.com ranked him No. 33 in the class of 2006, and he was a consensus 3-star recruit. Now, that’s not a superstar, but definitely the kind of player who is normally well outside of Towson’s reach.
More importantly, with Coach Rob Ambrose returning to Towson, he’s going to need a quarterback to run his system. I’ll be honest, my Towson dedication has fallen off in recent years, so I can’t comment on the quarterbacks that are on campus. But I do know about Roper, who started the first three games of the season for Oregon in 2008, leading the Ducks to a 3-0 record and a Top-20 ranking. He’s a spread quarterback, and while Oregon runs a spread, it’s a spread that involves lots of QB running -- remember Dennis Dixon? -- while Roper is more suited for a shotgun, quick-read spread.
For those that don’t remember, a shotgun, quick-read spread was exactly the kind of offense Rob Ambrose ran during his most successful years as Towson’s offensive coordinator. I was at the school for the famous Joe Lee season of ’99, when Lee set all kinds of passing records. In one game that season, Lee threw the ball 77 times, most of which didn’t travel more than 7 or 8 yards downfield. The offense was built on quick slants, outs and flares, the kind that turned Jamal White into an All-American and running back Jason Corle into the school’s all-time leading receiver. Roper would fit that offense perfectly.
If you need more convincing that this is a move Towson should make, well, how about this comparison: Roper is a tall (6-foot-6) quarterback from a major, but not elite, program who saw limited action after redshirting, and lost a QB battle to a player who fit the system better. Sound like anyone we know? How about Joe Flacco, who transferred to that school up I-95 and led them to an appearance in the FCS Championship Game before becoming a first-round draft pick.
Now, I’m not saying Roper is Flacco, or that Towson should be making playoff plans, but if it happens, it’d be a nice move for a program that hasn’t had much success lately.