Graham Rowley, from Waialua High School in Hawaii, is an amazing athlete with speed and explosiveness rarely seen in a player of his size.
At 6′4″, 270 lbs, Graham signed a letter of intent this past February to become a BYU Cougar on the gridiron. He then proceeded to play soccer for Waialua and then just for kicks, he picked up the game of volleyball.
Despite it being his first year playing volleyball, Graham was selected as an All-League player. This from a guy that was rated by scout.com as the country’s No. 8 offensive guard in football.
When he arrives in Provo later this month he will begin his career on the other side of the ball at defensive end, where some think he can eventually develop into a NFL-caliber defensive lineman at BYU.
“Soccer has been really good for me, I’ve gotten a lot faster,” says Rowley who has slimmed down to 255 pounds. “Volleyball has made me a lot more explosive and kept me in good shape.”
That’s bad news for future Cougar opponents. Rowley has captured the imagination of Cougar fans with his impressive showing of on-field athleticism in highlights posted on YouTube.
One clip in particular demonstrates his speed as he runs down a Anuenue High running back from behind from his opposite field position at defensive end (see video below).
“I didn’t think I was going to catch him,” Rowley said. “I started running and the closer I got, the more I thought, I could get him.”
Graham says that he now runs the 40-yard dash in the low 4.6s to the high 4.5s. He also says that his participation in volleyball has dramatically increased his vertical jump.
“Before volleyball I could get one hand on the (basketball) rim. Now I can slam it with both hands,” Rowley said.
Rowley credits his work ethic with him being able to develop his athletic gifts. “I’ve always worked hard for whatever I’ve wanted, especially when it comes to football.” said Rowley.
His work ethic also extends to the classroom where his 3.7 GPA was good enough to garner him a scholarship offer from Stanford. “I study hard, I try to get everything done. I just work hard at it,” said Rowley.
On the field, Rowley has created speculation that he could be one of the newcomers to make an impact for BYU in his first season. His athleticism and work ethic may help him crack the rotation at defensive end with Vic So’oto, Matt Putnam and Thomas Bryson.
“I really want to play,” says Graham who currently works out five days a week. “I’m really trying to get ready. I want to help out the team. If it’s possible to play, I will give it my all.”