When Buchholz offensive line coach Matt DiBernardo addresses his position group, he talks about their “brand.”
“There’s three things that we have to have to be successful,” he said. “One you’ve got to be tough and physical, two you’ve got to be smart, and three you have to overcome adversity.”
Senior Bryan Rosenberg checked all three boxes.
“The perfect offensive lineman,” DiBernardo said of Rosenberg, who announced on Tuesday afternoon in the Buchholz auditorium that he would be a preferred walk-on at the University of Florida next year. “We have been very good here at Buchholz High School because of people like Bryan Rosenberg. It’s guys like this that have made our program successful.”
Rosenberg overcame a right knee injury (ACL) that cost him his entire junior year, but he persevered and will now have a chance to trade in the black and gold for the orange and blue.
“I’m excited,” said Rosenberg, who has pictures of him as a baby with a UF hat on. “It’s the best of the best competition, a chance to prove to myself that I came back and that I can compete at the highest stage.”
DiBernardo talked to a friend at a Big-10 school about Rosenberg, who will major in finance at UF and be pre-med. However, the feedback he got was a little disconcerting, given today’s recruiting climate.
Dibo was told that the school would not look at high school offensive linemen. They would only look at kids in the transfer portal because they didn’t want to develop a young person when they can go get older players who were more developed.
“What you’ve accomplished is very difficult in today’s world,” DiBernardo said to Rosenberg. “So, I’m really proud of you.”
Rosenberg (6’4, 260), who played tackle his sophomore year, was injured during a spring practice (pass rush drills) that kept him out of football for a year.
“It was hard,” he said. “You have to stick with it, keep going, and be on the football side socially. Your friends are doing things that you can’t do anymore, so you’ve just got to kind of stay with it and make sure you’ve got a good circle around you that’s supporting you and including you, and keep grinding, knowing that you’ll get there eventually and you just have to work.”
This past year he played center for the Bobcats, who lost at Venice in the Class 4S state semifinals.
“Bryan is one of those rare athletes that comes along and perseveres through injury and puts himself in a place to be successful at a high level, so having this PWO to the University of Florida really is a testament to him,” said Mark Whittemore, who stepped down as Bobcat’s coach at the end of the season. “I mean he missed his whole junior year, and usually when kids miss their whole junior year it’s very difficult for them to play at a Power 5 level. I’m really excited about Bryan. He’s very talented and plays with a great tenacity. It’s probably what allowed him to come through the injury situation and come out on the positive side.”
Meanwhile, long snapper George Shannon (6’, 215) just received his offer from the University of West Florida a couple of months ago.
He’ll play for a program that won the Division II national title in 2019.
“I’m really appreciative of them giving me the opportunity to snap at the next level,” Shannon said. “They just have a championship mentality. It’s a really similar program to Buchholz, they have a no cursing policy, and stuff like that, and they really know how to develop players. When I went there it just felt like the perfect fit for me.”
Shannon, who plans on studying biochemistry at UWF, started long snapping when he was in the sixth grade and he got into it because his uncle told him it would be a great thing to do, plus it might help him see the field a little faster.
“You have to be really detail-oriented,” he said. “You have to be consistent all the time. You can’t really mess up. There’s a lot of pressure for about six plays a game but I wouldn’t be doing anything else. I just love long snapping and I love getting to the process of doing it all.”
While Rosenberg had help from his position coach, Shannon had to do some of his recruitment on his own.
“With long snapping it’s a little different and you’ve got to go out and recruit yourself,” he said. “I’d go to a bunch of camps and it all happened really quick.”
He was also instrumental to the Bobcats’ success in 2022.