Offensive tackle doesn’t have much experience in football, but he has a lot of potential at 6-6 and 260 pounds.
It’s a nickname any teenage football player would cherish.
“Green Room Roy” is what offensive tackle Roy Hemsley of L.A. Windward is called.
It was given to him by assistant coach Chuck Price, who also happens to be an NFL agent. It refers to the room where potential first-round picks hang out during the draft. Hemsley giggles when “Green Room Roy” comes up.
“I like that nickname,” he said.
Hemsley, 6 feet 6, 260 pounds, is still far away from realistically thinking he could be “Green Room Roy,” but it’s not so hard to believe considering his athletic talent.
He put on shoulder pads for the first time last fall as a sophomore. He had been playing basketball since he was 4, but lobbying from Windward football coaches and reassurances to his mother finally caused him to try football.
As Windward’s left tackle, Hemsley had to learn everything from scratch.
“The first time I put on shoulder pads, I was very nervous,” he said. “I was scared I’d get hurt, as my mom was. But it came naturally.”
Pass blocking was a relatively easy transition, but his run blocking was inconsistent at best. This season, with more experience, he figures to improve immensely in lots of areas. He’ll also have a veteran line coach, Ron Price, a former head coach at Crenshaw and Palisades, to teach him the fundamentals.
“He’s got room to grow,” Coach Alvin Cowan said. “His biggest strength is that size, that power. He wants to get better. He’s finally figured out the physicality of football versus the physicality of basketball. We tell him all the time some of the things that are illegal in basketball, we want him to do on the football field, and he’s starting to figure that out.”
In basketball, he has been starting off and on for Windward since his freshman year, when he blocked a shot from La Verne Lutheran’s 6-9 Grant Jerrett, who went on to play for Arizona and was a second-round NBA draft pick in June.
He still loves basketball, but he also wants to receive a college scholarship, and football could be his best path. He doesn’t have the jumping ability that lots of big-time forwards possess, but his agility and strength make him valuable as a lineman in football.
“There’s certain things in football you can’t do in basketball, like pushing people and throwing them to the ground,” Hemsley said. “You get technical fouls for those. It’s nice to play as hard as you can and release your aggression on someone else.”
Football continues to be a learning experience, but Hemsley’s potential has people excited. He was offered a scholarship by San Diego State even though he’s a long way from being a polished player.
“The first time I tried to block somebody, I remember their defensive end was a lot bigger than I thought,” he said. “He moved pretty well, but I was able to block him. It was exhilarating to say the least. I had a lot of fun.”