Upon the 2012 season opener, Michael Rocco joked at the thought of sharing secrets with the opponent’s head coach.
“This weekend, the goal is to win the football game,” Rocco said on Aug. 29. “So giving him clues and stuff is not what I’m trying to do.”
That was when Rocco was entering his 14th consecutive game as Virginia’s starting quarterback. His opposition happened to be the University of Richmond, led by head coach Danny Rocco, the uncle of the Cavaliers’ signal caller.
Five months later, the two have free rein to reveal all schemes together.
A month after being granted his release from UVa, Rocco has transferred to Richmond, the Spiders announced on Monday.
Per NCAA rules, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound rising senior will have to sit out the 2013 season. The NCAA does not allow a Football Bowl Subdivision transfer with one season of eligibility to play immediately. According to the school, however, UR, a member of the Football Championship Subdivision, will seek a waiver to permit Rocco to be eligible for the 2013 campaign.
The decision to join the Spiders comes after Rocco reportedly visited Richmond over the weekend. He will join Michael Strauss, another former Wahoo, in the UR QB room.
Strauss transferred to Richmond from Virginia in January 2012. A rising redshirt junior, Strauss appeared in 10 UR games last season, throwing for 1,169 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. He started the Spiders’ final four games, winning all of them.
Strauss figured to be the starter in 2013 after the departure of John Laub, but now might face stiff competition in Rocco.
A Lynchburg native, Rocco left the Cavs eighth all-time in passing yards with 4,731 and seventh in touchdown passes with 27. He started 2012’s first five games before sharing time with Alabama transfer Phillip Sims for the majority of the remainder of the season.
Speaking about his choice to leave a quarterback-heavy UVa (five on last season’s roster), Rocco told The Roanoke Times, “It's an unhealthy environment for any quarterback at UVa. It was hard on all the quarterbacks, not just me."
A Monday phone attempt to reach the Rocco family was not immediately returned.
Danny Rocco, who will be entering his second season as Richmond’s coach, spoke highly of the relationship he has with his nephew during a teleconference in late August.
“I’m just there for him,” Danny Rocco said. “I’ve been around, I’ve been in the college game for 30 years and I just have insight that I’m open to share.”
The Spiders went 8-3 in 2012, narrowly missing the FCS playoffs.