LOOKING AT THE 2010 NFL DRAFT SLEEPERS
CITADEL RECEIVER READY FOR NFL MARCHING ORDERS
By Dave-Te’ Thomas, The NFL Draft Report
For those that have read my scouting reports on NFLdraftscout.com, Cbssportsline.com and NFL.com, you know I pull no punches when it comes to evaluating talent. While the NFL Draft has become the second-biggest media event by the league, outside the Super Bowl, draftniks are always on the lookout for the “hidden talents” in the collegiate ranks. Over the next few months, I will take you on a trip through the NCAA to introduce you to the Rip Van Winkles, the Super Sleepers, the players that may not be well-known to the “draft nation,” but are sure to make their marks in the NFL training camps next year.
Charleston, South Carolina is a quiet little town, featuring their own military school in The Citadel. But, thanks to the exploits of a Bulldogs wide receiver/punt returner, the thunder emanating out of this city on Saturdays is caused by fans cheering or opposing defensive coordinators screaming in frustration after Andre Roberts regularly finds a way to set the table for yet another Citadel scoring drive.
Roberts is a friendly, outgoing sort, a “yes sir, no sir” type that is a perfect fit for the structured environment this military academy demands from its students. Yet, when he steps on the playing field, structure is thrown out the window, as he consistently creates havoc on the field, whether running the slants, speeding up the seam to haul in the long ball, taking the pigskin on end-around sweeps, returning kicks and even taking direct snaps under center.
The two-time team captain has re-written most of the school receiving and return records. He is doing similar damage to the Southern Conference and NCAA record charts. In this day and age of “prima donna” receivers in the NFL, a player with the work ethic of Hines Ward is certain to be a position coach’s dream in the NFL, come the 2010 season.
Wide Receiver/Punt Returner The Citadel Bulldogs, the Military College of South Carolina
#5 5:10.7-189 Columbia, South Carolina Spring Valley High School
Based on his collegiate career, Roberts might be well-advised to get into the restaurant business once he decides to end his football playing days, as he has certainly become one of the most prolific “table-setters” in school, Southern Conference and NCAA Football Championship Subdivision history. Along the way, he has not only proven to be one of the most electrifying receivers in the collegiate game, but also the FCS’s national-leading punt returners.
While his 239 receptions in 38 games (average of 6.29 receptions per game rank 23rd in NCAA FCS history), 59.83% of his catches (143) were good for first downs. 16.74% of his grabs converted third-down plays (40) and he proved to have “Velcro” hands, dropping just six pass attempts in three-plus seasons. Despite lacking great bulk, Roberts excels at moving the chains, as 228 of his 239 catches produced positive yardage (95.40%), as he caught 73.77% of the passes targeted to him (239-of-324 tosses). On 250 potential “catchable” pass plays, he pulled down 239 of those throws (95.60%), the best percentage of any collegiate receiver in the last decade.
As for his “table-setting” ability, Roberts’ 33 touchdown receptions rank second in Southern Conference history. The Bulldogs recorded 65 touchdown catches in his three-plus seasons with the team, as he came up with a key reception that helped set up 63 of those scoring opportunities. To date, his ability as a pass catcher, rushing and returning punts saw him set up or score on 106 touchdown drives and 20 others that resulted in the team ending those series with field goals. In that time span, the team registered 142 total touchdowns, with Roberts having a hand in 106 of them (74.65%). He also set up 20 the 39 field goals produced by The Citadel (51.28%). He was responsible for putting up 645 of the 1,143 points that the offensive squad recorded (56.43%) during his career with the Bulldogs.
Among his 239 receptions, 106 were good for at least 10 yards, including 52 that gained 20 yards or more. He made 26 of those receptions inside the red zone, with six coming on goal-line plays. Roberts was tackled for loss on just six of his 239 career grabs. In addition to his 40 third-down conversions, he also kept four series alive by coming up with a quartet of fourth-down grabs. His eight 100-yard receiving performances in 2008 rank seventh in Southern Conference history while his string of nine consecutive games with at least one touchdown reception in 2008 rank second in conference annals.
With NFL teams utilizing the popular “Wildcat” offense more in recent years, Roberts’ ability taking direct snaps under center and on reverses have greatly added to his pedigree. In 35 direct snaps, he produced 15 first downs and set up nine touchdown drives, as one other possession ending with a Bulldogs field goal. He had nine rushes for over 10 yards, including one for longer than 20 yards and converted four third-down carries, gaining first downs on six rushing attempts inside the red zone.
Further adding to his resume is Roberts’ outstanding punt return skills. He led the nation with a 19.2-yard return average in 2008, the 17th-best season average in NCAA history. His 461 yards gained via punt returns in 2008 rank fourth on the Southern Conference season-record list while his three runbacks for touchdowns as a junior tied the league’s annual record. His 1,009 yards gained via punt returns established a school career-record, as he became the seventh player in Southern Conference annals to gain over 1,000 yards in that category.
Roberts amassed 4,488 all-purpose yards in 38 games for the Bulldogs, as his average of 12.79 yards gained per attempt is the fourth-best figure in conference history. His average of 13.24 all-purpose yards per play as a junior placed Roberts sixth on the Southern Conference season-record chart. His 108 points scored in 2008 are the second-highest season total by a Bulldog. Along the way, he has generated over 1,000 yards receiving in each of his last two seasons, ranking tied for second in league history in that category.
At Spring Valley High School, Roberts earned All-Region and All-Area honors as a senior, as he led his team to the region championship and the semi-finals for the state title. He added Most Valuable Player honors for his performance in the 2005 North-South All-Star game. In addition to his success on the gridiron, he also excelled in track-&-field, leading his team to the state championship in 2003 and a second-place finish as a senior, the season he captured track All-State recognition.
Roberts enrolled at The Citadel in 2005. The true freshman played in eleven games, starting vs. Furman and Virginia Military Institute at the “Z” receiver position. He finished second on the team with 35 receptions, with 19 of those grabs producing first downs. He gained 557 yards (15.9 avg) to pace the Bulldogs, as he also led the squad with five touch-down grabs. Seven other key receptions set up touchdown drives and four other catches put the team into position to be successful on field goals. He also gained 43 yards on four carries (10.8 avg) and averaged 10.7 yards on 18 punt returns.
Roberts gained national prominence as a sophomore, earning All-American third-team and All-Southern Conference second-team recognition. He set the school season-records with 78 receptions for 1,060 yards (13.6 avg) that included ten touchdowns. His average of 7.09 catches per game ranked tenth in the nation and his average of 96.36 yards per game placed him eleventh on the NCAA FCS chart. He also finished 23rd in the nation with an average of 11.08 yards on 27 punt returns. He amassed 1,350 all-purpose yards and showed his field alertness by recovering a pair of fumbles.
The talented athlete also competed on the school’s outdoor track team in 2007. He joined the squad in mid-March, after football spring camp, competing in the 200- and 400-meters. He also ran the anchor leg of the 4x100m relay team that won at the Penn Relays for the fifth-consecutive time in Citadel history, earning his first Penn Relays Championship watch.
In 2008, Roberts’ “jack-of-all-trades” attitude made him the most dangerous offensive player on the field. In addition to his school season-record 14 touchdown catches, he had key receptions on all of the team’s 23 aerial scores. He shattered his own Bulldogs annual records with 95 catches (second in the nation) for 1,334 yards (14.0 avg), the fourth-highest season total in Southern Conference history.
The All-American choice also finished second in the nation with 7.92 receptions per game, fourth nationally with 111.17 aerial yards per game and led the FCS ranks to capture the punt return championship with an average of 19.21 yards per attempt (24 total). His three punt returns for touchdowns tied the conference season-record. He also scored once on 24 carries for 94 yards, recorded three solo tackles and placed 14th in the country, leading the league with an average of 160.0 all-purpose yards per game.
Roberts enters his final campaign ranked as the best offensive prospect in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision ranks and was listed as the most underrated receiver eligible for the 2010 draft by The NFL Draft Report. Having shown his ability operating out of the team’s “Wildcat” formation, the coaching staff plans to further incorporate that alignment to take better advantage of the receiver’s athletic ability. He ranks 20th in the nation and second in the Southern Conference with an average of 79.25 yards per game receiving, as his average of 7.75 receptions per game is good for sixth nationally and second in the league.
Opposing teams can expect to find Roberts lined up everywhere from punt returner to “X” receiver to slot receiver to running back, and also quarterback. "We actually got some tape from different NFL teams that we are looking at, to see what teams like the Dolphins are doing with different formations and sets, to see how we can get the ball into Andre's hands," The Citadel head coach Kevin Higgins said. "We want to try to put Andre in as many different positions as we can, so that teams can't come to the line of scrimmage and know where he's going to line up.”
"We'll put him at split end, flanker, in the slot, as a back in the backfield. We'll motion him out, put him at the quarterback position. We'll put him in as many positions as we can so it makes it harder for teams to double-team him."
"I'm definitely up for it," Roberts recently said. "Anything they put in front of me, I'm ready. I want to be a playmaker for this team. Wherever they need me, they can put me." Higgins said Roberts also is up for the mental challenge of executing the offense at each position.
"We would not do it if he couldn't handle it," Higgins said. "He's a bright guy and will graduate early with a business degree and a 3.0-plus grade point average. He can handle all the football we can give him."
"I need to know where Andre is at all times," Bulldogs starting quarterback Bart Blanchard said. "We're looking to get the ball to him as much as we can. He's our All-American and a great athlete, and I think Andre is handling everything great. He knows the offense really well, so we're not worried about that."
There will be a fine line, Higgins knows, between squeezing everything possible from Roberts' senior season and over-taxing him. So far, putting Roberts deep on kickoff returns has been ruled out. "We do have to be careful as coaches," Higgins said. "But we also know if we're going to be successful, the ball has to be in his hands enough times." Based on his athletic talent and field intelligence, “wearing down” Roberts or keeping him out of the end zone appears to be an impossible task facing opposing defensive coordinators in 2009.
2008 Best Games Webber International, Clemson, Western Carolina, Elon, Georgia Southern, Wofford, Chattanooga
2008 Worst Games Appalachian State, Florida
2007 Best Games Charleston Southern, Webber International, Wofford, Furman, Western Carolina, Elon, VMI
2007 Worst Games Chattanooga, Georgia Southern
2006 Best Games Charleston Southern, Chattanooga, Furman, Elon
2006 Worst Games Pittsburgh, Georgia Southern
Roberts has a lean and muscular frame with room to add more bulk without it affecting his excellent quickness. He displays a tight waist, defined legs (thighs, calves and ankles), developed abdomen, good bubble and high cut legs with well-developed hamstrings. He possesses good width in his shoulders and chest and low body fat.
Roberts has good overall muscle development and appears to have more than enough strength to defeat the jam. He demonstrates an explosive burst coming off the snap and the loose hips to make defenders miss when weaving through traffic. He shows that second gear to turn a slant pass into a long gainer and with his exceptional playing speed and burst, he can proudly proclaim that he has never been tackled from behind during his career. He is much more than just a receiver, as he has the lower body power to handle the rushing load and break tackles working through the pile. He also displays the vision and patience to follow his blockers and then turn on the after-burners to beat the defense down the sidelines. He has outstanding hip snap and agility to elude in attempts to gain big yardage after the catch. He makes smooth body adjustments and possesses solid hands and extension to catch away from his frame. He has outstanding balance, speed and change-of-direction agility. He shows the second level speed and explosiveness with a fluid natural running motion to run past most defenders in isolated coverage…GRADE-8.5
Roberts has incredible vision and a great feel for locating the soft spots on the field. He might take his eyes off the ball a few times, but is quick to recover and settle under the pass. He shows good route refinement and adjustments thanks to his loose hips and is alert to pocket pressure, working back quickly when the quarterback is flushed out. He shows keen awareness on the field, especially with keeping his feet along the sidelines. He is quick to settle into the holes in the zone and is very effective as a cut blocker because of his feel for taking angles. He finds the open areas quickly and does a nice job of working back for the ball, as he can rely on his speed rather to go with his football experience. He is a good learner who needs just a few reps, thanks to solid retention skills…
Roberts is the university’s “poster child.” He is outgoing and warm-hearted, displaying a work ethic that even the most impatient coach will fall in love with. He has no character issues and even though he was an under-classman, he did a good job of concentrating on academics (carries a 3.0-plus GPA) and will serve as team captain for the second time in 2009…GRADE-7.4
Roberts is not the type that plays with a swagger, letting his final statistics speak volumes for his competitive nature. He is fearless going for the ball in traffic and will sacrifice himself without hesitation to make the play (see 2008 Elon and Georgia Southern games). He loves to compete and is very confident with producing when his number is called during crunch time (came up with four game-winning plays in his last 16 contests). He is very tough and aggressive going for the ball, and seems to have a “fullback’s approach” when facing up as a blocker. When he is in the “zone,” he will give a good, consistently high effort and he always comes prepared to play. He has good fearlessness, as it is rare to see him take the ball out of bounds, preferring rather to drive through the defender. He will perform through pain…GRADE-7.1
To Roberts, football is important to him. He is a good worker in all areas, a team-first guy who is generally the last to leave the practice field. He is not the type that needs to be pushed a bit in the weight room, an area that he always embraces. While most draft eligibles spend their off-seasons at home, Roberts is a regular visitor at The Citadel training facility, preferring to work out on his own. That work ethic produced one of the best seasons by a Southern Conference player in 2008… GRADE-7.5
Roberts simply explodes out of his stance and past a lethargic defender to instantly get into his patterns. He has that natural second gear to gobble up the cushion and get behind the cornerbacks on deep routes (see 2008 Clemson, Western Carolina, Elon, Georgia Southern, Wofford and Chattanooga games). He needs to sink his pads more (gets too erect at times), but it is hard to mirror him once he gets past his opponent. He also generates decent hand usage to beat the press. He shows outstanding foot quickness and hip shake with suddenness when trying to change direction (very good at freezing defenders at the line of scrimmage). The thing you notice mostly on film is his exceptional acceleration to get up field once he creates the lane. Unlike most speedsters, he does not dance too much at the line and that allows him to show outstanding quickness in his release, with the shiftiness and avoidance ability at the line of scrimmage to defeat the press. Even though he is still developing strength, he does a good job of pushing off the defender and quickly eludes with his swim move…GRADE-8.6
Roberts’s burst has that “catch me if you can” label for defenders to view as he races by. Once he gets a clean release and into the second level, it is nearly impossible to slow him down. He has great body control and adjustment skills to maintain stride and speed running through tight quarters. He might not look like he has size to run through traffic, but with his strength and burst, he easily creates separation to turn the slants and fades into big gainers. He is reliable catching the ball (secured an NCAA FCS nation-high 65.26% of the passes thrown to him in 2008). His exceptional speed is more evident on deep patterns, where he consistently gets behind the defender. He has good leaping ability, but just adequate timing, though, leading to the defense batting away 15 of the 39 balls he did not catch last season. Still, if a defender hesitates, Roberts can change gears and beat his man, gaining 644 of his 1,334 yards after the catch as a junior. He is quick to uncover and even quicker to separate on short patterns. He shows exceptional ability to get open deep, displaying that superb speed needed to take the ball to the house…GRADE-8.7
Roberts is blessed with outstanding quickness on the field. He makes short and sharp cuts without having to break stride and his initial burst is sudden, especially when left uncontested. He can avoid defenders on the move, create lanes and get up field in an instant once he gets a clean release. It is rare to see him get “too busy” with the press corners at the line of scrimmage and he quickly gains advantage on the defender due to his speed. He has a good feel for knowing when to gear down in order to prevent from out-running the ball…GRADE-8.5
This is probably Roberts’s most improved area. He used to round his cuts at times and drift in and out on long patterns, but has shown vast improvement the last two years, running precise routes with good suddenness. If you need a receiver to fly off the line, especially on posts, this is where he excels. He has the ability to make things happen on comeback routes, showing good urgency working back when the QB is flushed. He displays excellent quickness and foot speed in and out of his breaks. When he plays at a low pad level, he gets into his routes immediately. He shows good set up and body control and knows how to use his hands to prevent the defender from attacking him and trying to reroute him with a strong push…GRADE-7.2
Roberts showed improvement sinking his hips and exploding out of his breaks as a sophomore, but will struggle to separate when he comes off the snap with an erect stance. He is better served as a slot receiver, as he excels at taking slants and crossers for big yardage rather than lining out wide. He is very effective when it comes to setting up defenders, as he displays good head and shoulder fakes, relying on his burst and second gear to elude. He has that speed and burst allows him to consistently get past defenders. He is very quick out of his breaks, especially when trying to pull and separate with vertical routes and short runs, but must be more conscious of playing with a low pad level… GRADE-6.8
Roberts shows consistency with his body control and quick ball reaction skills to extend and snatch passes along the sidelines. He has the hands, arm length and extension agility to dig out the low throws and is comfortable tracking the ball over his outside shoulder, doing so without having to throttle down and break stride. He has good concentration and keeps his keep eyes on the ball in flight. He still needs to do a better job of being aware of the sticks, but is very adept at working his way back for the pass…GRADE-7.1
Roberts shows good courage going up for the ball to high point the pass in traffic. He has the functional strength to hold up to punishing hits he takes going over the middle. He shows the ability to make proper adjustments on ball and is very athletic to turn his body around as he tracks the ball well. His flexibility and ability to turn allows him to excel at adjusting to the off-target passes… GRADE-7.8
Roberts runs hot and cold in this category. For a player with his impressive vertical jump in workouts and for one with decent size (shade under six feet), it is puzzling to see all the passes he had batted away from him in 2008 (15 of the 39 passes he failed to get to were broken up by the opposition – see Western Carolina, Appalachian State, Furman and Florida games). He has very good leaping ability, showing the proper explosiveness to go get the ball and out jump, especially on deep patterns, but needs to time his leaps better to be more efficient…GRADE-6.0
Roberts has the natural hands and good ball security skills to excel as a receiver, on the reverse and when returning kicks. He looks natural getting elevation and extension to catch outside his frame and if he drops a pass, it is usually the result of momentarily losing focus. He has soft, natural hands, extending well to catch away from the body’s framework. He is not the type that will revert to body catching, at times, as he is a soft hands catcher who just needs to learn how to time his leaps properly to get to the pass at its highest point…GRADE-8.0
Run After the Catch
Roberts is an exciting and electrifying open field runner. He shows outstanding skill set in terms of speed, quickness, agility and change of direction. He is tough to bring down in isolated coverage and does a nice job of sidestepping low tackles. When he is out in front, he will generally win most foot races (never caught from behind in college). More than 40% of his career yardage has come after the catch…GRADE-8.3
Roberts is an effective cut blocker who shows a great desire to face up to blitzers working in the backfield or along the line. He is more of a pester type working in-line, but he has that field vision and desire to do the job of seeking out and neutralizing defenders, especially in the backfield…GRADE-6.5
Roberts is one of the most electrifying punt returners in the game. He did not find the end zone the first two years while returning punts, but had three touchdown returns in 2008, as he became the first Southern Conference player to lead the nation in punt returns in 2008. What is most impressive about him is that on 69 returns, the “table setter” had long returns that set up 21 Citadel touchdown drives (along with his three scores, 34.78% of his punt returns led to Citadel scoring drives), as he was tackled for a loss just twice on those attempts…GRADE-8.5
HINES WARD-Pittsburgh…It is hard to find one NFL player that Roberts is similar to. He has the receiving skills of former Rams and present Jacksonville Pro Bowler Torry Holt, but as a slot receiver and returner, he also draws comparisons to Steve Breaston, even though he is a bit bigger and stronger. His all-around game, as a receiver, running back, returner and cut blocker is more closer to the all-around play of Hines Ward than any other NFL type. He still needs to refine his leaping ability, but much like Carolina’s Steven Smith, once he gets that ball in his hands, he becomes the most dangerous weapon on the field.
In 38 games at The Citadel, Roberts started 28 times, including twelve at “Z” receiver and sixteen more at “X” receiver…Holds the school career-records with 239 receptions for 3,268 yards and 33 touchdowns, topping the previous marks of 133 catches for 2,078 yards by Victor Frazier (1982-85)…His 239 receptions placed him second in Southern Conference history behind Terrell Hudgins of Elon College (315, 2006-present)…His 3,268 receiving yards rank third in conference annals behind Hudgins (4,158) and Mike Barber of Marshall (3,520 yards, 1985-88)…His 33 touchdown grabs placed him second on the conference career-record chart behind Hudgins’ 41 scoring receptions…In 38 games, Roberts gained over 100 yards receiving sixteen times, setting the school record and ranking fourth in league history behind Terrell Hudgins of Elon (22, 2006-present), Rick Beasley of Appalachian State (17, 1978-80) and Mark Stock of Virginia Military Institute (17, 1985-88)…Roberts is the only player in school history to gain over 1,000 yards receiving in a season, as he accomplished that feat in each of his last two campaigns. Only Mike Barber of Marshall (three times, 1986-88) had more 1,000-yard receiving seasons in Southern Conference annals…Roberts’ holds the top two spots on the school season-record list for receptions (78 in 2007; 95 in 2008), receiving yards (1,060 in 2007; 1,334 in 2008) and touchdown grabs (10 in 2007; 14 in 2008)…His 95 catches as a junior placed third in league history, topped by Terrell Hudgins of Elon (117 in 2007) and DaVon Fowlkes of Appalachian State (103 in 2004)…His 78 catches in 2007 tied Mike Barber of Marshall (1987) for tenth on the conference annual record chart…Only DaVon Fowlkes (1,618 in 2004), Terrell Hudgins (1,474 in 2007) and B.J. Adigun of East Tennesse State (1,389 in 1997) gained more receiving yards in a season than Roberts’ 2008 total of 1,334 yards in Southern Conference history…His fourteen touchdown receptions in 2008 tied Fowlkes (2004) for third on the league season-record chart behind Randy Moss of Marshall (19 in 1996) and Terrell Hudgins of Elon (18 in 2007)…Roberts’ 95 receptions also rank 14th on the NCAA FCS season-record list, tying Jacquay Nunnally of Florida A&M (2000)…His 95 catches broke the old school annual record of 69 by Scooter Johnson in 2002 and his 2008 total of 1,334 aerial yards surpassed the previous school season-record of 1,230 yards by Brian Baima in 1971…In 2008, Roberts had at least one touchdown reception in nine games, ranking behind Randy Moss of Marshall (11 in 1996) on the league’s annual record list…His seven 100-plus yards receiving games tied the conference season-record that he shares with B.J. Adigun of East Tennessee State (1997), DaVon Fowlkes of Appalachian State (2004) and Terrell Hudgins of Elon (2007)…He also had a string of four consecutive 100-plus yard games receiving, one shy of Hudgins’ league season-record of five in 2006…Roberts’ fourteen receptions vs. Wofford in 2008 broke the previous school game-record of thirteen grabs by Rick Crosby vs. Colgate in 1972…His four touchdown receptions vs. Presbyterian in 2009 set the school game-record and rank tied for second in league history behind Cos DeMatteo of Tennessee-Chattanooga’s NCAA FCS game-record six scoring grabs vs. Mississippi Valley State in 2000…Roberts’ 1,009 yards gained via punt returns topped the old school career-record of 861 yards by Jeff Varnadoe (1970-71), as he became just the seventh player Southern Conference annals to top over 1,000 yards in that category…His average of 14.01 yards per punt return is a school career-record and rank fourth in league history, topped by George Hannen of Davidson, 18.9 avg, 1967-69), David Ames of Richmond (16.9 avg, 1955-57, ’59) and Raja Andrews of Georgia Southern (16.0 avg, 2005-08…His three punt returns for touchdowns in 2008 tied The Citadel and league season-record (also by Carlos Frank in 1997) and only Tim Martin of Marshall (four, 1993-96) and Carlos Frank of The Citadel (four, 1996-99) had more punts returned for scores in conference history…He became the first Bulldog to lead the nation in punt return average in 2008 (19.21 ypr), as that average rank 17th on the NCAA FCS annual record books and placed him second on the league season-record list behind Kerry Hayes of Western Carolina (24.9 avg in 1994)…His 461 punt return yards in 2008 set the school season-record, topping the old mark of 455 yards by Jeff Varnadoe in 1971…Only Devon Ford of Appalachian State (570 in 1974), DaVon Fowlkes of Appalachian State (478 in 2002) and Ant Williams of Georgia Southern (474 in 2002) gained more punt return yards in a season in league annals…His eight punt returns vs. Charleston Southern in 2007 tied the school game-record, first set by Joe Isaac vs. Furman in 1966 (also ranks sixth on the Southern Conference game-record chart…His punt return average of 29.0 yards (four for 116) vs. Webber International in 2008 set the school game-record and is the fourth-highest game average in conference history, tying Karlos Sullivan of Elon (vs. West Virginia Wesleyan in 2007)… Roberts has scored 222 points through 38 games, the second-highest career total in school annals behind Jack Douglas (300 points, 1989-92)…In 2008, he became just the second player in school history to score over 100 points in a season, as his total of 108 rank behind Tory Cooper (126 in 2007) on the Bulldogs’ annual record chart…Became the first player in school history to amass over 4,000 all-purpose yards (4,488 yards), as his average of 12.79 all-purpose yards per play rank fourth in Southern Conference annals… Gained a school season-record 1,920 all-purpose yards in 2008, as his average of 13.24 all-purpose yards per attempt is good for sixth on the league’s annual record chart…Also gained 180 yards with a touchdown on 38 carries (4.74 ypc) and 31 yards on two kickoff returns, adding a pass completion for 15 yards, five solo tackles and four fumble recoveries…His 80-yard reception vs. Elon College in 2006 was the longest catch by a Bulldog since John Murphy’s 84-yarder vs. Davidson in 1983…In addition to his 33 touchdown receptions, one score rushing and three punt returns for scores, Roberts has produced big plays that led to 106 touchdowns and 20 field goals for the Bulldogs, as he was responsible for 645 of the 1,143 points scored by the team with him in uniform (56.43%)…He was responsible for 106 of the team’s total of 142 touchdowns (74.65%), as 143-of-239 receptions produced first downs (59.83%), as he converted 40 third-down plays (16.74%)…Caught 239-of-324 passes thrown to him (32 were deflected by the opposition and six others came after QB pressures, grabbing 73.77% of those throws)…Dropped just six of those passes (1.90%), the lowest figure of any receiver in college during the last decade…Gained positive yardage on 228 of his 239 receptions (95.40%, as he was tackled for loss just six times and stopped for no gain on five other grabs)…20 of the team’s 39 field goals made during the last three years came after big plays by Roberts…On 72 punt returns, he not only scored three times, but had long runbacks that set up 22 other touch-down drives…On those returns, he was tackled for loss just two times (had four runbacks for no gains)…On 36 rushing attempts, he produced 15 carries for first downs, converting four third-down attempts, all coming on carries inside the red zone…In 2008, Roberts became the first Citadel player to earn All-American first-team honors (The NFL Draft Report, American Football Coaches Association and The Sports Network) since Carlos Frank in 1997 (The Sports Network)…Roberts put together a string of ten-straight games (final six in 2007, first four in 2008) where he caught at least one pass for a touch-down, a school record.
Consensus All-American and All-Southern Conference first-team preseason selection… Rated the best offensive player in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision and the most underrated receiver eligible for the 2010 draft by The NFL Draft Report, a scouting information service for the league…On the preseason Walter Payton Award Watch List, an honor given to the best offensive player in the FCS ranks…Served as team captain for the second consecutive year…Through four games, Roberts ranks second in the conference with an average of 7.75 receptions per game, placing second in the league with an average of 79.25 yards receiving…The flanker leads the team with 31 receptions for 317 yards (10.23 avg) and four touchdowns on 42 passes targeted to him (three drops and two other pass attempts were deflected by the opposition), as he registered fourteen first-down grabs (45.16%) while converting 8-of-14 third-down throws…Ten of his grabs (32.26%) were good for at least 10 yards, including five (16.13%) for 20 yards or longer… Had six catches inside the red zone, with two coming on goal-line plays…Was tackled for a loss twice and stopped for no gain on another throw…Rushed four times for 42 yards (10.5 avg) and gained 66 yards on three punt returns (22.0 avg), as he is averaging 106.25 all-purpose yards per game.
First-team All-American selection by The NFL Draft Report, American Football Coaches Association and Sports Network, adding second-team honors from the Associated Press…Finalist for the Walter Payton Award, adding All-Southern Conference first-team recognition as a receiver and return specialist…Earned All-State accolades from the Orangeburg Touchdown Club…The team captain shifted to the “X” receiver position, as he set school season-records with 95 receptions for 1,334 yards (14.0 avg) and fourteen touchdowns…Came up with crucial receptions or scored himself on all 23 of the team’s 23 touchdown receptions, as he also had crucial grabs to set up six series that ended with Bulldogs field goals…Led the league and ranked second in the nation with an average of 7.92 receptions per game…His average of 111.17 yards receiving per game also paced the league and placed fourth in the nation…45 of his catches were good for at least 10 yards, including 24 grabs for 20 yards or longer…Hauled in thirteen of those passes inside the red zone and produced 62 first-down catches, as 17 of those receptions converted third-down plays and three others converted fourth-down snaps…Was tackled for loss on just two of his 95 grabs…Snared 95-of-134 passes targeted to him (nation-leading 70.896%), as the opposition generated 30 pass deflections and six quarterback pressures from the incomplete pass attempts…Fumbled twice, but the team recovered both of those miscues, as he also recorded three solo tackles and recovered two fumbles after turnovers by other Bulldogs teammates…Ranked fifth on the team with 94 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries (3.9 avg) and completed his only pass attempt for 15 yards while being utilized under center in various “Wildcat” formations…Produced nine first downs on his 24 carries, converting three third-down attempts while running for at least 10 yards on five of those runs…In addition to his score, he had three other carries that led to touchdowns for The Citadel, making five of his attempts inside the red zone…Became the first Bulldog to lead the nation in punt returns, averaging a school season-record 19.21 yards (second-best season average in Southern Conference history) on 24 attempts, setting another school mark with 461 yards…His three punts returned for touchdowns tied the school season-record…Had sixteen punt returns for at least 10 yards, including five for 30 yards or longer, as he gave the team field position to convert fourteen touchdowns and seven field goals from his run backs…Became the second player in school history to score over 100 points (108) in a season, as his average of 9.0 points per game ranked second in the league and 11th in the nation…Gained a school season-record 1,920 all-purpose yards, finishing as the Southern Conference leader and 14th nationally with an average of 160.0 all-purpose yards per game…Had at least ten catches in three games and gained at least 100 yards receiving in seven games (tied the conference season-record)…While he scored a career-high 108 points, his big plays were responsible for the team recording 267 of their total of 288 offensive points (92.71%).
All-American second-team choice by The NFL Draft Report, adding second-team honors from the Associated Press and The Sports Network…Took over the starting “Z” receiver duties, appearing in all eleven games, as he switched to jersey #5 from the #81 he wore as a freshman…Despite ranking tenth in the nation and third in the league with an average of 7.09 catches per game and placing 11th nationally with an average of 96.36 yards receiving per game, Roberts was mysteriously left off the All-Southern Conference first-team (earned second-team honors), as he set then-season records (would break these marks in 2008) with 78 receptions, becoming the first Bulldog to gain over 1,000 yards receiving (1,060 for 13.6 ypc) in a season, as ten of those grabs were good for touchdowns… Had crucial catches that set up a total of 25 touchdowns and five field goals for the Bulldogs… 48 of his grabs resulted in first downs, as he converted eight third-down throws and another on fourth-down…38 of his catches were good for at least 10 yards, with 14 of them gaining 20 yards or more… Was tackled for loss on just one of his 78 catches…Ranked third in the league and 23rd nationally with 27 punt returns for 289 yards (10.7 avg)… Returned 12 of his punts for at least 10 yards, including two for 30 yards or longer, as he gave the team field position to register ten touchdown drives and one field goal…Added two first downs on six rushing attempts, as two of those runs set up The Citadel scoring drives…Fumbled four times, producing one turnover, but also recovered two fumbles… Scored 60 points, but came up with big plays that were responsible for the team scoring 246 of their total of 354 offensive points for the season (69.49%)…Caught 78 of the 106 passes targeted to him (73.58%), as eleven of those incomplete tosses were deflected by the opposition and one other was a wild throw after a QB pressure.
Freshman All-American second-team selection by NFLDraftScout.com…Despite starting just the Furman and Virginia Military at the “Z” receiver spot, he appeared in a total of eleven games, finishing second on the team with 35 receptions, leading the squad with 557 yards, a 15.9-yard average and five touchdowns…On his 35 grabs, he produced 19 first downs and converted seven third-down throws, as thirteen of his catches were good for at least 10 yards, including nine for 20 yards or longer…Came up with key receptions that set up 12 Bulldog touchdown drives and four other series that ended with field goals, as two of those snatches came on goal-line plays…Was tackled for a loss just once on his 35 catches, ranking fifth in the Southern Conference with an average of 50.64 yards receiving per game…Added 43 yards on four rushing attempts and placed second in the league (23rd nationally) with an average of 10.72 yards on 18 punt returns for 193 yards…Recorded a pair of solo tackles and recovered two fumbles, but lost the ball twice on three fumbles…Added two solo tackles, as he also returned 18 punts for 193 yards (10.72 avg), as he helped set up six touchdown drives and one series that ended with a field goal, thanks to his long run backs on special teams…Recorded big plays that were responsible for 168 of the 234 offensive points scored by the team (71.97%)…His 80-yard reception vs. Elon College was the longest catch by a Bulldog since John Murphy’s 84-yarder vs. Davidson in 1983.
TRACK & FIELD
Joined The Citadel outdoor track team in Mid-March, 2007, earning his first Penn Relays Championship watch…Made his Bulldog track and field debut at the Furman Invitational (4/07), as he finished third in the 400-meters, running 50.91...Also at Furman, he finished second in the 200-meters with a time of 23.49...Ran a personal-best 200-meter time of 23.05 at the Chanticleer Invitational (4/14)...Finished fifth in his preliminary heat of the 200-meter dash at the Southern Conference Championships (4/21), running 23.29...Ran the anchor leg of the 4x100-meter relay that clocked 41.94 at the Southern Conference Championships (4/22), garnering All-Conference honors...Also ran the anchor leg of the 4x100-meter relay team that won at the Penn Relays for the fifth-consecutive time in Citadel history.
CAMPUS AGILITY TESTS
4.38 in the 40-yard dash (hand-held)…4.49 in the 40-yard dash (electronic)…1.50 10-yard dash…2.49 20-yard dash…4.10 20-yard shuttle…6.81 three-cone drill…37-inch vertical jump…9’10” broad jump.
Attended Spring Valley (Columbia, S.C.) High School, playing football for head coach Jimmy Noonan (former Citadel football player)…Earned All-Region and All-Area honors as a senior, as he led the Vikings to the region championship and the semi-finals for the state title…Added Most Valuable Player honors for his performance in the 2005 North-South All-Star game…Also lettered in track, leading his team to the state championship in 2003 and a second-place finish as a senior, the season he captured All-State recognition.
Accounting major…Son of Dorothy and Stephen Roberts...Born 1/09/88…Resides in Columbia, South Carolina.