Roberts to visit UW in late January

 It’s been debated here, on Internet message boards and probably in various locations around the state.

Is Sheridan running back Jordan Roberts good enough to play at Wyoming, and should he be given at chance to play at Wyoming?

I talked to Roberts and his high school coach, Don Julian, Wednesday. See the story in Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.

The story isn’t about lobbying for Roberts one way or the other, although I’ve enjoyed hearing your feedback on this and hope to continue to do so leading up to signing day on Feb. 1.

Roberts is scheduled to visit UW the last weekend in January.

His numbers are eye-popping: 308 carries, 2,688 yards and 38 touchdowns. He had 2,938 yards of total offense and averaged 9.1 yards every time he touched the ball.

Roberts has no FBS scholarship offers, and UW is the only FBS school he is scheduled to visit at this point. He does have two FCS scholarship offers from Northern Colorado and South Dakota, where former UW coach Joe Glenn was just hired. Roberts visits those schools on consecutive weekends starting next week.

Julian is a guy I’ve known for a long time and one of the most respected coaches I’ve ever worked with. He said he’s never seen a back at the high school level cut at full speed as well as Roberts. But it’s speed that could keep most FBS schools away from Roberts. He was clocked in the 4.6-second range in the 40-yard dash at a one-day camp at UW last spring. Right or wrong, fair or unfair, that’s slow for running back standards at the FBS level. Doesn’t mean Roberts can’t play or wouldn’t do well, but in this day and age not many FBS schools would offer a scholarship to a running back with that speed.

Perhaps we (media, coaches, fans, etc.) get too caught up in stats, times, etc.? Are we in the Roberts case?

Wyoming coaches and other college coaches can’t talk about recruits to the media until they’ve signed their national letters of intent. UW has four running backs on the roster scheduled to return next season, and one running back that could enroll later his month in Evan Williams, a 6-foot, 190-pounder from Iowa Western CC and Minneapolis, Minn.

That’s five running backs for UW, which is a lot. Not sure if there’s room for another. We shall see.

Williams was part of UW’s 2010 recruiting class. According to Rivals.com, Williams runs a 4.43-second 40-yard dash. That goes back to times and stats again, doesn’t it?

Hope we can discuss this more with your comments, and hope you will read tomorrow’s story.

 

  • Sean

    I’ll leave it up to coach DC to evaluate players and act accordingly. All of us like seeing Wyoming players on the team, but I’ll still defer to coach. If he doesn’t have a D-1 scholarship and wants to play D-1, he should walk on and earn it just like many many players do. If he wants a guarantee, then he can go to a lower division.

    I think if there was a slam dunk d-1 caliber wyoming player, coach would offer a scholarship without blinking.

  • Steve

    How big is Roberts? That is the other question. Can he put on 15-20 pounds and still run a 4.6? I’d take a guy that runs downhill and hits the hole hard over a 4.45 guy any day. There is more to being a running back than sprinting speed. I say give the guy a chance to prove he either can or can’t make it. The stats are undeniable and I don’t for a second think that he probably couldn’t run for a thousand yards or more if he were a Texas prep. Take a chance on him UW……….kind of reminds me of a Ryan Christopherson type situation. Didn’t have the best numbers on paper but he was a hell of a football player.

    • rgagliardi

      He’s 5-10, 190 right now. Don’t know how much bigger he could get without losing speed. Good question and good points.

      RG

  • Jon

    Safety????? Wyoming has a good history of producing quality players in that position lately…..

    • rgagliardi

      His coach thought he might make a good safety. Would need some development there having played only one year of defense in high school, and that was at linebacker last season.

      RG

  • K.C.

    RG,

    Have you seen him play? If you’ve given him the eyeball test what’s your opinion?

    Thanks,

    K.C.

    • rgagliardi

      That’s the problem, K.C. I have never seen him play. Seen some film and talked to a lot of people’s opinion I value that have seen him play and they think he can play at the D-I level.

      RG

      • K.C.

        RG,

        Sorry to get off topic but whatever happened to Drew Martinez? I was hoping at least one Wyoming native would be able to get on field next year.

        Thanks,

        K.C.

        • rgagliardi

          He quit either last spring or after spring drills and was going to play hoops at Western Wyoming College in Rock Springs.

          RG

  • Nick

    What about him taking one for the team and taking the Hathaway and leave a spot open for additional players? That is how WYO could get ahead a little bit.

    If he could gain 20 pounds and still keep the speed he has it sounds like a great pick up for WYO.

    • rgagliardi

      Roberts is a good student so that could be a possiblity, but some folks have told me who know the kid that he does not plan to walk-on, not at UW or any where for that matter. He does have the scholarship offers from Northern Colorado and South Dakota, and the impression I get he will choose between one of those two if no one else offers him.

      RG

      • Bob

        What about that Natrona kicker (Taylor King)? Ranked 14th in the nation by Prokicker. I think we could use him.

        • rgagliardi

          Can’t argue that, but if Sullivan doesn’t return and with him and a new punter already on scholarship I’m not sure UW would offer him one.

          RG

          • Bob

            In talking to people in Gillette, they say The NC kicker King could challenge Sullivan and that Williams may be done.

          • rgagliardi

            Never thought Williams would be a factor. I’m sure King could challenge him but likely would have to walk on if Sullivan stays.

            RG

  • WyoWondering

    Wonder if any of you media types have ever heard of a small guy named Danny Woodhead? Just wondering…….sure the coaches haven’t.

    • rgagliardi

      Don’t think size is the main issue. Speed may be more than anything at this point. Ran a 4.67 40 at UW last spring. Not saying that is the end all or most important thing but I think its a factor.
      Woodhead has done well but not everyone turns out like him, either.
      Also, UW will have five RBs on the roster this spring. There may not be a need. UW can’t comment on recruits until they sign per NCAA rules so they can’t talk about Roberts or anyone for that matter.

      RG

  • Kyle Wright

    My only issue with this is that a lot of folks may not be taking off their “loyal Wyomingite” blinders a bit. He may have some great stats on paper, but has he put up those numbers against top quality teams? It could be the whole “big fish in a small pond” analogy…put him up against quality opponents, he may not shine as bright. I just don’t know…and I am hoping he is as good as some of the blind faithful are saying. Do we need another RB…especially one that’s not blazing fast or a big power runner? Maybe another way to look at it: would we, as fans, want DC and company to recruit this kid, with his size/speed/talent if he didn’t come from Wyo? I would love to see a roster full of Wyoming kids, but not if we are avoiding better talent for the sake of having a “Wyoming team”.

    • rgagliardi

      Great points Kyle!

      RG

  • Ron smith

    Two comments. First, Sheridan coach is too young to know about Homer Scott. Scott got a scholarship to CU but injuries cut his career short. All coaches should be required to take a school history class. Check the Sheridan paper around the time of the little big horn. Second, the history of recruiting Wyoming players is a never ending issue. State is too small to have many players the caliber of D 1. Good for this young man to seek a scholarship as opposed to having his folks fund a potential for Coach Dave.

  • Steve

    Rg,
    I think we could find another spot for him on the roster. It all comes down to whether he wants to play for UW or not.. If he is interested in Wyo then he will make it fit some how. If he wants to make a point out of a schollie then so be it. If your heart is in it for the state then it should not matter to him. Just my opinion.

    • rgagliardi

      I get the impression he would like to go to Wyoming but not as a walk-on with two other FCS offers. We shall see. UW has moved players to different positions once they arrived so there is always that possibility.

      RG

      • Val

        If he is getting a visit he is going to be be offered. Do we give visits to recruited walk-ons?

        • rgagliardi

          A visit doesn’t mean a scholarship offer will be made. It often does, but it’s not a guarantee. While on the visit UW could ask him to walk-on while on his visit.

          RG

  • KK

    As someone who has seen Jordan Roberts play for the last three years and as a media type and with no emotional attachment to the University of Wyoming….this kid can play. That’s the bottom line. The problem with this whole thing is the fact that Wyoming has so many running backs as is, and I truly believe that is his position. He could possibly learn the safety position, but he is a natural running back. Will be interesting to see what happens with this

    • rgagliardi

      Good comment, KK. Thanks for the post.

      RG

  • Timmy Jack

    MWC is diluted, 4.67 w/out pads is 5.0 speed. If he can block & catch- maybe H back. A tough kid w/smarts is a good pickup. Guts beats speed every time. Can’t pass on this kid.

    • Val

      We also need a kicker that can reach the end zone. I know most don’t carry two scholarship kickers, but the other team alway starts from the 50 yard line. And I having cardic arrest at every PAT. So do we offer running backs when we need a kicking game?

      • rgagliardi

        If Sullivan leaves they may offer a kicker. The punter they’re bringing in could do kickoffs and maybe compete for kicking duties. Schober returns and he did kickoffs two years ago. But if you ask a coach he will take a RB over a kicker in terms of a scholarship offer 99 percent of the time.

        RG

        • Bob

          Is Sullivan unhappy?

          • rgagliardi

            I don’t know if he is or not. He or the coaches couldn’t have been happy with his performance. LOL

            RG

  • MJS

    To much fuss about Jordon Roberts 4.6 time .4.0 times so overrated. Heart, guts and determination are what count. Remember Jim Kick?? Not great 4.0 time but one of Wyoming’s all time greats. Being from Wyo. I think Jordon would have something to prove to the Doubting Thomases.
    Why are the Wyo. men’s basketball team not playing more Saturday afternoon games instead of so many night games? These night games cannot help attendance. I remember going to Sat. afternoon games during the Leckner-Dembo era. Huge crowds. Lost alot of Rawlins fans attending night games because of the late night drives home in winter conditions. I know night games are due to TV but it is hurting attendance. Wish there could be a compromise between afternoon games and tv. Hope Shyatt brings in more good shooters.

    • rgagliardi

      All the conference games are dictated by Tv. That’s how it works these days. I’m are UW would like new Saturday day home games but its out of its hands.

      RG

  • AJ

    Five running backs should not matter. This season two of the running backs will be seniors. Red shirt Jordon Roberts his freshman year. The following year there will only be three running backs including him.

    • Will

      Good point. I know for sure that Jordan cannot compete with those current RB’s for starting positions however He can absorb their experiences and grow as a reliable RB, or even a rising RB, for the team in the future. Or he might be capable of being in a different position like safety or whatever, I’m okay with that too. But..to be honest, I am pretty happy with what DC has done with his staff change and recruiting after the bowl game so it is up to him to decide. I will support his decision but there is a teeny tiny thing I am afraid of if Jordan isn’t on the team. The regret of passing him and then seeing him doing so well at a different college, not his home college. Just saying..

  • Blunn

    I was just searching the internet to see if any Wyoming boys were going to sign at any level and ran across this blog.

    Having coached against Jordan and sitting in the coaches office at 4 am on Sunday mornings creating ways to specifically stop him I can say he is good. Nobody tackled him the first time one on one, he always found a way to slip and gain yardage. I think his major asset is the ability to cut on a dime and maintain speed. Top end speed may not be excellent, but his ability to maintain speed makes up for that. Proved last off season he could gain weight and maintain speed.

    Yes Wyoming blinders are on for most, but I would think this year was one of the best years in Wyoming for RB’s. Woods, Eddington, Bazemore, etc, and Jordan was clearly heads and tails above all of them.

    From the sounds of it his work ethic he is second to none. It really is unfortunate that we cannot give the best athletes in our state scholarships to attend our home university. Look at a lot of the previous examples of athletes going elsewhere and becoming successful. Handfuls of pro athletes, whether or not they were offered scholarships from the university one would think they should be a high priority.

    Brett Keisel, Chris Cooley, Jaycee Carroll, The Stratton Brothers, and so on.

    Here is a clip from HUDL, watch and see for yourself if you haven’t already. We talk about lack of speed, but no one ever caught him from behind.

    http://www.hudl.com/athlete/675297/jordan-roberts

    • rgagliardi

      Thanks for the comment and feedback.

      RG

  • Blunn

    Also he thrived in a zone read spread type offense. Last time I checked theres some spread tendencies to Wyoming with some zone read actions.