When I first watched University of Charleston running back and 2012 WVIAC Player of the Year Jordan Roberts on film, one thing came to mind: Danny Woodhead. However, after speaking with Roberts, he may be better than Woodhead when he was drafted. I’m serious.
Roberts was born and raised in Yawkey, West Virginia. He first started playing football at age 9 in the pop-warner leagues. In one season, he returned 15 kickoffs for touchdowns. Roberts knew from the start that he wanted to be a football player.
When he got to Scott High School, he stepped into a big role on one of the top teams in West Virginia. However, Roberts was ready for the challenge and the workload the coaches threw at him.
“I did pretty much everything. I threw the ball, ran the ball, caught the ball, returned the ball, and blocked punts on special teams,” said Roberts.
His senior year at Scott was by far his best and the best in school history. Not only did the team make it to the third round of the state playoffs, but Roberts himself was awarded the Kennedy Award which is given to the best high school player in the state of West Virginia and for good reason.
In his senior year alone, Roberts rushed for 3,826 yards (one of EIGHT West Virginia High School records that he broke that season), 48 rushing touchdowns (56 total touchdowns), averaged over 30 yards per punt and kickoff, threw for 686 yards with seven passing touchdowns, and had 115 tackles on defense and special teams.
To go along with being named West Virginia’s best high school football player, Roberts was also an EA High School All-American for running back and also played in the Max-Emfinger All-American game in Jackson, Mississippi.
“That was cool. I go to go down to Mississippi and play with some good players and meet some cool coaches. That was a neat experience,” said Roberts.
Following high school, one would think that Roberts would have the top colleges from around the country drooling over him. However, he was only awarded a preferred walk-on label for West Virginia University.
“That’s kind of how it was coming from Yawkey. It’s in the middle-of-nowhere West Virginia so not many have heard of it or would even think to look there. My cell phone barely gets service out here,” said Roberts. (We were conducting the interview via his house phone.)
Since he had earned an academic scholarship in the classroom that paid off WVU for him, Roberts decided to be a Mountaineer.
After redshirting for a season, Roberts saw action his redshirt freshman year as a special teams player. For Roberts, he thought that he was more valuable than that.
“I thought I could handle a greater role and wanted a bigger workload. I wanted to help on offense and carry the ball,” said Roberts.
Roberts then transferred to division II University of Charleston in Charleston, West Virginia. Since he had transferred down a level, he did not have to sit out a season and was able to step in a play right away.
Over his three seasons at Charleston, the team improved as Roberts improved. In his first season, he had just 79 carries for 381 yards and 11 touchdowns. In his second season, Roberts carried the rock 206 times for 1,430 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also had 2,274 all-purpose yards.
Much like his senior season in high school, Roberts saved his best for last. In 2012, he had 238 carries for 1,572 yards, 18 touchdowns, and averaged over six yards per carry. Roberts also had 20 receptions for 204 yards and averaged 30 yards per return on 13 returns.
Following his senior season, Roberts was selected to the Don Hansen and BSN All-America teams as well as being named WVIAC Conference Player of the Year.
“Transferring to Charleston was great for me. It was definitely a great decision and I never looked back after doing it,” said Roberts.
One thing that he didn’t get to do in his career is something that haunts him on a couple levels. Even though they went 9-2 his senior season, Charleston was left out of the NCAA DII Playoffs.
“I really thought we deserved to go. We were really starting to peak and our only two losses were to Glenville and Shepherd and by a combined 10 points. I really wanted to go because it was something that Charleston had never done before,” said Roberts.
Since the season ended, Roberts was selected to play in the Aztec Bowl in Mexico and performed well. He had three touchdowns, but had two get called back due to penalties.
“I think they did that because were winning so bad,” said Roberts laughing.
He also participated in the NFL Regional Combine in Cleveland, Ohio this past February. Roberts weighed in at 209 pounds and ran a 4.57 40 yard dash, jumped a 37” vertical and 10’6” broad jump, and had a 4.17 20 yard shuttle (all numbers unofficial).
He also trains with A-Game Performance and believes that he is position to run a sub-4.4 40 yard dash. If he can do so, many experts, including myself, believe that Roberts will most likely get selected in the April NFL Draft.
There are a number of teams that are believed to be interested Roberts. The Cleveland Browns (hosted the Cleveland Regional Combine), Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Diego Chargers have all expressed some level of interest in Roberts.
For now, Jordan is preparing with A-Game Performance for his pro day on March 17th which will take place at either Fairmont State or West Virginia University.
Roberts is the kind of player that a creative offensive coordinator drools over. He can run the wildcat offense, take the ball on a direct handoff, catch the ball in the field, and can return punts and kicks as well as block punts and kicks.
“My goal when I get to the NFL is to win a Super Bowl and I will do whatever I can to help the team get there. I will play anywhere they want me to play and do whatever the coaches ask me to do,” said Roberts.