Who would have imagined, a player who finished last season with no carries for no yards and no touchdowns would be emerging as one the top rushers in the SWAC conference.
Dawrence Roberts, a 5-foot-9, redshirt sophomore from Clearwater, FL, was an inconsistent special teams player last season. But, this season after a slow start, he has exceeded all of Grambling State University expectations. At the start of the season he backed up senior running back Kenneth Batiste and true freshman Juwan Martin.
“I expected to start off great for the season,” said Roberts. “I had big goals set ahead of me, and when I found I wasn’t starting I honestly felt hurt. I felt like my hard work was for nothing and felt like giving up.”
It would be the fourth game on the Tigers’ schedule, in a home match up against Alabama A&M when Roberts got a chance to show his capabilities due to a struggling ground attack.
Though the Tigers lost, 20-14 Roberts’ performance made him the clear-cut starter. He finished with 27 carries for 198 yards and one touchdown.
“I felt great,” said Roberts emphatically. “I knew God had answers, that’s why I never gave up.”
Before Roberts, the Tigers haven’t rushed for over a 100 yards in a game all season, but through eight weeks of a reviving season, Roberts has totaled three 100 plus yard games in the four games he’s started. He has taken the pressure off quarterbacks Frank Rivers and D.J. Williams and given the Tigers a balanced offensive attack.
The slow start for Roberts has prevented him from being included in the league’s top rushers, but he has a higher per-night rushing average and a better per-rush average than any running back in the SWAC.
So far this season Roberts has 82 carries for 581 yards and three touchdowns. His efforts in the Tigers tightly contested victory over the Mississippi Valley Delta Devils has earned him the SWAC’s offensive player of the week award. Roberts finished with 18 carries for 136 yards.
If Roberts remains consistent he would be in contention to be nominated for the HBCU Buzz male MVP award.
“I’d never been an MVP in college, so that would be like a dream come true.” Said Roberts. “It will be a big accomplishment getting me closer to my goal.
Roberts’ biggest aspiration is to be playing for one of the 32 NFL teams, but he knows he has much more work to put in. He said he will continue to work hard on the field and in the weight room, study film and since he’s a student first then athlete he said the most important thing will be to attend class.
HBCU Buzz Staff Writer