(MCT) CHARLESTON — Second-year University of Charleston football Coach Pat Kirkland didn’t have an immediate answer when asked how he would continue without running back Jordan Roberts.
The 2008 Kennedy Award winner from Scott High School concluded his career on Saturday in the Golden Eagles’ 62-0 romp over West Virginia State at UC Stadium.
As the Golden Eagles (9-2) lament over two West Virginia Conference losses by a combined 10 points that kept them out of the NCAA Division II playoffs, Roberts finishes his third year at UC with a 28-carry, 301-yard, five-touchdown effort against the Yellow Jackets (2-9).
Roberts went to West Virginia University as a walk-on after graduating from high school in 2009. He transferred to UC after one season as a scout team player for the Mountaineers.
“It was a great decision, I haven’t looked back,” said Roberts, who finished at UC with 3,082 yards rushing on 495 carries with 46 touchdowns. “I just focused on the University of Charleston Golden Eagles and try to help make this team a winning program.”
The 5-foot-11, 225-pound running back holds the UC career record for carries (495), career yards (3,082), all-purpose yards (4,802), kick return yards (1,070) and touchdowns (46). He surpassed his own school record for rushing yards in a game on Saturday. Other school records Roberts owns are single-game yards and single-season rushing attempts (238).
Most of his career production came after his first season in a UC uniform. In 2010 in Coach Tony DeMeo’s triple-gun offense, Roberts had 79 carries for 381 yards and 11 touchdowns and caught five passes for 96 yards and another score.
His breakout year came last season when he had 1,430 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns, earning all-West Virginia Conference and All-America status.
As for Saturday, his 238 first-half yards broke the record for yards in a half that belonged to Kentucky State’s Alvon Brown, who had 229 in the first half against Kentucky Wesleyan on Sept. 16, 2000. Roberts’ 190 yards in the first 15 minutes set the single-quarter record for yards that was held by South Dakota’s Stefan Logan, who had 184 in the second quarter against Truman on Sept. 3, 2005.
“He’s a good football player, and I think he put himself in the right position,” Kirkland said. “He’s the featured guy and everything’s he done, he’s well-deserving just because of his work ethic. He’s a very humble, highly driven individual.”
Roberts will graduate in December and immediately begin preparing for a career playing football for money.
“After you graduate and want to play professionally, you have to sign with an agent,” Roberts said. “I’ll play in some all-star games. I’ve been invited to four of them. I’m going to play in the Aztec Bowl, I hope to get invited to the Senior Bowl and there’s another one in Arizona that’s pretty good. I’ve been trying to get in those.”
Ultimately, Roberts is seeking a career in the National Football League, which is something Kirkland is certain his star player can achieve.
There have been NFL scouts in contact with Kirkland, the UC coaching staff and some have visited the campus to view tape and visit with the coaching staff.
“The biggest thing about Jordan is his ability to play special teams,” Kirkland said. “That’s what a lot of the NFL teams like. He’s a guy who can come in and contribute at the tailback position, he has the size to handle that, but also be a guy on every single special teams.”
Roberts changed his major from physical education to general studies and wellness to earn his degree next month and begin the quest to fulfill his dream.
If professional football doesn’t pan out, Roberts has a backup plan.
“One day if football playing doesn’t work out, I’d like to coach football,” Roberts said.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4837.
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