"He has a lot of potential," Coach Hockman said of Christian Roberson. "He has great length and he high points the football very well. He works hard and he's a really smart player. He has good size, good hands and he can really run"
Roberson is expected to play tight end for the Bulldogs. Coach Hockman believes that projection is right on target.
"I believe that flex tight end stuff is probably where he will play first," Hockman said. "He can line up some in the slot and not really be lined up across from the defensive end. He will probably need a redshirt year to get bigger and stronger and get ready for the SEC.
"I don't think he's ready line up in line with a defensive end just yet. He will need to get bigger and stronger to be able to handle that part of it. Flexing him out is probably the right decision until he gets stronger."
While Roberson has college level size and skill, Hockman believes his greatest strides will come in the weight room over the course of the next few years.
"He is a little behind strength wise," Hockman said. "He broke his arm as a sophomore and he missed the entire year lifting. That set him back a little bit, but guys long and lean like him aren't throwing around a boat load of weight anyway. He'll get caught up and I think a redshirt year would really help him make up for that lost time."
Roberson reported at the time of his decision that he chose Mississippi State for both football and academic reasons. The three star standout plans to major in one of the animal science programs at Mississippi State.
"He's an excellent student," Hockman said. "Christian comes from a great family, a family of professionals. They are educated people and that's something that's always been in important to him. We have a lot of kids that leave here and look to major in engineering or something like that. Once they get in there and realize all of the demands on them as student athletes, that chances.
"Christian is a very mature kid. If there was ever a guy who was mature enough to handle a challenging major and the demands of football at that level, it's probably him."
Coach Dan Mullen and his staff elected to sign three tight ends in their 2016 signing class. Roberson and prep school product Dontea Jones are already enrolled in Starkville and expected to take part in spring practice. Junior college standout Jordan Thomas is expected to join the tea in June and begin work during the summer conditioning workouts.