In this day and age, the mold of receiver has been dictated by the ever-growing receiver, and I mean that both figuratively and literally. The height of your average NFL receiver has ballooned to the point where just the "average" guys are 6'2" and taller.
Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Keyshawn Johnson, all the now stereotypical receivers in body size and height. Cornerbacks are getting taller to as the sub-six footers are quietly being displaced by those over the half-dozen mark, but with the same quickness and speed, if not more.
So, that basically means that the smaller the receiver, the bigger his battles in the future and it takes guys like Moss, Edwards and Warrick to truly stand out. Del Roberts would like to consider himself amongst that group. "I consider myself like those guys." Del said. "They're quick and make things happen after the catch and that's what I do."
Del doesn't have to brag about his quickness as his 4.46 NIKE combine time will attest to that. As for what he can do after the catch, his 15.5 yards per reception over the last two years illustrates that quite nicely as well. Oh, and the 32.6" vertical jump doesn't hurt either.
It takes more than that though. As much as the raw physical ability is necessary, especially for someone Del's size, the instincts to play against cornerbacks that are just getting taller, that's just as important. It's something that Del looks at as a challenge he is used to. "I don't look at the guy like he's taller than me." Roberts stated. "I just go at him like he's any other receiver and play my game."
And Del's game is one of ‘now you see me, now you don't', his quickness obviously a huge factor in creating separation, something someone his size has to do in order to find success out there on the field. Del does however prefer what he calls an easier approach to beating his man and that's by just flat out beating him. "The fly route is my favorite play." he said. "I just get close to them and fly right on by. That's what I like to do the best."
Del's speed lends to that, but his mentality is ready for any phase of the game he has to utilize to get catches out there and when it comes to the next level, he's already got it in his mind how many catches he wants a game. I have to say that Del would be considered one of the less-greedy I have seen as most playmakers like Roberts usually want the ball any play and every play they are out there. Del is a little more modest in his goals. "I'd just like to get the ball 4 or 5 times a game. I think that's more than enough to make things happen for the team."
Roberts is also a pretty accomplished kick returner, having already returned one kickoff in his career an astounding 99 yards. It's another aspect of his ability he is all too willing to exploit. "I love returning kicks." Del said. "Just get the ball and go and see what I can do."
As you might guess, colleges are recruiting Del for a variety of positions, as an athlete if you want to state it specifically. Receiver for most, returner for some, but teams just want this kid's athleticism on the field.
Amongst those are schools like Nebraska, Iowa, Central Florida, Vanderbilt, Troy State and Middle Tennessee State, who have all offered the Florida standout. And, many others are taking a very hard look, including of course, all of the major schools located right there in the Sunshine state.
Is that his destiny though? Is Del just waiting for a major Florida school to offer like most other Florida preps or is he willing to leave the state? "I'm looking for the right offense and I know I can get on the field right away." Del said. "I see the right combination of what I am looking for and if it's one of the Florida schools, great, but it doesn't have to be. I just want to be where it fits what I do the best."
What's best isn't going to be decided soon as Del has this wait and see approach. Yes, he's probably holding out to see if any of the Florida schools offer, but with the offers he has, he's certain to get more as the season goes along. And, it's the season Del is worried about right now. "I'm just going to see how it goes." he said. "I'm not in a big hurry to decide anything, so I am just going to play this season, take my visits and see what happens after that."
Steve Ryan can be reached at email@example.com or 402-730-5619
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