September 20, 2011

Roberts finds his niche on offense

If you're looking for a sleeper prospect to watch in the Deep South you might want to keep an eye on Mobile (Ala.) McGill-Toolen athlete Trey Roberts, a versatile athlete from the Class of 2012.

As a sophomore and junior Roberts lined up at safety for McGill-Toolen Catholic. He was one of the conference's top defensive backs and got some experience playing against some of the region's top talents.

This year new McGill-Toolen Catholic head coach Bart Sessions moved Roberts to running back. Sessions, who was the defensive coordinator at Daphne during their 6A state championship season last year, saw something in Roberts.

"We felt like we needed someone that could run with some power," Sessions said. "We needed a physical back with some breakaway speed and Trey demonstrated those qualities."

That's putting it mildly. Through four games Roberts has rushed for nine touchdowns. Against Foley last week he had 200 rushing yards in the first half alone. That total could have been much higher but McGill-Toolen raced out to a 28-0 lead and things slowed down after that.

Schools have taken notice.

Alabama, Auburn, Middle Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tulane, UAB and Houston are just some of the programs that have shown interest.

This weekend Roberts will be making the trip north to Tuscaloosa to watch Alabama take on Arkansas with two of his teammates, junior quarterback Jason Smith and junior wide receiver Carl Lee, both of whom figure to be SEC targets as well.

Roberts will be an unofficial visitor with the Crimson Tide and is a sleeper prospect that Nick Saban and his staff are keeping an eye on.

The 6-foot, 190-pound prospect has been clocked at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

Who has been recruiting Roberts the hardest?

"Probably Tulane, South Alabama, Alabama and Kentucky," Roberts said on Tuesday evening.

Roberts said he doesn't have any favorites but he does know what he's looking for.

"I want a great education, a great fan base and a place where I'm going to win. I like to win," Roberts said.

Sessions elaborated on what Roberts bring to the table as a running back.

"The first thing is he has great vision," his coach said. "That comes from playing defense. He understands what they're doing.

"He runs the ball well downhill and he runs with good power. He's great at catching the ball. He's got great hands. When we go four wide we actually move him into the slot and bring the backup tailback in. In the Fairhope game he had three or four key catches in the slot."

In that Fairhope game, McGill-Toolen had trailed 28-0 before mounting an epic comeback, winning 35-34.

"He's a guy that has versatility," Sessions said. "You can move him around a little bit."

It's not clear what position Roberts will play in college but he has the athleticism and smarts to play multiple spots. Of course, he has experience in the secondary but his recent success at running back has colleges giving him looks there.

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