Around this time four years ago, Rutgers linebacker Deonte Roberts was a young and hungry freshman learning the ropes and getting acclimated to spring practice at the college level. Now, Roberts finds himself entering his senior year as a captain and mentor for some younger players who were once in his position.
Likely heading for captain status for the second straight year, Roberts has taken pride in setting the tone as a leader and helping freshmen get acclimated with the defensive schemes.
“I’m just trying to bring my team success and leading by example; doing what coaches ask me and making the plays I’m supposed to,” Roberts said. “Just the little things, anything the coaches ask, I am just doing them.”
Roberts has endured the grind of spring workouts for three previous years and remembers coming in during spring workouts with no experience and having to lean on his upperclassman to teach him the defensive schemes.
Now, as an anticipated senior captain, the freshmen will lean on him for guidance, insight and advice.
“I am getting the younger guys better. The guys in my group, my position, and the underclassman,” Roberts said. “Getting those guys along and helping them out, I think they are coming along and grasping the game really well, so it hasn’t been hard to bring them along.”
Next season, will be Roberts’ last chance to leave his mark on this program. The feeling of this being his last ride started to hit him as he walked into the facility for the first day of spring workouts.
“I think the first day on Tuesday, it hit me that it was going to be my last spring,” Roberts said. “It’s like next year I’ll be doing bigger things. I just take it one step at a time, embracing what I’m doing right now and enjoying the guys all around. It hasn’t hit it yet, but it will soon.”
Roberts has ranked second on the team in total tackles for the past two seasons and ranked fourth among the entire Big Ten in total stops last year.