If there is one person who Garrett Roberts would say got him started in football. He would say his mother.
Roberts was a baseball player for most of his life before football and his freshman year, one of the football coaches at Brusly High School (Brusly, La.) talked to him about playing during the summer workout program for baseball.
He discussed it with his parents and his mom said he should give it a shot or he may end up regretting it.
“…I went ahead and tried and the practices of course, they were tough and everything but once we got to the games and everything, I fell in love with it. I just think there’s no better feeling than padding up and going at it. So, my favorite part, maybe making a big tackle or anything like that it’s just a wonderful feeling and I’m addicted to it,” Roberts said.
The 6-foot-4, 230 plus pound, defensive end out of Brusly is motivated to play by his community, school, because of his love for the game and the opportunity to obtain a free education.
“Sophomore year we had a new head football coach come in. He looked at me and I was about go out to play linebacker and he went ahead and told me to go at defensive end. After the couple practices, I kind of worked my way up the rankings and ended up starting my sophomore year. That’s when I knew I must be pretty good at it and I’ve played ever since,” Roberts said.
The toughest thing for Garrett Roberts has been getting bigger and stronger in order to be a good player at the defensive end position in addition to the technique needed along with the size. He came in at 160 pounds when he first started, gained a considerable amount of weight and worked on the technique at position camps.
Here is what Brusly Panthers Head Football Coach Hoff Schooler had to say about his senior leader.
“Well I think Garrett’s going to be one of those guys─ he’s going to leave his mark on this program as a kid that─ he’s the model kid for what you want your others to be. There is never a negative thing [said] about Garrett. He’s positive when talking to a teacher or he’s talking to a lady down the street in the community. It’s always positive. Every bit of feedback you get is positive. All the athletic stuff will surely leave its mark but to me, the example he sets for younger players and for students in the school and how he represents our football program will be the most impressive mark he’ll leave,” he said.
Schooler also said that all of the accolades will come for Roberts and he is not a guy that has to be constantly watched by a coach because of behavior and other things. He does what he’s supposed to do when he’s supposed to do it.
“…He’s the kind of guy that other kids want to be around. He’ll be one of those we’ll look up one day and he’ll be a lawyer or engineer or something one day and all of us will say ‘I’m proud I coached that guy right there.’”
Schooler knows the difference between just a good player and one that has the potential to be great. Before he became the head coach of the Brusly Panthers, he was the defensive coordinator for Ruston High School and coached Isaiah Buggs, a former four-star recruit and junior Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman.
Buggs according to Schooler, was a two-sport athlete as well. Basketball was his other sport and once he made football his sole focus, he became one of the best players in his recruiting class if he wasn’t already.
Schooler believes Roberts can go on to do the same thing.
“I think he’s a kid that someone is going to take shot on at the next level and they’re going to find a diamond in the rough. This kid, he comes with no baggage, he has got so much upside to him that [if] you get him in there and get that kind of stuff in the offseason, get him coached up and all of that, somebody is going to be proud to have him on the football team.”
Garrett Roberts has only scholarship offer from Kentucky Christian University and he has high interest in Nicholls State, Louisiana Lafayette, Northwestern State University of Louisiana and Southeastern University. LSU is on his radar as well but he is focused on the smaller in-state schools as of right now.
For the Brusly Panthers in 2016, he recorded 34 tackles, two tackles for loss and one forced fumble. Looking at his film, you can see that has speed coming off the line of scrimmage and can break free from his blocker once the ball carrier gets passed him to make the tackle.
“What I enjoy most is definitely the tackles for loss, sacks [and] the big plays that are really highlighted in a football game. Not only that, every play there’s always a spot where I have to be and sometimes I’m not making the big play but I could be filling a spot that could help my teammate make the big play,” he said. “What we like to focus on as a defense is [if] someone makes a big play, it’s not just that one person, it’s the entire squad on defense because we all help contribute to it. When somebody makes a big play on defense, the feeling that I get, it’s second to none.”
He believes his speed is the best part of his game because he can get around much bigger offensive linemen and make plays. Technique and conditioning are things he said need work.
“I’ve learned that it’s a team effort to make sure that everybody’s putting the work in, not to be selfish or [think about] myself and just make sure that our entire team is ready. [Also], make sure whatever work that’s put in in the offseason I can carry on into the games because of all the camps that I’ve gone through. I made sure I continuously worked on the drills and stuff so those techniques that I learned can stay fresh in my head for the games,” Roberts said about lessons he has learned this offseason.
Off the field, Garrett Roberts wants to pursue a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. He realizes that the NFL is a long shot and not many athletes like himself get that opportunity. When looking at schools, how good a school is academically as well as athletically will be equally important for him.
“I have a great work-ethic. No matter what school or position I’ll be put in, I’m going to work my hardest to fulfill that position and benefit whatever team the most that I can. I work hard in the class room, I know that I can keep my grades up and benefit a team that way as well,” he said.
Garrett Roberts is a leader on the field, in school and in his community and Coach Schooler sees that in the weight room, in his mentorship of younger kids and even talking to teachers.
“…So his leadership and his work ethic in the weight room and the conditioning course in the summer and all that is as good as good as any kid I’ve ever coached and the kids around him respond to him as well. I think that’s one of those things. Good player or not good player, the ability to do that is irreplaceable for a coach or for a team. That didn’t have to be coached up at all. He knows what to say and [is] really a leader by example. He’s the hardest working kid in the weight room and the offseason as I’ve ever been around.”