Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Luke Roberts - Harvard Bound

       Read today where sophomore linebacker Luke Roberts has left Ohio State to transfer to Harvard University. The former Lancaster LB and the Class of 2012 has been a back-up at O-State. Harvard is part of the Football Championship Subdivision, which will allow Luke to play immediately, and he will have three years of eligibility left.
      Using a spokesman, both Urban Meyer and Luke Fickell were supportive of his decision and there were no "hard feelings." His departure should free up a roster slot, and chances of him getting playing time this fall were limited.
     Luke talked me with during the recruiting process. As with most prospects, he had some offers, but his dream was to play Ohio State. He worked really hard at the OSU camp that summer. Not as tall as most coaches want linebackers, but he ran down hill really well. At the OSU senior camp, he put up good enough test numbers. Along with good numbers and being very competitive, Ohio State offered him a scholarship and he accepted.
      Personally I really liked the way he played at Lancaster High School. Tough, played downhill, got off blocks, and studied the opponent. Not a gifted athlete. Needed to be more consistent speed wise. Needed to improve change of direction. But I liked him as a person and as a competitor. Thought that he would represent any college well, including Ohio State University.
     My concern deals with high school football recruits in Ohio. Many(not all) young football players grow up in Ohio hearing and reading about Ohio State football. Parents, unfortunately, do the same. When Woody Hayes was the coach at Ohio State, I felt the same way. Then when the OSU administration hustled him out, I became a "Bo guy." (Immaterial) A parent not too long ago told me that his son had "offers" from all of the Big Ten schools, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame. But, he did not have the "Big One" yet. Ohio State. Unfortunately, his son played one year of college ball (not at OSU) and quit.
     A prospect has to be really, really good to be a "starter" at any top BCS school. At Ohio State, it is even tougher on Ohio prospects. When Urban Meyer accepted  the job at Ohio State, he made it clear that he was going to recruit nationally, and the OSU staff is doing that. With that being said, if you are an instate prospect, you had better have a ton of potential.
     I have a term I use when rating prospects for college coaches. I use the words, "program guy." These are players who will represent their college well. They will go to class, stay out of trouble, practice hard, be a team player, and maybe get some back-up time.. Finally, they will graduate and represent their college well.
     I have tremendous respect for Luke Roberts. He has worked hard and represented the Buckeyes well. Although I did not watch him practice, I am sure he practiced hard. He lived his dream, but things did not work out. Now he will play at Harvard. Last I knew, a degree from Harvard ain't too shabby.
       Of course, Ohio high school players have dreams of playing at closer schools like Michigan, OSU, Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Penn State. A recruit should take his time when making his decision. If I were a high school player, I would have the same dreams. Only two things stopped me from living my dream - lack of talent and fear of getting hurt. But as I always say, "big is not always better."

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