Big 12: Derick Roberson

Derick Roberson arrived on Texas' campus this month with every intention of becoming a difference-maker for the Longhorns in 2014. The 2014 ESPN 300 defensive end from San Antonio Brennan was the Longhorns' top-rated signee and committed on the spot when offered before his junior season. He's waited a long time for this opportunity.

Before he left for Austin, Roberson had plenty on his mind: his first impression of the new Texas staff, his senior year and state title game loss to new teammate Jerrod Heard and Denton Guyer, his impressive showing (and lost bet) at the Under Armour All-America Game, and his plan for improving as a freshman.

Our summer series of weekly Q&As with the Big 12's best incoming freshmen continues with Roberson, who ranked No. 78 in the final 2014 ESPN 300.

[+] EnlargeDerick Roberson
Miller Safrit/ESPNAn Under Armour All-American in high school, incoming freshman Derick Roberson has big expectations for his first season at Texas.
What do you think about getting started at Texas?

Derick Roberson: I just can't wait to get everything started and lifting weights, meeting with the strength coach, putting some weight on my self and getting going. I want to get some playing time. I need to get back in shape to go against those Big 12 guys.

What have they told you about your chances of playing?

DR: They told me they don't have a position for me, I've just got to come in and prove myself. They told me I could be a stand-up defensive end/outside linebacker type. I talked to (defensive coordinator Vance) Bedford a couple times this spring about that when he came to my school. We talked defensive schemes and all that. I liked him; he's outgoing and real competitive.

What did you think when you heard the news Mack Brown was resigning?

DR: When I heard the news, I had kind of expected that he was retiring. It happens. If things aren't working right, you bring in someone else. I just went along with it, waited to see which coaches were coming in and stuck with Texas. I didn't know much about Coach (Charlie) Strong, but I did my research and he's a good defensive coach.

What are you always going to remember about playing against Jerrod Heard in the state title game?

DR: Playing against Jerrod was a really nice experience, knowing that he's going to be on my team next year. He's a real good player, he knows what he's doing. I hope he gets some playing time next year, too. They put a lot of bodies on me in that game, more than I expected, but I kept fighting and almost got to him a couple times. He's a good cat. They had a good game plan.

Are you worried he's going to tease you by pulling that championship ring out this year?

DR: Oh, no. He can pull it out. I've got a couple rings myself. It's all good.

You had a monster senior season (111 tackles, 39 TFLs, 20 sacks). What did it mean to you to end your high school career like that?

DR: Coming into my senior year, I told myself I had to get at least 20 sacks. It was time to go all out. I'm pretty happy with myself to achieve those goals. Would've been great to win state, but you know, not many teams make it to state. Honestly, I could've got more sacks if I played all game. Most of the time I'd play until halftime. I'd go in and try to get four sacks. On the first series, I go in and get to know the person who's blocking me. After that, it's a mind game with him, and I get my sacks and get my plays.

What did you learn from playing in the Under Armour All-America Game?

DR: Everybody there was top notch. In that game, I held my own pretty good, even better than most guys. Only person that had a better game than me was probably (Texas A&M signee) Myles Garrett, and we were on the same team. Before the game, we had a bet. We bet each other $20 who was going to get the first sack. I could've had one on the first drive, but he got it. I paid him after the game.

You committed to Texas as early as possible. Was it tough to stay committed from August 2012 all the way to February 2014?

DR: Texas, that was my dream school. It is a long relationship, but you've got to stay committed. What they were offering me, you just had to stay with it. And then when Charlie Strong came in, he stuck with the commitment, too. He saw the same potential in me. When I was on my official visit, he told me he wanted to speak to me first before anybody else.

What did you take away from watching the spring game?

DR: I thought the defense looked way better than last year. They were more active, more hands-on, more hitting. They did a lot of blitzes, too. The spring game looked a lot better than last year, if you ask me.

Do you think the coaching change is what Texas needed?

DR: Yes. He's talking about putting the "T" back in Texas. I think this was the right move as far as doing what was best for the football team, especially with Charlie Strong coming in.

You know Texas already has Cedric Reed and some good defensive ends, but what are you expecting from yourself in 2014?

DR: I want to have better games than Cedric Reed and Shiro Davis. That's what I've got to do, have better games than both of them. I want to get on their level and learn as much from them as I can. I've talked to Ced Reed, and he was telling me I'm going to chill with him and he's going to teach me things. I want to build a good relationship with him and pick up some things.

2014 Big 12 recruiting draft: Round 2

May, 8, 2014
May 8
3:30
PM ET
Earlier this afternoon, we began the 2014 Big 12 recruiting draft with Round 1. We continue the draft with Round 2:

1. Kansas -- DE Derick Roberson
Signed with: Texas
Brandon Chatmon: With Jerrod Heard secured as the face of the offense, let’s get someone to be the face of the defense. The lanky, athletic defensive end could develop into a terror for opposing defenses, and his natural pass rush skills would help him make an immediate impact on the Jayhawks’ defensive front.

2. Iowa State -- DT Terrell Clinkscales
Signed with: Kansas State
Jake Trotter: I actually thought about taking Clinkscales with Iowa State's first pick, so I'm thrilled I was able to still grab him here with the Cyclones' second selection. After booting two DTs during the spring, Iowa State is in major need of immediate impact in the position. As one of the top juco DTs in the country, Clinkscales is just what the doctor would have ordered in Ames.

3. West Virginia -- CB Dravon Henry
Signed with: West Virginia
Chatmon: Obviously, I think coach Dana Holgorsen and Co. did a great job on the recruiting trail with my selection of back-to-back WVU signees in the first two rounds. With Daryl Worley on one side and Henry on the other, the Mountaineers could have the Big 12’s top cornerback duo in the near future. In a league that likes to spread you out and expose weak links in the secondary, great cornerback play can be the difference.

4. TCU -- OLB Edwin Freeman
Signed with: Texas
Max Olson: This selection makes a lot of sense when you remember that Freeman's former high school coach, Kenny Perry, is now the cornerbacks coach for the Horned Frogs. TCU made a run at Freeman, who ended up choosing Texas over Texas A&M, and he fits in well with this defense. He likes playing safety, but Freeman's future is probably at linebacker and he could've been a darn good for TCU.

5. Texas Tech -- DT Poona Ford
Signed with: Texas
Trotter: After ranking ninth in the Big 12 in rushing defense, and after graduating its top two D-linemen from last season in Kerry Hyder and Dartwan Bush, Texas Tech needs some beef. As the only ESPN 300 DT to sign in the Big 12, Ford would bring the beef. He would also eventually give Tech the inside presence it so desperately needs defensively.

6. Kansas State -- LB Kyron Watson
Signed with: Kansas
Chatmon: The Wildcats' defense was missing an impact linebacker in the mold of Arthur Brown a season ago. Watson can fill that void. He’s versatile enough to play inside or outside and has the speed and instincts to make plays from sideline to sideline. And he’d be a special teams demon for Bill Snyder’s squad. Watson is a no-brainer for the Wildcats’ pick.

7. Texas -- WR Armanti Foreman
Signed with: Texas
Olson: Heartbroken over losing out on Ford at this spot, and with few elite defenders left on the board, the Longhorns reluctantly go the receiver route and take the highest-rated one on the board. Foreman is the choice over Allen Lazard simply because he's capable of starring as either a wideout or as a cornerback, the spot where he earned all-state honors in 2013.

8. Oklahoma State -- QB Justice Hansen
Signed with: Oklahoma
Trotter: With Mason Rudolph, Jerrod Heard and William Crest gone, the Cowboys grab the final ESPN 300 QB on the board in Hansen, whose size and mobility makes for a good fit in Stillwater. I foresee many Hansen-to-K.D. Cannon TDs coming to Boone Pickens Stadium.

9. Oklahoma -- WR Lamar Parker
Signed with: West Virginia
Chatmon: The undersized Parker (5-8, 155 pounds) reminds me of Jalen Saunders. Much like the former OU receiver, Parker would bring speed, competitiveness and return ability to the Sooners. With OU's increased focus on the running game, Parker would provide a big-play threat to keep defenses honest.

10. Baylor -- RB Samaje Perine
Signed with: Oklahoma
Olson: Baylor thinks very highly of the running back it did sign, Terence Williams, and he'd be a fine pick here. But it's too tempting to go with Perine, a bruising power back who would bring a lot of muscle to the run game that loses Lache Seastrunk. Though he didn't hold an offer from BU in real life, Perine would be the thunder to the Bears' lighting pass game, a great short-yardage option early on. He's absolutely ripped now, but imagine what strength coach Kaz Kazadi could do with him.
Last year, just a pair of true freshmen received votes for Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors: Iowa State cornerback Nigel Tribune and the winner of the award, Oklahoma linebacker Dominique Alexander.

This year, the immediate impact from the incoming freshman class could be much greater. Collectively, the league signed 11 defensive players ranked in the ESPN 300. And several could vie for time from the moment they step on campus.

But who among them will make the biggest impact? There are some notable contenders.

Nigel Bethel II was the gem of the Texas Tech recruiting class, and he fits the profile of an instant-impact recruit. A four-star signee out of Miami whom Tech flipped from the University of Miami late in the recruiting window, Bethel II brings a level of speed the Red Raiders just don’t possess elsewhere on defense. Given that two-year starter Bruce Jones is gone, the opportunity for playing time at corner is there for Bethel, too.

Playing-time opportunities are also there for Oklahoma State linebacker Gyasi Akem. The Cowboys graduated three key linebackers, including starters Shaun Lewis and Caleb Lavey. With the lone returning starter, Ryan Simmons, moving to the middle this spring, the Cowboys have a hole on the weak side. Akem, who was Oklahoma State’s top defensive signee, has the closing speed and physicality to help fill it.

SportsNation

Which of these defenders will have the biggest impact as true freshmen?

  •  
    9%
  •  
    18%
  •  
    26%
  •  
    26%
  •  
    21%

Discuss (Total votes: 4,720)

Steven Parker II, Oklahoma's top defensive recruit, also might carve out a role rather quickly. The safety out of Jenks, Okla., could help the Sooners replace another safety from Jenks (Gabe Lynn). Oklahoma has some other intriguing young defenders vying for time at the back end of their defense, notably Ahmad Thomas and Hatari Byrd. But Parker has the potential to make an immediate impression.

West Virginia, meanwhile, returns both its starting cornerbacks in Ishmael Banks and Daryl Worley, who started as a true freshman. But it won’t be easy keeping Dravon Henry off the field. Henry, the top-ranked player from the state of Pennsylvania this year, had offers from Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State before picking the Mountaineers. He is a ball hawk who will bring a playmaking reputation to the West Virginia secondary when he gets his chance. That might come sooner, rather than later.

Henry, Parker, Akem and Bethel are all elite prospects. But the top-rated defensive signee in the Big 12 this year is Texas defensive end Derick Roberson, who was the No. 78 overall recruit in the ESPN 300. Even though he’s still slight, Roberson can get after the quarterback. The Longhorns are in terrific shape at one end with returning All-Big 12 performer Cedric Reed. Roberson has the skill set to break into the rotation on the other side in the fall.

Among a few others, any of the five above could make a huge splash next season. So we put it to you in a poll: Of Akem, Bethel II, Henry, Parker II and Roberson, which true freshman defender will have biggest impact in 2014?

Big 12 pre-spring breakdown: DL

February, 24, 2014
Feb 24
3:00
PM ET
As we wait for the start of spring ball, we’re examining and ranking the positional situations of every team in the Big 12, continuing Monday with defensive line. Some of these outlooks will look different after the spring. But here’s how we see the defensive lines at the moment:

[+] EnlargeAmari Cooper
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesOklahoma end Charles Tapper will lead the Big 12's best defensive line in 2014.
1. Oklahoma: D-line began as a weakness but quickly turned into a strength under first-year position coach Jerry Montgomery. End Charles Tapper was an All-Big 12 selection as a sophomore, and tackle Jordan Phillips was on his way to earning similar honors before a back injury ended his season prematurely. Both players are back. So is Geneo Grissom, who had three sacks in the bowl win over Alabama. Nose guard Jordan Wade earned a starting role late in 2013, and Chuka Ndulue will be a starter for a third season. Basically, the entire rotation returns. If Phillips rebounds from the injury, this could prove to be Oklahoma’s finest D-line since 2009, when NFL All-Pro Gerald McCoy roamed the middle.

2. TCU: DE Devonte Fields, the Associated Press’ Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year as a freshman in 2012, had an empty season in 2013 thanks to a suspension, then a season-ending foot injury. If Fields can return to the player he was, TCU will be formidable up front. Chucky Hunter was a second-team All-Big 12 pick inside last season, and he’ll be flanked by an array of experienced tackles in Davion Pierson and Tevin Lawson, who were all part of the rotation last season. Ends Terrell Lathan, James McFarland and Mike Tuaua, who combined for 11 sacks in 2013, all return as well. Even with DT Jon Lewis giving up football, TCU's D-line figures to be as deep as any in the league.

3. Texas: Cedric Reed, one of the best sack men in the Big 12 last season, returns after giving the NFL a cursory thought. The Longhorns have to replace Big 12 co-Defensive Player of the Year Jackson Jeffcoat on the other side, but ESPN 300 recruit Derick Roberson, the No. 8 DE in the Class of 2014, could help right away. The Longhorns should also be stout inside, with run-stuffing tackles Malcom Brown and Desmond Jackson back to clog the middle.

4. Kansas State: Ryan Mueller, who was eighth nationally with 11.5 sacks last season, comes back after a breakout All-Big 12 season. Travis Britz is an all-conference-caliber tackle and gives K-State one of the better one-two punches on the D-line in the league. Joining them will be Terrell Clinkscales, who was the No. 4 junior college DT in the 2014 class. The Wildcats pried Clinkscales away from Nebraska, and at 315 pounds he could be the perfect complement to Britz, who relies more on quickness.

[+] EnlargeShawn Oakman
John Rivera/Icon SMIBaylor defensive end Shawn Oakman will play a bigger role next season.
5. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys lose two-time All-Big 12 tackle Calvin Barnett. James Castleman, however, will be a three-year starter, and end Jimmy Bean had a career night in the Cotton Bowl with three tackles for loss. The key to the Cowboys fielding one of the better lines in the league again will be whether Ben Hughes, Vincent Taylor and/or Vili Leveni can emerge inside after redshirting in 2013. All three are promising prospects, especially Taylor, who was an ESPN 300 recruit in the 2013 class.

6. Baylor: The Bears feature two of the more intriguing defensive linemen in the league. DE Shawn Oakman, a former Penn State transfer with tremendous length at 6-foot-9, finished sixth in the league with 12.5 tackles for loss last season, but he tailed off in Big 12 play. Baylor will ask him to play a much bigger role along the line, and he has the potential to give the Bears a unique playmaker there. On the inside, Baylor will lean more on Andrew Billings, who was part of the DT rotation as a freshman. If both Billings and Oakman play up to their vast potential, Baylor could be a handful up front.

7. West Virginia: The Mountaineers lose two of three starters along the D-line, including second-team All-Big 12 end Will Clarke. West Virginia is hoping for big things from DE Kyle Rose, who played a lot as a sophomore. Dontrill Hyman will likely fill a starting role on the other side, though he could get pushed for time by Eric Kinsey and Noble Nwachukwu, who both will be in their third year in the program. The Mountaineers will lean on Christian Brown and Darrien Howard at nose guard. Howard was an ESPN 300 recruit last year and played as a freshman. There’s some talent and potential here.

8. Iowa State: Like Texas Tech, Iowa State loaded up on immediate defensive line help, signing three juco defensive ends in Dalyou Pierson, Terry Ayeni and Gabe Luna, who is enrolled already for spring ball. Those three together with All-Big 12 honorable-mention selection Cory Morrissey and sophomore Mitchell Meyers should give Iowa State a solid rotation at end. Rodney Coe, who started the last four games, will anchor the Cyclones inside.

9. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders lose their two best defensive linemen in Kerry Hyder and Dartwan Bush, and Tech got pushed around up front anyway last season. Coach Kliff Kingsbury recognized this deficiency and signed four juco defensive linemen, all of whom have a chance to play immediately. Of the returning linemen, Branden Jackson was by far the most productive, totaling nine tackles for loss and four sacks as a starter.

10. Kansas: Despite also losing two starters, the Jayhawks have experience up front. Defensive captain Keon Stowers is back after manning the middle in 2013. Ben Goodman returns as well in Kansas’ “buck” role, and he is coming off a very solid sophomore season. Goodman’s backup, Michael Reynolds, and rotation players Tedarian Johnson and Ty McKinney give the Jayhawks depth.

Texas commits respond to Strong hire 

January, 5, 2014
Jan 5
2:30
PM ET

Charlie Strong has officially been named Mack Brown’s successor at Texas. It’s a move that appears to get thumbs up from many of his future athletes.

As 2014 Texas recruits waited to hear who would be their future head coach, many of them were hoping for the right fit. Strong’s résumé -- 23-3 in his past two seasons at Louisville, 3-1 in four bowl game appearances and an outstanding recruiting reputation -- says he fits the bill.

In short, Strong gets it, and while Texas commits had the utmost respect for Brown, they now feel they’re in good hands.

“I think he can do pretty good there,” four-star offensive lineman Terrell Cuney (Jasper, Texas/Jasper) said. “I don’t think anyone can live up to what Mack did, but he’ll come in and do big things.

"Bring it on, man! 'Hook ‘Em all day!'”

Top Big 12 Under Armour Game targets 

December, 26, 2013
12/26/13
2:00
PM ET
The Under Armour All-America Game is a week away, and several players are preparing to prove themselves against equally talented athletes on one of high school football’s biggest stages.

Currently, four UA All-Americans -- Texas defensive end commit Derick Roberson (San Antonio/Brennan) and cornerback commit Jermaine Roberts (New Orleans/St. Augustine), Oklahoma dual-threat quarterback pledge Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe) and Kansas offensive lineman commit Jacob Bragg (Nacogdoches, Texas/Nacogdoches) -- are committed to Big 12 schools.

Here are five uncommitted players who are considered major targets within the Big 12:

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Big 12 recruiting storylines: Dec. 19 

December, 19, 2013
12/19/13
2:00
PM ET

With the first day of the mid-year transfer signing period in the books, Big 12 schools managed to pick up some quality players. Twenty-nine junior college players signed letters of intent to nine of the 10 schools in the conference.

Texas Tech scored the most signees with five. Josh Keys (Seminary, Miss./Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College) was one of the bigger names to sign, as he’s the No. 4 juco safety in the country. Other new Red Raiders include offensive tackle Dontae Levingston (Harbor City, Calif./Santa Monica College), wide receiver Devin Lauderdale (Corsicana, Texas/Navarro College) and defensive tackles Keland McElrath (Clarksdale, Miss./Coahoma Community College) and Marcus Smith (Highland, Kan./Highland Community College).

Here are some of the more intriguing storylines involving teams and players -- new and future -- in the conference:

K-State’s juco reputation lives on

The last thing Kansas State’s reputation did on Wednesday was take a hit.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

December, 16, 2013
12/16/13
8:00
AM ET

If all eyes weren’t on the Heisman Trophy race Saturday, then they were on Mack Brown's impending resignation as head coach of the Texas Longhorns. Add that in with the multiple junior college pledges to Big 12 programs, and you have a pretty solid weekend of recruiting as we approach the middle of the month.

Official visits and in-home visits were major topics of discussion last week. Here are some of the top storylines over the weekend:


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Under Armour game storylines: Big 12 

December, 5, 2013
12/05/13
2:20
PM ET
The Under Armour All-Americans have been announced; now, it’s a wait-and-see process for many of them. Will the committed players stay committed? Will the uncommitted make decisions soon? Can we see a major flip before national signing day?

This week’s recruiting storylines focuses on some of the Under Armour All-Americans being recruited by Big 12 programs.

Big 12 representation -- or lack thereof -- at the UA game. The Big 12 currently has four representatives who will compete in the Under Armour All-America Game -- Texas defensive end commit Derick Roberson (San Antonio/Brennan) and cornerback commit Jermaine Roberts (New Orleans/St. Augustine), Oklahoma quarterback pledge Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe) and Kansas offensive lineman pledge Jacob Bragg (Nacogdoches, Texas/Nacogdoches).

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Best Big 12 recruiters 

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
8:00
PM ET

Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

The best college football coaches will tell you that when it comes to recruiting, their business is an art. It’s a craft you must perfect if you want to have the best players commit and ultimately sign. Recruiting isn’t for everybody, but those who are good at it -- particularly for building the 2014 class -- should be recognized, as the business is extremely competitive.

Here are 10 of the top recruiters from the Big 12.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Big 12 recruiting storylines: Oct. 10 

October, 10, 2013
10/10/13
2:00
PM ET


The Big 12 has a big weekend ahead in Dallas and Texas Tech is surging. Here’s a look at some of the Big 12’s top recruiting storylines.

Big names set to attend Red River Rivalry
There is never a season, regardless of what type of shape either program is in, that the Cotton Bowl won’t be filled with some of the most desirable recruits in the country.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Big 12 class rankings analysis 

October, 9, 2013
10/09/13
2:00
PM ET


Each Wednesday, ESPN RecruitingNation updates its national class rankings. For an in-depth look at the Big 12 conference, check out our conference rankings:

1. Texas, 24 commits: The Longhorns check in at No. 7 in the RecruitingNation class rankings with the headliners being No. 79 overall Derick Roberson (San Antonio, Texas/Williams J. Brennan High), No. 119 Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City High) and No. 138 Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/John H. Guyer High). Texas, which currently has seven ESPN300 commits, has its sights set on No. 31 overall Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell High), No. 13 Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen High) and No. 25 Jamal Adams (Lewiville, Texas/Hebron High).

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

September, 16, 2013
9/16/13
8:00
AM ET
video

It continues to get worse in Austin, Texas, where the Longhorns lost to Ole Miss 44-23 on Saturday. We’ll look at that loss and what it means for Texas, as well as Oklahoma trying to capitalize on its rivals’ mishaps in this week’s Big 12 weekend recruiting wrapup.

Biggest commitment: This one goes to Oklahoma and the verbal pledge it received from 2014 offensive guard Jonathan Alvarez (Mesquite, Texas/Horn) on Tuesday. Alvarez isn’t the most well-known commitment for the Sooners, but he helps fill a big void.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Best Big 12 classes by position 

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
8:00
AM ET
There is still plenty of work for every Big 12 program to do before the completion of the 2014 recruiting cycle. But one can begin to at least paint an outline for how each class is going to look come February.

Here is a look at which Big 12 teams have the best 2014 recruiting class at each position.
Quarterback
Strongest class: Texas

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Texas recruits hanging with Longhorns 

September, 8, 2013
9/08/13
7:21
PM ET
Being the Joneses has its perks.

But when the Joneses can’t live up to their own way of living, things can go awry very quickly.

Manny Diaz found out just how quickly Sunday afternoon when he was relieved of his duties as Texas’ defensive coordinator not even 24 hours after the Longhorns gave up a school-record 550 rushing yards and 679 total yards to BYU in an embarrassing 40-21 loss in Provo, Utah.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES