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Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Tagging the Gators: CB Marcus Roberson

By Michael DiRocco

Marcus Roberson
Gators cornerback Marcus Roberson (5) often huddles up the team before games.
Editor’s note: Each day between now and Florida’s Allstate Sugar Bowl date with Louisville, GatorNation will review the season for a key Gators player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at CB Marcus Roberson.

CB Marcus Roberson
20 tackles, 2 INTs, 12 pass breakups, 1 sack

Role in 2012: After missing the final three games of the 2011 season with a neck injury, Roberson played in every game (four starts) as part of the Gators’ rotation at corner with Loucheiz Purifoy and Jaylen Watkins.

The good: Roberson started all 10 games in which he played in 2011, which is impressive for a freshman. However, he struggled with making a play on the ball and was penalized numerous times for pass interference, including twice against Tennessee. Not this season. He leads the team in pass breakups and has done it against some of the country’s top receivers: Tennessee’s Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson, Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews, and LSU’s Odell Beckham. His technique is better and he’s locating the ball better.

The bad: Roberson isn’t the biggest corner (6-foot, 178), but he’s big enough to be a better tackler than he is. Roberson may have the worst tackling fundamentals of anyone on the defense. He just ducks his head and throws a shoulder at the ball carrier. No one expects him to hit like Matt Elam, but he has to spend this offseason working on his tackling. That’s really the only thing that’s keeping him from being an elite player.

Crystal ball: Roberson is a key figure in the Gators’ cornerback rotation and will continue to battle weekly with Purifoy and Watkins for a starting job. If he continues to improve his coverage and ball skills and makes an effort to become a better tackler, he should become an All-SEC cornerback and possibly have an opportunity to leave school a year early for the NFL.