This morning I'm leading the blog with a guy who currently coaches in the NFL -- but I think Daron Roberts is someone that college fans should get to know a lot better. My hunch is he'll be working at the college level at some point in the next few years. At the very least, Roberts' story and the things he is doing and has done are inspirational and worth hearing.
Here's a May article from ESPN The Magazine on Roberts to get you started.
He went to Texas, but never played football at the school.
"I wasn't good enough to play at UT," he says. He had some offers to play at smaller schools, but wanted to go to UT. Since graduating from Texas, all he's done is work on Capitol Hill for Sen. Joseph Lieberman, earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School and then graduated from Harvard Law. After all that, he used his work ethic and spirit to pursue and land a job as the Detroit Lions' assistant secondary coach. I know, a real slacker.
Roberts' goal, he told me, is to someday be a Division I head coach. I wouldn't bet against him. Earlier this year, knowing the impact football can have in its reach with kids, he formed 4th and 1, a free football camp for at-risk high school sophomores that combines traditional football training with SAT prep, life skills classes and professional development workshops.
"In this culture, [football's] a hook unlike any other," he said.
This month, 35 student-athletes from East Texas convened on the Northeast Texas Community College campus for a week of intensive football training and classes, becoming the inaugural class of 4th and 1.
"All of our student-athletes were members of underrepresented groups [i.e., single-parent households, student-athletes of color or first-generation college applicants]," Roberts said.
Here's a video about the camp and experience.