THE Miami Hurricanes coaching staff is optimistic on the potential of true freshman defensive lineman Elijah Roberts.
Roberts came to the Hurricanes out of Miami Columbus High as a four-star prospect and has played sparingly thus far behind a talented group with several NFL prospects, but his performance at preseason camp led to playing time sooner than expected.
“I’ve learned so much in two months from all those guys, not even just the coaches. They don’t mind helping and whenever I have questions about the scheme or anything I need help on, they’ll help me and show me the things I can do better,” Roberts said of the Hurricanes Athletic department. “They’ll tell me where to place my hands and where to move my feet. They’re making me a better defensive lineman and I really appreciate those guys.”
Miami defensive coordinator Blake Baker has said Roberts can be used as a defensive end or defensive tackle in the future.
“I really like Elijah. He’s got a blue-collar attitude. He comes to work every day. Really heavy-handed,” Baker said.
“We’re playing him both inside and outside, at defensive end and defensive tackle. But, he creates a lot of knock-back with his hands and he’s slippery as a pass rusher. … I’ve been really impressed with Elijah. I think he’s done a really fine job for us. And one thing I’ll say about Elijah is…he does a great job soaking up all the knowledge around him, but I think he has a ton of leadership qualities.
“He doesn’t say much, but when he speaks, he already turns some heads, even amongst the upperclassmen. When he speaks, people listen…he has that personality, that leadership aura about him.”
A consensus four-star prospect by 247Sports, ESPN and Rivals, Roberts was ranked the No. 13 strong-side defensive end and No. 47 player in Florida by Rivals. He was rated the No. 14 strong-side defensive end and No. 55 player in the state by 247 Composite.
He was also listed as the No. 31 defensive end and No. 56 player in Florida by ESPN and helped lead Columbus to a Florida Class 8A state championship.
In his senior season he totalled 31 tackles, eight tackles for loss and six sacks. He chose Miami over offers from Florida State, Florida, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Penn State, Pitt, South Carolina, Syracuse, Tennessee, UCF, Vanderbilt and West Virginia, among others.