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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Flying High

Colin Darland/ Arizona Daily Wildcat
Colin Darland
Colin Darland/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Arizona wide receiver David Roberts is not your average football player — or collegiate athlete for that matter.

Sure, he trains hard, practices with intensity and has to take the occasional summer class.

The difference is that while many of his teammates are taking general education requirements between the spring and fall semesters, Roberts is taking thermodynamics.

“”That was the hardest class I’ve ever taken,”” Roberts said. “”I’ve never studied so hard. Every day I’d wake up, go to football, class, study and I went straight to sleep.

“”But I actually got an A in that. I was really excited.””

In his third year as an aerospace engineering major, the redshirt sophomore has always set high standards for himself, both on the field and in the classroom. His parents were also the type to make sure that as Roberts’ collegiate football career neared, he would keep his priorities straight.

So far that is exactly what has happened, and his strong academic efforts earned him student-athlete of the month honors in January of 2008.

Roberts’ draw to the aerospace discipline was his love for planes, which he has had since he was young.

“”I’ve always loved planes,”” Roberts said. “”Growing up, I was really into space and jets. I’d love to work for Boeing, that’s my dream job. But really anything that has to do with flying — I’d like to be a part of it.””

While Roberts’ future may be in the airline industry, at Arizona, the sophomore has been one of the rare engineering student-athletes who have also found success on the football field.

After redshirting in 2007, the 6-foot, 190-pound receiver saw very limited action in 2009, catching only two passes for 15 yards, each coming at the tail-end of blowout Arizona wins against Toledo and Idaho.

But this season, Roberts has worked his way up the depth chart and has seen significant playing time through the first three games.

“”Dave is one of those guys who’s going to do things right and be productive,”” said offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. “”That’s what you’re looking for is somebody you can count on. It’s like anything else, when somebody makes a big play you give them more opportunities to make big plays, and then all of the sudden they’re a playmaker.””

In each contest the sophomore has bettered himself statistically. He exploded last Saturday with a pair of impressive catches. While Arizona quarterback Matt Scott struggled throughout the day on hitting his targets, Roberts managed to pull in both passes he saw for a total of 44 yards.

“”I’m not really sure (if the routes helped the throw),”” Roberts said of his receptions Saturday. “”(Iowa) was really good at making checks. But I guess on those plays we exploited a hole in their defense, and after that they checked it.””

On the year, he has pulled down five receptions for a total of 67 yards. The sophomore is hopeful that he will be able to see more playing time in the upcoming weeks.

However, despite being redshirted in his first year at Arizona and then seeing just a handful of snaps last year, Roberts said he rarely let himself become discouraged, a trait that has come in handy both on the field and in his major.

“”I guess (not getting much playing time) was frustrating at first,”” Roberts said. “”But I think the biggest part is that you have to be patient and wait for your opportunity. You have to be a good teammate, work hard and you’ll get an opportunity.

“”Luckily (last weekend), I got a chance and was able to capitalize on a couple plays.””

 

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