For the longest time this offseason, the reality of losing over 80% of our offensive production to graduation and the NFL Draft loomed heavily over all of my Cal football fantasies. I felt I was forced to swallow a bittersweet mixture of pride and despair as Bryce Treggs, Kenny Lawler, Stephen Anderson, Daniel Lasco, Trevor Davis, were one by one elevated to the heights of professional football.
So imagine my ecstatic child-like giddiness upon learning that Cal Football had signed the number 1 athlete and 8th overall recruit in the nation - I was pretty damn giddy.
Demetris Robertson of Savannah, Georgia is a 6'1", 175 pound athlete who's been making waves at the high school level with an explosiveness and agility that blows his competition out of the water.
Here are his rankings from the major recruiting services.
- Rivals: 5 stars
- 24/7: 5 stars, 1st at his position, 3rd in state
- Scout: 5 stars, 1st at his position, 3rd in his state
- ESPN: 4 stars
Demetris is a stud on either side of the ball, but he really does shine on offense and special teams, where his field awareness, quickness, and 4.34-second forty make him hard to catch, let alone keep track of.
His relatively small build is a bit of a concern when it comes to 50-50 balls, but his fantastic hands and some college strength and conditioning will do away with that in no time.
Let's take a look at the tape:
- In the first play of the tape, Demetris shows off his speed as well as an incredible ability to make defenders miss. His feet movement is quick and precise, making his cuts crisp and incredibly effective. However, even more impressive than that is his ability to not only recognize weak points in a defensive pursuit, but also manipulate defenders to better catch them off balance.
- The second play beginning at 0:21 showcases his breaking speed and knack for slipping defenders with hairline adjustments to his track. He makes his defender miss with a single quick, efficient move which makes all the difference for getting that touchdown.
- Demetris seems to favor a hesitation move to take advantage of a defender who over-pursues. He can stop on a dime and is patient enough to slow down for greater gain.
- Again, Robertson is listed as an athlete and played both sides of the ball. At 0:41 we see why as he runs a perfect tackle track and absolutely levels the ball carrier out of the sideline. More on his defense later.
- At 1:05 Demetris does the number one taboo of ball carrying: running backwards. However, he showcases his incredible athleticism, field sense, and acceleration that almost makes breaking that taboo okay. He does it again at 3:26.
- At 1:25 and 2:18 he shows his ability as a safety, making an athletic diving interception. We see a great pass break up at 1:54 and top-notch run defense at 2:24.
- What is particularly impressive about Demetris is his ability to run with the ball either off a hand off or after the catch. At 2:26 he's not only able to find the best rushing lane through the defense, but he has enough speed and balance to extend the play by several more yards.
- Overall Demetris is an incredible offensive weapon. His physical specs are world class even as a 19 year-old and he possesses a game sense that is a combination of plenty of experience and a ton of God-given talent. If you couldn't tell from the tape, his speed is incendiary and even then he can stop on a dime, sending defenders reeling. He excels at running with the ball and beating defenders, which explains the hype early in his high school career as a kick returner.
- He has a set of reliable hands a la Stephen Anderson paired with the athleticism to make circus catches a la Kenny Lawler. Defenders are pressured to play him tight, but with his speed and agility, a single wrong move from the defender all but guarantees six points on the board. Demetris should make a splash in the program even as a true freshman, competing with other elite recruits to make up all of that missing offensive capacity. Welcome to Cal Demetris and Go Bears!