While the Georgia Bulldogs were putting the finishing touches on a 63-17 victory over Murray State on the newly-named Vince Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, former Bulldog receiver Caleeb Roberson took the field for the Clark Atlanta University Panthers, his new team.
There are a number of reasons why a player transfers from a collegiate football program, none seemed to matter on Saturday night at CAU Panthers Stadium when Roberson, arguably the highest-profile player to come to Clark Atlanta since former Vanderbilt University quarterback Jonathan McCrary made his Panthers debut two seasons ago, walked to midfield alongside senior quarterback Charles Stafford, and freshman defensive linemen Rodney Lewis as one of the team’s three captains for the game. The positive impact of Roberson’s arrival to Atlanta (he played his high school football in Waynesboro) already being felt before a down was even played.
On the field, both as a pass-catcher and punt return, Roberson’s debut could also be considered a success. “He didn’t hardly come off the field,” said Panthers first-year head coach Tim Bowens of Roberson during his post-game press conference. Bowens also credited Roberson for his work on special teams kick-off unit. “He had Livingstone fair-catching.” The Blue Bears only managed 62 yards on their three kickoffs attempts and no yards by way of punt returns.
Roberson finished his SIAC debut with three receptions for 19 yards. He was targeted seven times, dropped two, but also was a target of aggressive defending. A potential first touchdown reception was instead intercepted by Blue Bears defensive back Khalil Cooper in the corner of the end zone.
Roberson will be a key match-up for an opposing defense on Saturday too when the Panthers travel to Columbia, South Carolina to play Allen University. His debut done, it’s time to get back on the field and get back to work.