Andre Roberts admitted Monday that this week feels different.
"It's kind of weird, having just one more game left," the Spring Valley High graduate said as he prepared for The Citadel's season finale against Georgia Southern. "I never thought about it too much, but now it's here and I have to think about it. It's startling. As a freshman, you think it will never end. Now it has."
Roberts will walk off the field Saturday afternoon in Statesboro, Ga., with just about every Bulldog receiving record. Last season, he gained national notoriety as a Walter Payton Award finalist after catching 95 passes for 1,334 yards and 14 touchdowns. Roberts also was one of the country's top punt returners in 2008 as he ran four back for touchdowns.
Roberts' impressive 2008 numbers made him the prime focus of opposing defensive coordinators this season.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Roberts had a streak of 17 games with at least one touchdown snapped in this season's opener at North Carolina. Facing double-teams on almost every play, he still has caught 72 passes for 711 yards and seven touchdowns this season. Roberts also ranks sixth nationally in punt returns with a 16-yard average.
"I feel like I've been very productive," Roberts said. "I haven't put up the numbers like last year, of course. I knew I'd be keyed on this season. It's tough to put up the same numbers when guys key on you every game. It's a little frustrating, but not too bad."
Most frustrating this season for Roberts has been the Bulldogs' sub-.500 season. Despite Roberts' two touchdown receptions, The Citadel fell to 4-6 last week in a 31-28 loss at Chattanooga.
"We had some high epectations this year, more so than in other years," Roberts said. "We didn't expect 4-6. All we can do is work hard to win this last game."
Working hard is something Roberts has done since he stepped on The Citadel campus, according to Bulldogs coach Kevin Higgins.
"His work ethic is second to none," Higgins said. "He has a dream of playing in the NFL and he practices and works like that. He was voted team captain as a junior and a senior by his teammates due partly because he is such a warrior in the weight room."
Roberts has accepted an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23 in Orlando, Fla. Like most FCS players, Roberts will have to prove himself against top FBS talent.
Roberts, who had 10 catches against North Carolina and opened some pro scouts' eyes with nine receptions for 153 yards and one touchdown last season against Clemson, has no doubt he is an NFL-caliber athlete.
"I feel real confident that I can do well in the NFL," Roberts said. "I have done well against upper-level talent in college, so I feel like I can succeed at the next level as well."
Regardless of his future, Roberts takes pride in knowing he will leave The Citadel as one of the program's all-time greats.
"Since I stepped foot on this campus, I felt like I have made an impact on the team," he said. "I always knew that if I worked hard enough, I could get the job done and that's what I did. Coach gave me the opportunity and I made it happen."