Cameron Roberson is not one to brag, but he knows there is some serious speed on the Bakersfield College football team this season.
Roberson should know. The Renegades' speedy freshman was a qualifier for the CIF State Track and Field Championships in the 100 and 200 meters in June as a senior at Garces.
Roberson showcased that speed as a standout for the Rams and now in his first two games with the Renegades (2-0).
Roberson isn’t the only one with wheels on the roster for No. 11-ranked BC, which hosts No. 4 Riverside (2-0) tonight at 6 at Memorial Stadium.
“I didn’t know how much faster we were from last year,” Roberson said. “But after film, it’s crazy how fast we are. We sometimes take it for granted that we don’t even notice it.”
Roberson caught a screen pass from quarterback Cesar De Leon in the season opener and went 52 yards for his first collegiate touchdown two weeks ago.
“If Cam has the ball in his hands and he hits a corner, he will outrun just about anyone,” BC sophomore quarterback Brandon Jones said.
Last week in a 46-13 drubbing of Chaffey on the road, Roberson’s speed was on display as the took another screen pass, this time from Jones for 13 yards, scoring on the next play on a 4-yard run.
A play that will not go in the stat sheet for Roberson may have been the biggest indicator of what he brings to the team.
On a flea flicker, the Chaffey defense bit on the run as Roberson tossed the ball back to Jones, who found running back Elisha Ortiz for a wide-open 45-yard touchdown.
“He is a multi-purpose type of guy,” BC coach Jeff Chudy said. “He’s a return guy and a guy that can stretch the field vertically and can run the ball or take a screen 80 yards. We are just scratching the surface of what he is capable of doing. When the dust settles, I won't be surprised, if he would be at a big-time program.”
Roberson had offers from FCS programs like Montana State coming out of Garces, but chose the junior college route to hone his skills, a benefit for himself and the coaching staff at BC.
“First and foremost when you talk about Cam Roberson is he is a great teammate and has great character,” Chudy said. “He is the epitome of what you call a student-athlete. He is what you want in your locker room. Our job is to develop him. But with his skill set, it makes it easier. Add in his composure, it’s a home run.”
First big test
It’s no secret that Riverside has Bakersfield College’s number the last few years. The Tigers have outscored BC 77-21 the last two seasons, including a 45-7 thumping last September.
In the first two games this season, the Renegades have been solid on both sides of the ball.
“This is going to give us a test to see where we are at,” Chudy said. “The expectation level is we need to be better this week then last week. The competition is better, but that’s the challenge. (Today), it should be a lot of fun.”
Like BC, Riverside has a lot of speed on both sides of the ball, including former Cal quarterback Vic Viramontes who has thrown for 64 yards and a touchdown and ran for another 213 and three scores in two games.
“It’s going to be a fan-friendly game,” Chudy said. “You are going to see a lot of speed on both sides with guys that can fly around. You'll see a lot of speed.”
‘Special’ chemistry key for BC
BC has long been a place for former Kern County prep standouts to find themselves in the classroom and on the football field.
But with a constant changing landscape that is inevitable for two-year college programs, filling a roster with numerous players that have played with and against each other since youth ball doesn’t always turn out well.
But this year is special and the effects have shown on Saturdays and the rest of the week in spirited daily practices.
“We have a special locker room,” Chudy said. “Our chemistry is really good. The energy level is great. We are so lucky to have a locker room where these kids have known each other, playing with and against each other. That makes it special.”
The players recognize it, as well.
Roberson said this week he was having a laugh with Ortiz (Stockdale grad) and fellow freshman Jaleyn Prevost (Ridgeview) about an 8th-grade championship game in which Roberson’s team won.
“That’s what makes us that much tighter,” Roberson said. “We talk about the Golden Empire (Youth Football) games. We just laugh about it. It makes us that much tighter.”