There’s the simple, yet vital lesson that desired goals take time to fulfill.
Georgia wide receiver Demetris Robertson feels the agonizing pain that comes with that tidbit. Back in Robertson’s days as a five-star prospect out of Savannah, many thought he would sport the red-and-black out of high school. His blazing speed and athletic abilities placed him on the college football map and in the hearts of recruitniks nationwide.
Robertson ended up at California-Berkeley, and then transferred to Georgia in summer 2018 after his freshman season. He stepped onto campus and the so-called “Robertson Hype Train” grew steadily by the day. It even exploded with a 72-yard touchdown run against Austin Peay in his Bulldog debut.
Suddenly, Robertson faded toward the back of the depth chart and many were digging for answers as to why the formerly-coveted recruit wasn’t a major force amongst the wide receiver corps.
“I’m sure it was rough on him,” Georgia running back D’Andre Swift said. “Coming into an environment like this, having high expectations like he had.”
There were a few things to keep in mind: Robertson had to learn another offense, he wasn’t with the Bulldogs over the previous summer and the position room led by wide receivers’ coach Cortez Hankton had plenty of been-there-and-done-that talent. Each sighting of Robertson still drew quite the cheer and plenty of reaction, and there was still hope by an anticipatory fan base for a surge to take place.
It didn’t happen in Robertson’s first campaign with the Bulldogs as he had 109 rushing yards and is yet to record a reception in a Georgia uniform. That’s due to the likes of former receivers Mecole Hardman, Riley Ridley and Terry Godwin earning playing time and Robertson dealing with an injury for a portion of the season.
A spring later, however, things have been a different story. After a few months in the weight room and gaining a better grasp on the offense, Robertson is drawing praise from his teammates and being singled out by his head coach — a rarity at times.
“I think he’s more comfortable with the offense,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “He’s played the slot. He plays outside, he understands our offense better and he’s also getting more opportunities.”
Robertson is taking advantage of the Bulldogs’ thin (but still talented) wide receiver room. Ridley and Hardman declared early for the NFL draft, and Godwin and Jayson Stanley exhausted their eligibility. There’s an opening for the redshirt junior who also had the option to end his collegiate career early, but viable opportunity halted any of those thoughts.
Smart indicated Robertson is playing at all receiver positions, but the slot has drawn some intrigue as he’s in competition with sophomore Kearis Jackson and walk-on Willie Erdman. It’ll be seen on G-Day (April 20) how the in-state speedster’s improvements may translate. Robertson has likely bought into the block-first approach if he’s being lauded by his coach, and his route running has seen improvement with another year in the offensive system.
He might not be the pass-catching threat he was as a freshman at Cal with 767 yards and seven touchdowns on 50 receptions. Or could he? Maybe it’s not too-far-fetched, and his first glimpse of true opportunity will be displayed Saturday.
“D-Rob has really had the best spring out of anyone,” Swift said. “He’s come along well. It’s really nice to see him out there making plays.”
If his improvements are seen, it’s another testament to the lesson many have heard since their childhood days: time pays off.