Roberts ‘ready to work’ at N.C. Wesleyan

May. 23, 2014 @ 11:12 PM

It doesn’t take long to pick up on Ty-Traveon Roberts’ heart-on-sleeve mentality.

A standout in three sports, the Southern Vance senior’s emotions were readily on display following big Raider football wins and losses alike.

Roberts’ final appearance in a Southern basketball jersey involved an especially poignant moment too. He and Raiders head coach Greg Ackles shared an emotional embrace as Roberts exited the floor in a loss to league rival Warren County on Senior Night at Southern.

But Roberts held that well-known emotion in check Wednesday as he signed a letter of intent to play football at Division III N.C. Wesleyan. Instead, simply an air of confidence and determination pervaded the conference room at Southern. No tears this time.

“I always try to stay humble,” said Roberts. “People always say I’m a great athlete and say I can play on the next level, but I don’t think what I’m doing now is good enough for the next level. I’m just ready to work.”

Roberts had offers to play basketball after averaging 18.5 points and 10.6 rebounds this season, showcasing a much improved all-around game. The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder can jump out of the gym, but feels his heart is on the gridiron.

Roberts was recruited to Wesleyan as a quarterback, receiver and safety. He was second this season in rushing yards (552) for the Raiders at signal caller and led the team in rushing touchdowns (8) and defensive interceptions (5).

Fittingly, Roberts’ final touch as a Raider was a 17-yard rushing touchdown with 33 seconds to play in a 42-22 loss at Eastern Randolph in the second round of the state playoffs.

After the game, Lewis Young put his arm around a distraught Roberts.

“His passion for the game — it’s hard to match that,” said Young, Southern’s head football coach. “A lot of people have athletic ability, but he has the heart and desire. He wants to be the best. When you have a guy like that, the sky is the limit with his potential.”

Of course, no one knows that potential better than Ty-Traveon’s mother, Yolanda Roberts. And if you’ve watched basketball, football or track at Southern — you probably know Yolanda. She’s Ty’s biggest fan.

“I just want Ty-Traveon to continue to work hard,” said Yolanda. “Not just his athletic ability, but also education. Get that education because that’s going to go further.”

Ty-Traveon Roberts has dreams of playing Division I football that don’t appear to be fading, but he’s happy to join a Wesleyan program that showed him “a lot of love” and “wants to win.”

“I always wanted to see how it feels,” Roberts said of suiting up as a college football player. “Now, I have my chance.”

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.