Kaniesha Roberts is proud, hardworking single mother of four.
Without question, her son, Jordan Michael Roberts is her go-to child.
“He had to learn to be the man of the house,” Kaniesha Roberts said during a recent interview. “He helps me with his siblings.”
To get a clear indication of why Jordan’s mother essentially has deemed Jordan — her oldest child — the catalyst of the Roberts household, look no further than the seemingly turbulent encounters that mired the Ardmore (Okla.) High running back in recent years.
For starters, Jordan, who recently wrapped up a stellar sophomore season for the Tigers, had to assume what his mother described as the “man of the house” role, considering his father has been in and out prison virtually his entire life.
Add to the fact that this speedy, talented athlete informed his mother recently that his girlfriend is expecting a child, and it’s no wonder Jordan admittedly has adopted a newfound disposition on life.
“When he came and told me he could possibly have a baby on the way, my heart dropped and I explained to him his dreams don’t stop,” Kaniesha Roberts said. “He has family support and God makes no mistakes.”
Although having a baby at such a young age will likely give way to an assortment of challenges, the 16-year-old Jordan would be the first to tell you that such an unlikely encounter has only fueled his competitive drive to excel both on and off the field.
To his credit, the 6-foot, 160-pound rusher held his own in helping propel Ardmore to a 12-2 record, an Oklahoma District 1-5A championship, and a lengthy postseason run this past season.
While he did not make any starts, he did a masterful job of complementing the dazzling play of Ardmore star running back Orrin Walker in what was his first full season of varsity ball.
Having appeared in 10 of the Tigers’ 14 games, Jordan amassed 222 yards on 13 carried and produced three rushing scores.
What was especially impressive about Jordan’s contributions was that he showed no signs of a player who was a newcomer to major high school football, in large part because he averaged 17.1 yards per carry — attributes Ardmore offensive coordinator Corey Russell believes are a sign of things to come as Jordan prepares for what figures to be a breakthrough junior campaign.
“Jordan is one heck of a talent,” Russell said. “He is tall and has solid speed and great hands. Jordan sort of glides with the ball in his hands. He will contribute greatly on offense and defense. I can see Jordan playing at the FCS level.”
While Jordan had proven to be efficient on the offensive side of the ball for the high-powered Tigers, he also enjoyed quality minutes on defense when he assumed the cornerback position, a role he is expected to become more acclimated with next season.
“I really have the heart for the game and play smart football,” Jordan said. “I work on my game every day from 2-5 p.m. except on Sundays. That’s my rest day.”
Fortunately for Jordan, his attractive height and versatility haven’t gone unnoticed by college scouts, considering the University of Oklahoma are amongst the schools that has expressed interest in him.
Chances are such a recruiting process figures to improve considerably if he keeps doing the necessary things to grasp attention.
“I want to go college and get an education,” Jordan said. “I have a little one on the way and, as my mother did for me, I have to take care of my responsibility. I have to grow up a little faster in life.”
Just like this past season on the field, it’s a monumental challenge Jordan admittedly appears destined to tackle head on.
“I’m ready to take that journey,” said Jordan, alluding to the challenge of being a teenage father. “It’s in God’s plan and I won’t question God. My mom is a single parent of four and she is my No. 1 fan. My family has supported me since day one. I want to give back to my family by succeeding in life and following my dreams, and that’s to play football for life.”
A long-awaited dream that undoubtedly will make a familiar single mother of four one happy camper.
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.