McRoberts invited to Blue-Grey bowl

By Kelly Bowen Staff Writer
Posted 6/20/24

Every year when the air starts to get crisper, the leaves turn red and the weather no longer has an unbearable humid feel, nearly one million high schoolers put on their school-colored uniform, their …

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McRoberts invited to Blue-Grey bowl


Every year when the air starts to get crisper, the leaves turn red and the weather no longer has an unbearable humid feel, nearly one million high schoolers put on their school-colored uniform, their pads and gear, and march onto the football field every Friday night. 

Student Councils decide what theme the student section will dress in every home game and kids buzz in the hallways debating what time they should get to the game to get a good spot. 

The beginning of a school year marks many significant things for high schoolers. For some of these students, the start of football season is enough to get them out of bed, put their phones down and go to the hyped-up game under the bright, stadium lights. 

Out of these one million players, each one has a different goal in mind. Some want to play college football, others enjoy the sport and for some, it’s an escape. 

Wright City running back and incoming senior Duan McRoberts has the goal to play collegiate football and he is now the one in a million picked to play in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl. 

The All-American Bowl is a prestigious game hosted every year to help provide high school football players with national exposure to receive a college scholarship. This year, McRoberts has been invited to play in the East vs. West game on Dec. 16 in AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

He has been placed on the east team as a running back and will attend a three day event. The first two days will involve introductions and practices, while the third day will showcase the highly anticipated game. 

The game has seen many players that are now in the NFL, such as Christian McCaffrey, Stefon Diggs, Trevor Lawrence and more. 

The game costs each player $2,164 for registration, which led the McRoberts family to start a GoFundMe to help McRoberts get to Dallas. 

So far, they have raised $745 and have set their goal for $3,000 for registration, the 10-hour trip down to Dallas and hotel costs. While McRoberts has been selected, he is unsure if he will make the game unless enough money is raised in order for him to go. 

“Football has just always been the sport that I love,” McRoberts said. 

McRoberts has been playing football since he was in seventh grade, with hopes that he would take his game to the collegiate level. 

“He’s just that type of kid that when he’s on the field, he’s going to make something happen,” Wright City Head Football Coach Tyler Rickard said. “He’s a great young man, a great athlete, a great student and somebody who is going to make Wright City proud.” 

Rickard noted that McRoberts has been a consistent starter for the team since his second game of his freshman year. During his three years of high school football, he has played receiver, running back, defensive back and even quarterback. For the Wildcats, he plays on both the offensive and defensive side. 

He is a three-time first team all-conference winner, first team all-district and third team all-state. In his junior season, McRoberts had 19 touchdowns, 1,460 total yards and five interceptions. In his sophomore and junior year, he was the Wildcat’s leading rusher. 

During special teams, he also returned a kick for a touchdown running the length of nearly the whole football field. 

“He makes our team better by either getting him the ball or he helps get other people open because he attracts a lot of attention,” Rickard said. 

McRoberts started his road to the All-American Bowl by getting invited to the All-American Heartland Super Regional Combine in April at the Kansas City Chiefs’ Training Center that invited nearly 7,000 other recruits.  

He noted that he did not feel nervous walking into the combine and actually felt pretty calm and trusted in his abilities, despite the fact that he was performing in front of NFL veterans and experienced scouts. 

During the regional combine, McRoberts ran the 40-yard dash in 4.69 seconds, had a broad jump of 9 feet and a shuttle time of 4.43 seconds. 

About two weeks after the combine, a list of 16 players were put on a scouting report, with McRoberts being one of them. The scouting report highlighted the top prospects from the combine. 

The report stated, “Strong and compact, quick and fast, the 5’8 and 177-pounder got the job done.” 

From there, McRoberts received the letter from the committee in late May that he was selected to be in the game. 

“I had made the first round of cuts [from the combine] so I was of course excited, but I was not that shocked,” McRoberts said. 

Rickard also added that he was not surprised when he heard the news, especially after seeing the report.  

“It didn’t surprise me because I know what type of player he is and it’s just awesome that he is now being recognized on a bigger stage,” Rickard said. 

The family is also planning on hosting a kickball tournament in July and a dine to donate night at Applebees in September. More details about these events will be released later. 

If McRoberts is able to go, Rickard had a long piece of advice for the young player, “The biggest thing I want him to do is have fun. Go play like you’ve always played. He is somebody who is usually not ever swayed by the moment and he’ll step onto the field and to him, it’s just a football field and he’s going to play.” 

If you are interested in donating, visit the GoFundMe titled “Fuel Duan Jr.’s Journey to AT&T Stadium” organized by his mother, Kellie McRoberts.