Roberts Rolls with the Tide

Alabama snagged a big commitment on Wednesday as in-state four-star Stephen Roberts committed to Crimson Tide coach Kirby Smart while the defensive coordinator visited Opelika High. The versatile prospect nearly pulled the trigger on A-Day, as it sealed the deal for his pledge. Details inside.

Opelika (Ala.) defensive back Stephen Roberts knew he would eventually land big offers in recruiting with his skill-set at 6-foot, 180 pounds, but the first offer he earned turned out to be the one that he went with in the end.

The four-star committed to Alabama on Wednesday, four days after he nearly pledged to the Crimson Tide at the annual spring game.

"I thought about it after I left the A-Day game," he admitted. "I was back in Opelika just thinking about it, then I decided to do it today since I was going to see Kirby Smart in person.

"I don't think he knew it was going down. "

Many things about Saturday nearly pushed Roberts over the top.

"When I was at the A-Day game, I watched their great defense," he said. "The secondary was good, and I just thought it was for me. They fit my style of play, so that's why I chose Alabama."

The Tide led for his pledge for a while, but offers from the likes of Auburn and Florida State among others slowed the process in February as they continued to roll in.

"It kind of went back and forth a little bit," said Roberts. "But at the A-Day game, they showed so much love. I got to talk to Coach [Nick] Saban like six times, and all the coaches were glad I was there.

"He told me I was a great player and that they can really use me because I can play safety, corner or nickel. He likes players that can play multiple positions, so I thought that was important."

It was Saban who offered Roberts in late January, when the class of 2014 standout admitted that he had always wanted to play for the defending national champions.

"It was a shocker, I really didn't know about recruiting until I got my first offer, from Alabama," he said. "That was a shocker; I wasn't expecting to start so big from a great school."

The offer was also a joy to the family, who despite the proximity to Auburn, remained Alabama fans.

"My family always said it's up to me, but they're Alabama fans," said the newest Crimson Tide with a laugh. "So they're real excited about it, they said they would support me wherever I go, but they were still going to be Alabama fans."

As Smart planned the visit to Opelika on Wednesday; Roberts knew he wanted to personally give the big news to his main recruiter.

"When I call him most of the time, we just don't talk about football," he said. "We talk about how my life is going, my grades and stuff like that. That just shows a great relationship, I can just call him and talk to him anytime about anything.

"That's the kind of relationship I wanted with him."

Both Smart and Saban helped to close the deal while detailing what he can bring to the table.

"They told me I have one of the best film's they've ever seen, because of my technique," said Roberts. "They really like that about me."

Fellow Alabama pledges made it a point to recruit Roberts of late, including recent linebacker commit Shaun Hamilton soon after making his own call last week and especially at A-Day.

"They're going to be excited, they were telling me about the fan base and that they really need a player like me on the team," he said of the others' pitch. "It was just a spring game, but the atmosphere was just live.

"I loved it."

With the process now behind him , Roberts is ready to take things slower on the recruiting front and focus on getting Opelika back to the class 6A state title game.

"I'm thinking about shutting it down, since I'm committed," he added.

But above all, the junior is simply happy to play for the school he grew up wanting to suit up for.

Said Roberts, "It's a blessing, it's a great blessing."


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