Ranking: 4-Star, No. 26 cornerback in the country
Auburn picked up a huge piece of the puzzle for the 2014 recruiting class on Wednesday when Opelika four-star cornerback Stephen Roberts flipped his decision from Alabama to Gus Malzahn's Tigers following several visits to the Plains this season.
Long and athletic, just the type of defensive players that Coach Melvin Smith is looking for in Auburn's scheme, Roberts should have the opportunity to play early for the Tigers with the loss of senior Chris Davis and very little depth at the cornerback position.
A physical player that did a good job at the quarterback position when he was forced into that role because of an injury at Opelika this season, Roberts was originally a safety for the Bulldogs until the middle of his junior year. Making a move to cornerback was one of the keys that propelled Brian Blackmon's club to the 6A title game in 2012 because he became a lock-down cornerback, allowing the rest of the defense to attack the football.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Roberts is his demeanor and the respect for him from his coaches and teammmates. A positive player that fought until the end of his team's season in a loss to McGill-Toolen, Roberts is someone that should fit in well with the Tigers under Malzahn.
What To Expect
A competitor, Roberts should excel in Auburn's system because of his ability to make plays with the ball in the air. While he rarely got tested as a senior and played very little defense following the move to quarterback, the 6-1 Roberts has the physical tools and frame to play right away for the Tigers.
What It Means
Roberts is another big get for Malzahn and his staff as they continue to put together a very solid class. Getting another local player is always important and Roberts coming on board along with teammate Jakell Mitchell can't hurt Auburn's chances with Auburn High's Rashaan Evans down the road either. While all are competitive and at rival high schools, they have a good relationship and that could be big down the stretch towards signing day in 2014.