Classy Robertson Commits To Coach Zook

The Fighting Illini officially snared their second football commitment. While the story got out a couple days earlier, J.J. Robertson traveled to Champaign to commit to Illinois directly to Ron Zook Saturday. The Lincoln-Way East receiver is looking forward to his college experience.

J.J. Robertson felt his decision to attend Illinois was important enough to go the extra mile. He made the trip to campus Saturday to commit to Ron Zook in person. He explains why he did that.

"I could have done it over the phone, but I thought I would have a lot better class, be more of a man, to do it in person rather than on the phone. Anybody can do it over the phone. I just thought it was better to do it that way.

"Coach Zook was real happy I did it that way. He said he wouldn't mind if I did it over the phone, but he said I had a lot more class doing it that way. A lot of guys don't do that."

Robertson's decision was reported elsewhere Thursday, but he asked InsideIllini to wait until after he had a chance to visit personally with Zook. He explains.

"My dad and I talked about it. We decided that instead of telling all the reporters I was committing, I should wait. We felt I needed to tell Coach Zook first. But then it did kind of get out a little bit."

Zook was happy adding a talented receiver to the 2012 class.

"He was pleased. He said he knew I made the right decision. But he did tell me, from now on things are gonna get harder. I've got to work hard. He said if I do my part, everything will be good."

It was a short but productive stay on campus.

"After I talked with Coach Zook, we got some lunch, looked around a little bit, went to the bookstore and got some U of I gear. Then we hopped back on the road and went back home."

The 6'-0", 180 pounder describes why he chose the Illini.

"It really came down to U of I having offered me in December. They were the first school to offer me, and they stayed consistent with what they said. It's a good school, and I have a good relationship with the coaches and the players.

"I love the campus. The weight room was the first thing that caught the attention. I love the field and the dorms, and it looked like a place I would really fit in at. It's also close to home, so it can't get any better than that.

Plus, he has developed a good relationship with his future receiver coach Paul Petrino.

"To be honest, Coach Petrino is kind of like a second dad. He stays on me about my grades and says I could help lead them. He's really about what he means, and everything he was saying about the school was true."

What does he bring to the Illinois team?

"Just the heart to win, and my desire to win championships. That's what they like, and that's what I have. I want to make sure my team works hard. On the days we don't like to practice, I like to practice. Stuff like that."

The Illini will hold a summer camp at Robertson's school in June. Will he be there?

"Yes sir. I actually was gonna participate, but Coach Zook said I already showed them everything I have. He said if I wanted to participate, I could. But he said it would be cool if I just come out and be there and support them."

Robertson's commitment is firm. He now becomes a recruiter for the Illini, hoping to be part of a great freshman class next year.

"I'm gonna try to bring as many guys as I can to follow my footsteps and make for a better team as a whole."

He says his academics are fine. He has two possible majors in mind.

"I want to be an athletic trainer or go into sports medicine. One of those two would be great."

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