Mesquite (Texas) Horn wide receiver Reggie Roberson wants to pursue a broadcasting degree and -- after hopefully some time in the NFL -- a broadcasting career.
Based on his introspective oratory, Roberson could be as impressive a broadcasting prospect as a football prospect.
He's a pretty darn good football prospect though, and Illinois is hoping to flip the Kansas commit. The Illini took a big step toward that goal by hosting the three-star receiver for an official visit during the weekend.
Instead of writing your typical recruiting visit recap story, Illini Inquirer will just let the well-spoken Texas speedster speak for himself.
Take me through the visit. What’d you guys do?
Roberson: “I saw a little bit of the dorms. I walked through the campus and met with academic advisers and all that for communications which is what I want to study, communications journalism. I talked to a lot of the coaches. I talked to Coach McGee, Coach Stoker,Coach Lovie Smith and a lot of them and pretty much hung around and just saw how it was.”
What’d the coaches tell you while you were there?
Roberson: “They said this was their first class and that they said they liked me a lot, that I’m a high priority of theirs and they really want me to come. They said they really want me and need me. They said that I can really come in and play as a freshman, that they’ll put me in a position play and to get balls and just to make plays and help out the team.”
I know you’d told me you wanted them to show you how they’d use you and if you could get the playing time. How’d they show you that?
Roberson: “They told me that I’d play a lot of slot and a lot of outside. And they said I’d play punt returner and kick returner. They said I’d play that for sure. To me, that’s comfortable for me because that’s how I really started playing varsity football was on punt return and kick return, making plays on special teams. Then I started making plays on the receiver end. I felt comfortable with what they were telling me and where I will play and what they’d have me do.”
What’d your parents think of the trip?
Roberson: “They were really impressed. My dad’s a big Lovie Smith dude. He liked Lovie a lot. My mom really liked Lovie a lot. She’s not the person to like people a lot, but she liked Coach Smith and talked to him a lot and liked Coach Stoker and all the coaches. ...She really liked it, and my parents really liked it.”
Why’s your dad a big Lovie Smith guy?
Roberson: “He just has a lot of respect for him. I think he was the first African-American coach to make it to a Super Bowl (along with Colts coach Tony Dungy). He really liked him a lot. He was really talking about him.”
The game was pretty exciting, but I know it was really disappointing for Illinois (losing 34-31 to Purdue in overtime). What’d you think of it?
Roberson: “I thought it was really good even though they lost. Receiver-wise, when I go watch receiver, I watch to see who I can beat out and what they do. I liked a couple of the (receivers) and a couple of the (receivers) I feel like I can come in and compete with them and come in and try to take their position. But I felt like the receivers, all-in-all had a few big plays. The QB overthrew (Justin) Hardee on the post. Hardee dropped a pass. Just a couple plays that it was kind of the receivers’ fault or the QB’s fault. But I liked it a lot. I wasn’t disappointed in what I saw. I felt like they should’ve won. Once (the kicker) hit the goal post (on the potential game-winning field goal on the final paly of the fourth quarter), I was over there like, ‘Oh my god!’ I liked it a lot. Even though they lost, I still felt confident in them and the offense.”
What were you and your parents talking about on the way home from the visit? What stood out or what was the focus of your conversations on your way home?
Roberson: “Well, academics. My mom, she’s a big academics person. She wants academics over games. I know they’re like fifth among public schools, so she really liked it. She liked it a lot. We were talking about that a lot. Football-wise, they liked the respect of the coaches and stuff like that. They were honest. They’re not going to sugar-coat anything. They’re just going to be blunt with you. They’re not going to push you in the dirt, but they’re going to explain to you why you did this and why you need to do it this way. If you have questions, they’ll explain it to you this and that. That’s what they were like.
“To me what I was talking about was Coach McGee … what I liked really about him is to me, I’m a player that on the field I don’t take a lot from the defensive players. I’m a guy that talks back on the field. I’m going to let a DB know that he can’t guard me. He was like, ‘I want that dog in a player. I can see that you have that.’ I told him I’m never going to let a DB run over me and if he pushes me, I’m not going to say nothing back and cost the team. But I’ll talk to him and make sure that he knows don’t do it again. My role model is Steve Smith. That’s how I go. I try to handle myself like Steve Smith. (McGee) sees that I will compete. He was like, ‘We really don’t have a lot of guys that compete like that with that attitude and mind frame.’ I said, ‘I hope I can come in and change that.’”
How does this visit affect or change how you look at your recruitment now?
Roberson: “A lot. I just have a lot of decisions to make and a lot of things to sit down and take in with my parents and my family and just really think about it because it’s a life decision right now. With me visiting Kansas, just see how that all goes. But Illinois, they really impressed me a lot. I can really say that. So really me just thinking about that, it’s just going to be a hard decision now because I really have something to sit down and think about now because I really liked it a lot. It just felt like home. I felt like I was supposed to be there. I didn’t feel like I was in the wrong place or anything like that.”
What’s the next step for you, take a couple more visits?
Roberson: “Yeah, I’ll probably take a couple more visits. Some people take my visits the wrong way. I’m taking visits to see the school and the football team, obviously, but I want to compare other schools. Now I’m comparing Kansas and Illinois. Now if I go to another school, I’ll compare it to Illinois just to see how it is and see how the coaching staff is. Really, it’s just me taking my visits and then after that, that’s pretty much when I’ll take my final decision.”
Do you have a timeline for that yet?
Roberson: “I really don’t. It just depends on how my visits are, and then after that, I’ll probably make my decision. I really don’t know when I’ll be setting up my visits.”
Do you have any official visits set or any on the schedule?
Roberson: “No, not any set but a couple I’ll be taking visits to.”
Which schools are there?
Roberson: “I think I’m taking visits to ECU, Indiana and Kansas. I think those three.”