Tiger Stadium is a great recruiting tool for LSU coach Nick Saban and his staff. After all, it is one of the largest on-campus venues for college football with a seating capacity of 91,600 and known as the best place to experience a night football game in all of college football.
That premise was never more obvious than when LSU rallied to defeat Ole Miss 14-13 a little more than a week ago. One of the spectators in the stands on that cool Saturday night was making an unofficial visit to LSU and once again, Tiger Stadium made its mark.
Memorial-Port Arthur, Texas, quarterback/safety Calvin Roberts (6-1, 190, 4.43) now lists LSU as the leader for his services over some of the nation's top programs after his visit on the bayou.
"I like the system at LSU," said Roberts, who is academically qualified with a 900 on the SAT and the necessary grade point average. "I went to their game and I liked the fans, the stadium and the coaching staff. The school was real nice, too."
Roberts left Baton Rouge with a new outlook on college football and a newfound respect for the traditions and excitement he witnessed in Tiger Stadium.
"It was wild and crazy in there," he said. "The fans are behind the team 100 percent and I have never seen fans like that before. It was just so loud and crazy."
Other schools contending for Roberts' signature behind the Tigers are UCLA, Oklahoma, Iowa State and Purdue. He has not set up any of his official visits to this point but those are the schools he is still considering.
The younger Roberts has performed well on both sides of the ball for Memorial with more than 2,400 yards of total offense and 33 touchdowns to his credit. Defensively, he has picked off nine passes over the last two years with four going for touchdowns.
His defensive prowess was a big reason he earned junior All-America honors last year and is line to receive the same accolades again this year.
Most coaches are recruiting Roberts as an athlete, but quarterback is where he really wants to play.
"I've been doing it for so long," Roberts said of his desired position. "I do not want to have to change my position. The people that I want to be like in the pros are quarterbacks, too."
Those people Roberts is referring to are some of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League such as Michael Vick (Atlanta), Aaron Brooks (New Orleans) and Donovan McNabb (Philadelphia). One thing they all had to go through at some point in their life was coaches telling them they could be better at another position but they all stuck with their lifelong ambition.
Roberts plans on doing the same to some extent, but he wants to get on the field one way or another. Staying put at quarterback could be an obstacle in Roberts' way if he decides to sign with LSU since the Tigers already have commitments from two of the top 16 passers in the country. But Roberts said the decisions of Matt Flynn and Robert Lane will not have any bearing on his plans.
"I did not know LSU had those two commitments but it really doesn't bother me," Roberts told Tiger Rag. "I like competition but I really want to play quarterback. I could play running back or defense if I had to, but that is not what I want to do."
Another factor that could come into play for Roberts is his longtime friendship with teammate James Johnson (5-11, 190, 4.4). There have been rumors swirling around that Johnson is a secret commitment to the Tigers but Roberts said he does not have any idea if that is truth or speculation. Only LSU and Iowa State have popped up on both players' short lists and that coul