Considering NC State head coach Chuck Amato's stinginess for offering scholarships, it would have to be considered a safe assumption that junior defensive end Travian Robertson from Scotland County High School in Laurinburg, NC has the potential to become a special player. When you take into account that the Wolfpack offered Robertson after learning that he had torn his ACL and MCL, there's little doubt that the State staff has made the talented defensive lineman a major priority for the class of 2007.
At 6-4, 230 pounds, Robertson has a frame that would remind many Wolfpack faithful of current defensive end Manny Lawson. As a sophomore last year, Robertson played a lot like Lawson as he recorded 75 tackles, five sacks and an interception.
Expectations were huge for Robertson this year but all of that came crashing down during an early September game with rival Marlboro County. A Marlboro player crashed into his right knee and, in the blink of an eye, Robertson's junior season was over.
"When it first happened, I was just mad because it was a cheap shot and he did it after the play," Robertson recently told Pack Pride. "I wasn't really thinking about being hurt but I felt me knee pop when it happened. I got up to walk to the sideline and the trainer ran out and told me to sit down.
"My brother came up and I was just telling him to stay focused but, really, I was thinking my knee would be fine. It was disappointing, though. My brother is a senior and we wanted to finish this year together. They moved him from linebacker over to my position at defensive end, and he just told me he would do the best he could to make me proud."
Two days after suffering his season-ending injury, Robertson made a trip to NC State for the Pack's opening day game against Virginia Tech. A few days after that, the Wolfpack made a scholarship offer. Robertson then made a return trip to Carter-Finley, family in tow, to watch the Pack's demolition of Eastern Kentucky. While obviously early in Robertson's recruiting, there's little doubt that NC State has made a huge, first impression.
"I really started liking them because of Mario Williams," said Robertson. "I had heard their defense was number one and then when I saw Mario, I knew why. But really, it's not just the defense, it's the whole environment, the fans, everything.
"Then, I can really see how the defense works together. I love watching how No. 91 (Manny Lawson) and Mario bond together as I watch the game."
Robertson's offer from NC State was not his first, however. After camping at UNC over the summer, the Heels offered and they have had a considerable amount of success at Scotland County High School.
"With UNC, I've got a lot of friends that go there," he said. "Hilee Taylor is up there and he lives right down the road from me. I went to a two day camp up there and learned a lot about the grades I would need and, for me, that's the most important thing."
For now, it looks like the race for Robertson will shape up as another in-state battle between NC State and UNC.
"Right now, NC State and UNC are the main two," he said. "I was thinking about Wake Forest but I haven't heard much from them. My dad was just asking me would I want to go play somewhere like Florida State if they offered but I doubt I'd take an offer from them because it's so far away from home. I have an older brother at Wingate College and I know he hated being away from home."
With a commitment potentially months away, it's a safe bet that Robertson will become a household name to NC State and UNC fans before a recruiting decision is made.