Roberts: 'State Is My Leader'

Gaston (NC) Northampton West offensive lineman Desmond Roberts enters the recruiting process with a trio of offers and certainly more to follow.

Gaston (NC) Northampton West offensive lineman Desmond Roberts enters the recruiting process with a trio of offers and certainly more to follow.

"Desmond is just a baby," said Northampton West head coach Diego Hasty. "He's 16 and won't turn 17 until November. He wears a 17 shoe and is still growing. Everybody is all over him.

"We had another lineman last year who should have went D-I, but he ended up at Winston-Salem (State). I sent his film to South Carolina, and they offered Desmond immediately. That was last year and it was the first offer he received, but that tells you the kind of player he is."

Roberts, who picked up offers from NC State and North Carolina after South Carolina extended an offer, admits he was surprised by the early attention. However, his family is familiar with the recruiting process, as his older brother, Anthony Roberts, played three seasons at Duke before completing his college eligibility at The Citadel.

"I was very surprised with the offers," said Roberts. "My family told me all I had to do was work hard and do my best, and it would all come to me. For me to have that kind of recognition is real exciting, and I'm not going to take it for granted."

Desmond Roberts

Roberts, who measures in at 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds according to coach Hasty, led Northampton West to the state title game, where the Hurricanes lost to Elkin, 42-12. He impressed recruiting analyst Miller Safrit with his play in the championship contest.

"About as quick a center as you will find, [Roberts] moves well off the ball and finds the second level quickly," said Safrit. "Very aware of his surroundings, [he is] great as a primary blocker and when helping, [he] maintains good contact while finding his free-flowing linebacker. [Roberts has] great natural bend, [a] good frame that could put on more weight, and [is] a great leader on the field."

"My pass protection is great," said Roberts. "I'm still buckling down my run protection, but I can really pass protect.

"I've learned a lot from the camps like at [NC] State, and that has helped me become better as a player."

Roberts camped at NC State and North Carolina last year, and it was the second straight summer he attended the Wolfpack's camp. Coach Hasty has helped NC State with their camps the past eight seasons, and Roberts will again join him in Raleigh this summer while also camping at North Carolina and possibly South Carolina.

Entering the spring, does Roberts have a favorite?

"State is my leader," he said. "I like their coaching staff. They really have the best facilities, and they have my major, automotive technology. I want to do that or engineering.

"Plus, I like the atmosphere at State. Just the emotion they have for their players is unreal. With all that red and white, the fans have love for all the players at NC State."

Roberts will certainly secure more scholarship offers in the near future, as Wake Forest, East Carolina, Virginia Tech, and others are expressing heavy interest. Although NC State appears to have an early advantage, both North Carolina and South Carolina have also impressed him.

"Coach Bunting at Carolina is a nice guy," said Roberts. "He and coach Browning were talking to me a lot at camp last year about my size and technique. I like the both of them.

"I went to some of their games last year and liked it there. I like their offensive line, and I think their offense will come around."

"South Carolina... I'm really going to try and get down there. I was suppose to go when they played Florida but something came up. Players from my area don't usually get recruited by schools from that conference, so I'm definitely going to consider them."

Currently the talented prospect doesn't have a timeframe, although he is on course to graduate early and enroll at the school of his choice in January.

"I talked with my mom about deciding early about two weeks ago," he said. "I don't really want to leave right now, but I only have one more core class that I need. I just turned 16 a few months ago so I don't think I want to leave that early."

Roberts admits that his family will have an influence in his final decision. What do they want to be the deciding factor? Academics.

"They will support anywhere I go," he said. "Whatever school offers the best major and academic resources is where I should go. That's what they want."

Roberts projects as a center on the next level but could grow into an offensive guard or tackle. He will camp at NC State, North Carolina, and South Carolina and is planning on attending NC State and Wake Forest Junior Days. Roberts will also attend the combine and one of the upcoming Shrine Bowl combines.

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