Robertson Opens Up

One player not expected to participate in Saturday's Shrine Bowl combine was Travian Robertson.

The Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland County defensive end suffered a serious knee injury early in his junior season, and he didn't think he would be ready to compete in the spring combines.

"There was a lot of people at the combine," Travian Robertson told Pack Pride. "They measured me at 6'3.5 and 220 pounds, and I was glad that I could do a couple of the drills.

"I repped the bench (185 pounds) 19 times, and I ran a 4.58 in the 40. Monday, I ran the 40 at 4.63, and the fastest time I ran before my injury was 4.65, so that surprised me. That was the fastest time I ever ran in the 40."

On his last attempt Robertson ran a 4.83, but it didn't matter. His first run proved that the potential top-10 in-state prospect is well on his way back from the knee injury that sidelined him nearly eight months ago.

A four-star prospect, Robertson missed all but three games his junior season but still totaled 11 tackles and three sacks. His game is based on speed and relentless pressure, and he has been compared to a couple of ACC defensive ends.

"Hilee Taylor, when he was in high school, I was compared to him," Robertson said. "He went to my school and when he was a senior, I was a freshman. They compared us back then.

"Now, a lot of people tell me I can be more like Manny Lawson because of his speed."

Robertson has already garnered several scholarships and has a host of programs tracking his progress.

"[NC] State, [North] Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Tennessee have offered me," he said. "I think Florida is close to offering, but they haven't yet."

Early in the process Robertson admitted that North Carolina was his leader, but he has since stepped back and is wide open after securing more scholarship offers.

"Since I've been going to other schools, I don't have a leader right now," he said. "I'm trying to look at everyone equal because I really don't know what I want to do.

"I like all of them, and it is getting more and more confusing. The schools I've really seen are South Carolina, Carolina, and State. I like Tennessee too, and I've been there, but outside of them I haven't had a chance to see the other colleges.

"I'm trying to go to Florida in June. I'm going to try to make it to Virginia Tech too, but I have to talk about all of that with my parents."

Although he didn't want to list a leader, Robertson admitted that he has his eye on South Carolina, North Carolina, and NC State. All three programs have been recruiting him for a long time, and they all have positives.

At South Carolina, Brad Lawing is heading his recruitment. Lawing and Robertson developed a relationship when the assistant was at North Carolina, but after leaving to join Steve Spurrier's staff he offered Robertson a scholarship and now has the Gamecocks firmly in the mix.

"South Carolina is a lot like State," Robertson said. "I like their campus, and I like coach Lawing. That's who I basically talk to with them. I keep in touch with them every now and then."

Despite the loss of Lawing, North Carolina is still right there with the talented defensive end.

"I like the coaches at Carolina," Robertson said. "They welcome you and when I went to the camp I had fun. I've liked them since that first camp, and I love their campus.

"I grew up liking the basketball team. I watched the football team every now and then, but I really liked Carolina's basketball team."

Like North Carolina and South Carolina, NC State has its advantages.

"I haven't seen their campus yet, but I've seen the football facilities at State," said Robertson. "They are real nice. I want to get back up there and see the campus because if I went there that's where I would be for four years.

"I've had a chance to talk with Mario Williams and Manny Lawson and that's been real nice. Everytime I've been up there I had a chance to talk with them."

This past weekend was huge for the NC State program, as three of the Wolfpack's top players were selected in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. Defensive ends Mario Williams and Manny Lawson were picked No. 1 and No. 22 respectively, and defensive tackle John McCargo was selected with the No. 26 pick.

Robertson admitted that really caught his attention and stated it was a huge selling point for the Wolfpack.

"I was surprised," he said. "I was hanging with my friends [Friday] night, and I saw Mario on TV when they were saying he was going to go No. 1 in the draft.

"It was just last week that I was talking to him at the spring game, and now he's making 54 million dollars and is the No. 1 player in the draft. It made me feel good to see someone come out of North Carolina as the No. 1 pick.

"Basically the State coaches told me that I could have the same opportunity. That's what I like about NC State. It put a lot of attention on State football with Mario going No. 1 in the draft."

Keep an eye out for the Volunteers. Tennessee assistant Dan Brooks has developed a reputation for plucking quality players from North Carolina.

"Tennessee was a surprising offer," Robertson stated. "It was coming off of spring break, and I got the fax in. I hadn't even talked to a coach yet. That's a nice place."

Don't expect Robertson to allow his recruitment to carry into next year. He hopes to have a decision sometime prior to his season, after he takes a few more unofficial visits and finds exactly what he's looking for.

"It will be before my first game, just to get a lot of pressure off my back," he said. "I can just go into the season and worry about football."

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