Isaiah Robertson feels differently about his senior season depending on the perspective.
On the one hand, Robertson helped Neuqua Valley to an 8-2 record and never in his career felt closer to the team. But from a personal perspective the four-star safety from Naperville, Ill., found the season trying as he battled a series of nagging injuries.
Neuqua Valley ran off eight straight wins before losing its regular season finale. Then it suffered an upset loss in the first round of the state playoffs.
“We didn’t go out like we wanted to but it was one of the greatest experiences as a football team,” Robertson said. “I was really close to this team. We really loved each other. We were in it together. As a team, I feel like it was just incredible. I couldn’t ask for a better season.
“Personally, it was just a crappy season. I didn’t feel like myself all year. It was a lot of stuff. That’s why I’m getting my butt in gear right now.”
Regardless, Robertson managed to contribute. He played mostly wide receiver, some safety and returned punts. He dealt with hamstring injuries from the beginning of the season.
“My injuries were just never ending,” Robertson said. “The hamstrings were there every single week. I really don’t think my mind was all the way on football like it should’ve been this year. It was all over the place, stress and everything. I’m not using that as an excuse. But I just didn’t feel the same.”
Heading into the offseason, Robertson wants to get things back in order before Notre Dame beckons. He’s on track to graduate from Neuqua Valley a semester early and enroll at Notre Dame for the spring term.
That reality means a couple things: Robertson will be taking his first college classes in January and he’ll make the transition from two-way athlete to full-time safety.
“I’m trying to improve my body and my skill,” Robertson said. “Same thing with my mindset before I even step foot on campus. I wanna be elite in all aspects of life and the game before I get up there because I know there’s gonna be challenges every day. I need to get myself ready and right to go.”
Whether he’ll join a team fresh off a bowl game or a losing season remains in the balance. Notre Dame must win its last two games to ensure a 6-6 record and bowl eligibility. Robertson is optimistic after watching the Irish recently.
“They’re playing hard,” he said. “Nothing that’s happened this year has changed my mind. Talking to the coaches almost every week, everybody seems to have a positive attitude. They play hard and they really lose games by like a couple points. They could almost be undefeated. That’s just how the game goes. It’s a young group. I think it’ll be really exciting the next few years.”
Robertson will return to South Bend on Dec. 9 for The Echoes. That will be his official visit.
No matter how Notre Dame’s season ends, he feels the same about his college choice today as when he made it last spring.
“I wanted to see the fight and determination,” Robertson said. “Just the grind of the place you’re going. It’s always great to see the places when you’re in good times and everything is happening. But when bad times come it’s something you really want to see. It was important to see that.”