It was a special atmosphere in Norman on that night but never did Roberson ever realize he could one day end up in that very same situation.
Not in 2012, 2013, 2014, and for the most part, not 2015. Although Roberson was receiving the very definition of mild interest from the Sooners, there was nothing to suggest he was ever going to end up a legitimate target, offer or commit.
But that’s what drove the 6-foot-4, 300+-pounder who did indeed commit to OU less than two weeks ago. It’s hard to see beyond his frame, but many schools were doing exactly that. Looking at Roberson and then moving on.
And getting noticed in the state for this year’s offensive line class was going to take some work. The state has rarely seen a year where there are so many quality linemen where any number of them could end up at Division I schools.
Roberson, a few months ago, was just one of them. And treated as much at OU’s junior day where there was no special one-on-one connection with offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.
“It was cool during junior day, but it wasn’t anything special because nobody really knew who I was,” Roberson said. “It didn’t make me mad, but it made me want to prove myself even more. It added fuel to the fire.”
That determination never went away. And as recruiting rankings came out across the board, all it did was intensify. Roberson has been adamant since the winter that he believes he’s a top-five talent in the state.
He believed he was OU worthy, but he also knew he needed help to get there. Enter J.D. Runnels, the former OU great has been training Roberson the last four years and has gotten the chance to experience the difference up close and personal.
“His work ethic and mentality,” said Runnels about what has changed with Roberson. “He always had the frame and nastiness. He wants to be the best and worked to make his game perfect. He has turned it up within the last year.”
It was right around that time, though, that the Sooners became more of a legitimate possibility. Roberson doesn’t consider all the informal stuff as a real relationship. When asked when he really developed a relationship with Bedenbaugh, he doesn’t hesitate to say last month.
It took until the spring evaluation period for the Sooners to get serious about Roberson, but Bedenbaugh still wanted to see it in person. Roberson was invited to camp at OU’s elite camp two weeks ago and delivered.
He didn’t just perform well, but he had the best day of any day he’s had in that type of setting. He clicked on all cylinders. If the OU offer came, great, but Roberson could walk away from that event knowing he did everything he possibly could to get the spot.
Roberson said he didn’t expect the offer. He thought he would have to prove himself during his senior season, and he was OK with that. Proving his worth has never been an issue for Roberson.
The offer, obviously, did come. Less than 72 hours after the camp had ended, he had the offer and committed to Bedenbaugh right there on the spot during the same call.
“I don’t know if it still has hit me yet,” said Roberson last week. “It’s a huge weight off my shoulders, but I’m not done working yet.”
Working with Runnels has improved his all-around game, and Roberson credits Runnels for the help with his athletic ability and footwork.
Roberson is OU’s second in-state recruit to commit for the 2016 class but the first from Harrah in a long, long time. He understands that responsibility, and Roberson said he’s looking forward to representing his city.
He’s a pretty good representative, too. Roberson said he measured at 6-foot-4 and 337 pounds at OU a couple of weeks ago. He’s big. He’s nasty. He’s a perfect fit for what Bedenbaugh looks for with offensive lineman.
But he’s not done yet.
“This just means I have to keep working harder,” Roberson said. “A lot of people are going to be questioning my ability. I’m more determined than ever.”