"He said that I'm going to play early," Roberts said, recalling his conversation with Hazell. "I've got to work hard to earn my spot. But he said I'm going to play."
On Wednesday, Roberts will sign his national letter of intent to Purdue, officially making him a Boilermaker. He'll have family and friends surrounding him at Lowndes (Ga.) High School. It's a moment that will bring many emotions.
"It'll be a big burden off my back," Roberts said.
"I'm excited going into Wednesday. I'm looking forward to it."
Much of Roberts' excitement is looking ahead to his time in West Lafayette. The early playing time wasn't a formal promise; it's something he has to earn. The possibility of starting immediately is strong, but he has to make it happen.
Ever since Roberts learned of this idea from Hazell, he says it has been more motivated than ever to get on the field.
"It inspired me to keep working harder and get better every day," Roberts said. " …It made me feel that I can play at the biggest level."
Roberts picked Purdue over offers from Washington State and Western Kentucky, plus interest from a slew of other schools. One of the reasons the Boilermakers stood out was the history of the Purdue program.
"It's a lot of tradition at Purdue," Roberts said. "It's a big deal. I get the chance to have a really good education and play Big Ten football."
The Boilermakers jumped into Roberts' recruitment in December, showing strong interest in the talented cornerback. Purdue was looking to fill a key void at cornerback and believed the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder can be the impact player.
For Roberts, the potential of Purdue is something that caught his attention.
"It was a big deal," said Roberts. "They're a big-conference program and looking to win championships, just like me. We've got to do it together. We've got to grind."
Roberts has high aspirations for his collegiate career in West Lafayette. He isn't afraid of sharing those goals.
"That I'm going to help the team win a championship, and I'm going to be a lockdown corner," he said. "I'm ready to go with the best of them."