CoachSpeak: Scouting Deonte Roberts

Brooklyn (N.Y.) Erasmus Hall assistant coach Ray Lizzi speaks with to discuss the commitment of linebacker Deonte Roberts to Rutgers. Roberts picked the Scarlet Knights one day after earning an offer during an unofficial visit.

Recruiting begins with relationships, and for Brooklyn (N.Y.) Erasmus Hall linebacker Deonte Roberts, Rutgers has been there the longest.

Roberts picked Rutgers the day after receiving an offer from the Scarlet Knights, but has a long-standing relationship with head coach Kyle Flood.

"Kyle is great," said Erasmus Hall assistant Ray Lizzi. "He was the first one that actually recruited Curtis [Samuel], and Wayne Morgan before he went to Syracuse. He's always been like family to us. He comes to see us multiple times a year. He's not someone that just comes once, twice to recruit a kid. He's very close to us. Me and him exchange pictures of our kids. He's a cool guy."

Erasmus Hall will send a player to the Big Ten for the second straight year after receiver Curtis Samuel signed with Ohio State in the 2014 class.

"I think his athleticism translates well," Lizzi said. "He can see the field early if he continues to work hard the way he has. We've got a great relationship with Kyle Flood and the coaching staff there. We know he's in good hands. The Big Ten is big and with Curtis Samuel being there, we'll have a chance to possibly see them both in games. I think it's going to go well for him.

"He's very physical. He has a mean streak. He's a great kid off the field. If my daughter was old enough, he could date her. But on the field, he's an animal and we're lucky to have him for another year."

Roberts will play middle linebacker for Erasmus Hall as a senior, but projects to play on the outside for the Scarlet Knights.

"This year we're going to use him in the middle because of his IQ," Lizzi said. "He'll be able to verbalize the defense, and he can be tough in the A- and B-gap. He's athletic and rangy enough to defend against the pass at the next level. I think he ran a 4.6 for their coaches. I think he can be good off the edge against anyone in the country. He can even go out and play some man-to-man. He's got the hips. He's got the athleticism."

Roberts lives in New York, and the short commute to campus was an extra selling point.

"The proximity to home is big," Lizzi said. "He has a great relationship with his mother – not a momma's boy, but he's very close with her. He's the man of his house and she'll have an opportunity to play a significant role with him still."

Lizzi cited leadership as an x-factor for Roberts heading into the next level.

"He's our captain," he said. "He's the guy we turn to when we need something in the locker room. The kids follow his lead. He's the first one in, last one out in the weight room. He's doing it in the classroom as well."

UCF was the biggest competition for Rutgers in targeting Roberts, but interest was on the rise for many schools in the region with camp season reaching its conclusion.

"Once everybody starts camping and people start falling through the cracks and schools start seeing the need, he was going to get a lot of attention," Lizzi said. "I think with him, he saw what he needed and he wanted to lead and that's what happened. It was a great fit. Instead of being somebody else's plan C, he knows Kyle Flood really likes him and he went with that."

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