Big Month Ahead for Roberts

Seeing his scholarship list balloon in the month of May, Rice Lake (WI) linebacker Austin Roberts has a busy month of summer camps planned for June, including a stop at the University of Wisconsin.

Despite earning first-team all-state honors from the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association as a junior and hitting six BCS camps, Rice Lake (WI) linebacker Austin Roberts has generated a lot of scholarship interest but no offers by early 2013. Times have certainly changed.

After a slow start to the recruiting process, Roberts has picked up offers from Army, Central Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota State and Wyoming. Roberts has also picked up four Ivy League offers from Columbia, Harvard, Yale and Penn, which came this morning.

"They've really started to pick up recently," Roberts told Badger Nation. "They're all exciting to me in different ways to be honest. Army probably surprised me the most. It's such an honor. I had spoken to them briefly on the phone a couple times and I missed a message that a coach was coming to my school. We sat down and talked for a couple minutes and they ended up offering me."

Not only has Roberts been getting offers, he's been getting a ton of visitors from college coaches during the month of May. In addition to the coaching staffs who have offered him visiting, Roberts has seen coaches from Illinois State, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, multiple BCS schools and Wisconsin all stop in for a visit.

After getting limited contact with the Wisconsin coaches during the Badgers' junior day, Roberts having the chance to get answers from secondary coach Ben Strickland during a visit last week was the highlight, including finding out what he has to do to get a scholarship.

"That was my main question," Roberts said of an offer. "I asked him, ‘What do I need to do to be a Badger? What do I need to do to get this offer?' He said with the new staff that it'll be huge to go to camp. If I were to get offered, hopefully, it would come after camp after they've had a chance to see me."

Having built a relationship with former linebackers coach Andy Buh, who was in Madison for one season before leaving to become the defensive coordinator at California, Roberts has been relying on his film to make the initial impression with the Wisconsin coaches.

When he comes to UW's one-day camp in late June, Roberts is hoping that his skills speak for themselves.

"I think my speed, agility, quickness and mobility has really picked up, even since the film from my season," said Roberts. "I am around the same weight as my junior year, but I am repositioned much better. I have really been working on my footwork and my flexibility. People said I looked kind of stiff on my film. I feel I have fixed that and it's definitely going to show."

That better conditioning, according to Roberts, has come from a different approach to wrestling. Earning All-American status by USA Wrestling as a sophomore at 220 pounds, Roberts finished his junior wrestling season placing third in state in the same weight class, finishing the year with only one loss in the state quarterfinals.

Once wrestling was over, however, Roberts kept the same strict training regiment to keep his weight under control.

"After last wrestling season, I blew up and added like 20-to-30 pounds," he said. "I've really focused on not doing that, keeping myself right around the 220 mark and becoming really explosive from side to side and footwork, everything that coaches are going to be looking for during camp. I'll worry about the weight once I am a freshman in college and find out what the coaches want me to do."

Roberts will be watched by dozens of college coaches throughout the month of June. Starting this weekend with an Illinois camp, Roberts will do camps for Iowa State, Northwestern, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Indiana, Purdue, Iowa and Wisconsin. He also might do a second camp at Iowa State and Minnesota.

"I'm really going to be hitting it hard," said Roberts. "At a lot of these places, going to camp will decide whether I get an offer."

Wisconsin will tentatively be Roberts last camp of the summer, a blessing he says because he'll be able to get experience at other camps.

"Looking at the past few years, Wisconsin has been a little stingy offering in-state kids, so I am trying to keep my options open," Roberts said. "It would definitely be a game changer if they offered, but I am not trying to get my hopes up too high. I am just excited to compete at the camp."

Roberts recorded 262 tackles, eight sacks, and 10 forced fumbles in the last two years at linebacker since becoming a starter during his sophomore year.


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