One to watch next season is Rice Lake (WI) outside linebacker Jake Roberts, who had a roller coaster of a junior season. A part of a team that made the division 3 state finals last season, Roberts was fifth on his team in tackles and earned second-team All-Big River Conference honors.
But missing significant time due to injury, the 6-0, 225-pound linebacker didn’t feel as satisfied.
“Last season I had great ups and downs,” Roberts told BadgerNation. “I helped bring my team to state finals in D-3, but unfortunately I was hampered with injury at midseason that had me miss five games.”
Although he felt he improved on his assignments and became a better team player, Roberts’ injury set back his recruitment, but he has started to receive some interest from schools around the Midwest.
“I think my recruitment is going well, but I think missing half of my junior season with injury has slowed it down some,” said Roberts. “North Dakota, North Dakota State, South Dakota, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Missouri (and) Arizona State have sent me mail. Illinois State and BYU invited me to junior day.”
The younger brother of Austin Roberts, currently a redshirt freshman linebacker at Illinois, Roberts is trying to prove he can play at the next level, something he hopes will generate some interest with Wisconsin.
“I am very interested in Wisconsin,” said Roberts. “I really like their power run football, I love their aggressive blitzing defense (and an offer) would mean I could play for a national powerhouse and receive a world class education close to home."
Many people haven’t seen Roberts game due to his absence from the gridiron, but he breaks his own game and what he brings.
“I would describe my game as very consistent, explosive, and powerful,” he said. “On defensive side of the ball, I am able to secure the edge, rush the passer, and just as easily drop into coverage. On offense I am able to dig down and get those extra yards needed to keep the chains moving, also able to lead block and I am a very good pass protector.”