Roberts interested in Northwestern

Roberts interested in Northwestern

Peoria Richwoods (Ill.) High School tight end Brandon Roberts impressed Northwestern coaches at the Chicagoland Showcase camp in June. The rising junior discusses the Wildcats and his recruitment in this PurpleWildcats.com recruiting update.

When Brandon Roberts made his way to Northwestern in June for the Chicagoland Showcase, one of the most important annual prospect events for Illinois-area high schoolers in the summer recruiting calendar, he was far from a known commodity among Big Ten coaches and scouts.

The 2013 tight end from Peoria (IL) performed well in front of various coaching staffs, including NU, and has since seen his recruitment heat up significantly, with a handful of major conference schools contacting him in the last six weeks.

"That was big for me," Roberts said of his performance at the camp. "I bunch of coaches started talking to me after that."

That was the second time Roberts visited NU. Earlier this spring, he attended a spring practice and was able to meet some of the players and coaching staff. Roberts said he enjoyed the upbeat atmosphere at practice and the way coach Fitzgerald fostered an energetic and competitive training environment.

"They were a great group of guys," he said. "I enjoyed spending time with them and meeting the coaches."

At Richwoods High School, Roberts played tight end, defensive end and fullback, but projects as a tight end at the next level. Asked about his greatest strength on the field, Roberts offered glowing self-praise about his pass-catching abilities. "Ive been told by my coaches and teammates that I have the best hands on my team," he said.

For most tight end prospects, NU offers a change of pace from the traditional responsibilities demanded by the position. The Wildcat-altered version, termed superback, is best described as an h-back-full back hybrid and demands players with varied skill sets encompassing two primary areas of performance: blocking and pass catching. Roberts' role at Richwoods is similar to NU's unique position, and he welcomes the various challenges it presents.

"I like superbacks," he said. "They're not just about blocking. They let you show your abilities in many ways, let you show how versatile you can be. It's basically what I do in high school now."

During the summer, Robert has kept in touch with wide receivers coach Dennis Springer and he plans to revisit NU for a game in the Fall. While he doesn't envision making a decision until after his senior season—he would like more time to research all of his options with his parents—Roberts has compiled a rough list of top-five schools (in no particular order): Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and NU.

It's likely that more schools will enter the chase for Roberts' services as he plays out his final high school season. Yet the two strongest determinative elements of his decision-making process—academics and staying close to home—weigh strongly in NU's favor, perhaps more than any other school on his list.

"I really like Northwestern. It's a top academic school," he said. "I like the location and the fact that it's close to home. My parents are going to talk me through my decision, and they would prefer me staying close to home."

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