Michigan has a need at receiver, and the coaching staff loves skill players who can block. Austin Roberts just so happens to be a physical receiver who loves to hit people.
In an effort to freshen the recruiting content in the blog-o-sphere, we at Maize N Brew have begun writing up profiles for some of the premier 2014 prospects. Included will be a summary of their recruitment thus far, a breakdown of their play, and a silly prognostication on their likely destination.
Roberts also has junior year highlights available on Hudl.
Notable offers: Florida, Iowa, Miami (Fl), Northwestern, Ohio State, Stanford.
The junior out of Carmel, Indiana, is molded much like recent Wolverine receiver commitments: he's big, he's strong, and he can win a ball in a physical situation. When I saw his sophomore highlights I believed that he could end up being an elite prospect because of his combination of size and raw explosiveness, but then I saw his junior tape and cooled on him a bit. He may have put on a bit of weight, and he doesn't get in and out of breaks as well as you'd like to see from a BCS-level receiver. He wasn't called on to go deep against high school competition and simply doesn't dominate the competition enough right now.
Austin still has the speed and strength to play at a high level, but I wouldn't expect him to be someone who stretches the field. Instead, expect Roberts to be a jump ball receiver in college in the mold of JR Hemingway. He can also be called on as a run blocker, as he shows great eagerness to block on film. A good portion of Roberts' sophomore tape is him pushing smaller corners back, or coming back to crack a defender from his blind side. Hoke and Borges love receivers who can block in the run game, so I'm sure his sophomore tape caught their eye.
Roberts doesn't have an official Michigan offer yet, but it's only a matter of time until he gets it. It may seem weird for a player from Indiana to have offers from the Florida schools before Midwestern schools. This is because Roberts transferred from Tampa, Florida, and has only played one year of football in Indiana.
Austin originally planned on visiting this month but had to reschedule. He's hearing from Michigan more than most schools. Via Tremendous:
Michigan has been recruiting him harder than most schools. He was thinking about visiting this weekend, but can't due to a family commitment.. He implied that he absolutely plans to visit this off-season though. He said that he's been on the phone with Coach Mallory a lot and that they really want him to visit. He's been getting lots of handwritten letters as well.
So far Roberts has taken unofficial visits to Florida, Miami (Fl), Stanford, Purdue, Northwestern, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Indiana. He seemed to be impressed with the Florida Gators after watching them defeat Florida State, and had a positive reaction when asked about them afterward:
"I'm really gonna watch the Notre Dame game now tonight. GO GATORS!"
The Gators should be a major threat in his recruitment.
Roberts' recruitment is still in its early stages, unlike that of a few major 2014 Michigan targets. He'll receive more offers in the coming months, but I expect it to come down to Florida and the Midwestern powers. It's too soon to say if he'll end up at Michigan, Ohio State, Florida or anywhere else, but I can tell you that Michigan should be a factor in his recruitment. He told Tremendous that academics were important in his decision, and we know that Michigan offers an elite education.