If there is a wild card in the Illinois Fighting Illini Class of 2014 Line Backer Corps it’s Austin Roberts. The 6’3″ 230 pound Inside Linebacker from Rice Lake, WI spent the majority of his senior season on the sidelines with an ACL injury in his left knee.
Before going down with injury about halfway through his 3rd game of his senior year, Roberts had amassed 46 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and 1 sack. If he had been fortunate enough to play out his entire season it’s very possible he would have duplicated, if not surpassed, his 2012 stats (152 tackles, 7 sacks, 1 interception, 5 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 fumble returned for a touchdown).
Roberts verbally committed to Illinois on 6/13/13, and he has been outspoken about his allegiance ever since. He chose the Illini over offers from Air Force, Army, Central Michigan, Columbia, EIU, Illinois State, Harvard, North Dakota, Penn, SDSU, Yale, and Wyoming. He also had interest from Iowa State, Minnesota, North Dakota State, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, and Wisconsin.
Here is the list of accolades he received his last 2 years of high school.
- 3 Star recruit by 247Sports / 2 Star Recruit by Rivals and Scout
- 1st Team All State as a Junior by WFCA
- AP Honorable Mention All State
- 2012 WFCA 1st Team All Region
- 2012 Leader Telegram 1st Team All-Northwest Wisconsin
- 2012 1st Team Big Rivers All-Conference
I had a chance to catch up with Mr. Roberts and asked him a couple of questions which he was gracious enough to answer:
RK: How’s the knee?
AR: “My knee is doing really well! It’s been just over 4 months since surgery and I am still not yet at 100% but I am well ahead of schedule and it’s been getting better every day.”
RK: What intrigued you / helped you decide Illinois was the right fit for you?
AR: “I feel like God really guided me and directed me to Illinois. I had a great camp last June, and immediately got a great feeling about the U of I. After being offered I started talking with the coaches and realized what a great program they were building and saw a great opportunity for myself. When I went on my visit on the 13th I felt it right away. Walking on campus I knew it was the place I wanted to be and felt it in my heart. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and the reason that I did so well at camp and felt it in my heart while on campus was a message from God telling me that this is where I belong. I’m so glad that I committed and can’t wait to make it official on Wednesday!”
Welcome aboard Austin Roberts! First of all, get totally healthy, and then when that’s taken care of we will look forward to watching you grow, and improve, as a player over the next four years in the Illini uniform.
You can follow Ryan on Twitter @RPKraemer.