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Family reasons: Why Demetris Robertson is now a Georgia Bulldog

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Demetris Robertson (16) will now play for his homestate Georgia Bulldogs this season.

Demetris Robertson is cleared to play for his home state Georgia Bulldogs.

When he makes an explosive play for the first time this fall, try to resist the urge to tout about 5-stars, a deadlier receiving core and all that.

That surface level interpretation will make the average fan smile, but it misses the mark. Like a walk-on trying to hit that back shoulder throw in the end zone.

Demetris Robertson is now cleared to play for the Georgia Bulldogs this season. (Steven Colquitt/UGA)

The move was simply the best thing for Robertson. With a handful of family health scares popping up over the last few years, it was hard for the talented receiver to focus on his college football career at Cal.

That was how Robertson’s older brother Carlos Robertson broke it down for DawgNation.

It created the hardship behind his transfer and his appeal to the NCAA for immediate eligibility after sitting out all but two games of the 2017 season.

When “D” makes that first big play, there’s a good chance his family will be in the stands. That will be his older brothers Carlos and Mike. Mike Robertson Jr., his talented 3-star nephew in the class of 2020, will also likely be there.

There’s also his twin sister Shanetris, his mother Mildred and the rest of the family to think about.

“That is something to look at and really think about,” Carlos Robertson said. “It would be something. That would be a really good feeling.  You would have family and Mike as another player coming up. That would be something right now because there is a feeling of elation going around the Robertson family.”

The road back to Georgia for Demetris Robertson

The transfer Bulldog loved his time at Cal. He went through spring practice with the Bears earlier this year. He also ran track in the spring of 2017.

His family says he was even swimming along with a 3.2 grade-point average in one of the nation’s top academic schools

“Don’t get me wrong now,” Carlos Robertson said. “Cal was a great institution. They did a lot of great things for ‘D’ and took good care of him as a student. He did wonderful things in the classroom. It was kind of hard to improve on Cal’s stature academically but he left there in great standing with a great 3.3 or a 3.4 grade-point average with that great university.”

“But it was one of those things. If Cal was in our backyard, then we’d still be there.”

Sanford Stadium will now be in that backyard. With health problems popping up for his 60-year-old mother, it did create the hardship behind Robertson’s NCAA appeal.

Demetris needed the peace of mind that comes with coming home, his brother says.

“There’s a thing called circumstances,” Carlos Robertson said. “With him being so far away and things going on with our Mom of course.”

Demetris Robertson was named to the AJC’s “Super 11” prior to his senior season at Savannah Christian back in 2015. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

His mother, Mildred, lives in Greenville. Her Meriwether County home is about 55 miles south of Atlanta.

Without going into great detail, she has had a few scares of late.

“This was really about him needing to be in a good state of mind,” Carlos Robertson said. “This was not really about football because this was about him being here. Being a little bit closer. Near family and all that. It brought all of that into perspective for him when he was that far away. Things can get out of your control when you are that far away.”

Robertson said their mother has “good days and bad days.” He has also seen two of his uncles pass away months apart from one another.

Carlos said Demetris made the decision he needed to transfer a couple of months ago.

“There are a few things,” Carlos Robertson said. “His mother is getting a little bit older. Her health is failing her in a few areas and things of that nature. Like also before that, we’ve also seen a couple of our uncles that have died right before that. They are all close in age. All of that draws perspective. You know what I am saying? They were all so close.”

“Now you start to look at it and see that an uncle died and another uncle died which were months apart. Those were his Mom’s brothers and all that. Then now you look at Mom and you are like ‘Okay, what do I do’ and looking at the circumstance with her having a few issues he just had to come back and be closer to her.”

There’s an age gap between the Robertson children. Carlos and Mike are grown men and they are the heads of their households. They have their own children. Both work and have worked in education.

Demetris, 21, is still just going to college.

“I think mentally he is in a good place now,” Carlos Robertson said. “Knowing that he’s home and he’s near everybody.”

His twin sister, Shanetris, attends Gordon State College off I-75 in Barnesville on the way to Macon. His brothers and their families are in Savannah.

Demetris Robertson (left) went to live with his older brother Carlos in Savannah approximately 12 years ago before he enrolled at Cal. (Michael Carvell / AJC)

What if more bad days come up? Carlos was worried about how his brother would shoulder that three time zones away.

“I especially thought about it from a mental health standpoint,” he said. “I didn’t want to think about him trying to do things being so far away and he wouldn’t be able to concentrate. Really I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.”

When he knew he had to transfer from Cal, there was only one choice. It was the one that would be closest to his mother and his family.

Family reaction to the waiver appeal

The news that came down on Friday was well-received.

“We’re elated,” Carlos Robertson said. “Given the fact that number one the last year [at Cal] he sat out due to a lower extremity injury and all that. That was all pretty much taken away from him. It was good for him to get that thrill back and get back into the swing of things. I think from that standpoint alone you have to be kind of elated for it to see him get back going and into the groove of things. Looking at it from that standpoint, I think it is very good for him.”

That injury has been described as a “lower body injury” and a “sports hernia” in various reports.

“That’s about as specific as it needs to be right there,” Carlos Robertson said. “A lower body injury. We will keep it at that.”

The highlight clips Demetris shared on social media prior to his transfer to verify he was all the way back from that injury.

“He’s hungry,” Carlos Robertson said. “He’s practicing and he’s healthy. Just ready to go and get after it. This news right here [the appeal being granted] just adds more fuel to his fire.”

DawgNation has learned Robertson was able to make an impact on the first scrimmage of fall camp.

What if he had not won that appeal?

“Him being a competitor and the type of guy that he is having to do it one time [sit out all but two games in 2017] and then have to come back and do it again I don’t think it would have impacted him a whole whole lot but from a competitive standpoint he wanted to get out there and get going.”

“I think having to sit out two years in a year would have really gotten to him more than just a tad. But here we are now. The decision has come down and we are ready to perform.”

Local support system no longer needed by Demetris Robertson

When Robertson moved out to go to school at Cal two summers ago, his older brother went with him. He’s in Athens now, but his older sibling no longer sees the need to be right there.

Carlos has moved back to Savannah. He’s also letting his younger brother do his thing.

Demetris Robertson chose Cal back on May 1, 2016, from a ceremony at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Ga.. (Cox Media Group file photo)

“When he’s locked and loaded for camp I don’t bother him too much,” Carlos Robertson said. “They are on a busy schedule. They are very very busy but I am hearing good things. I just don’t try to bother him and we will come together and talk after all of that.”

Robertson believes his younger brother is already more than two-thirds of the way toward his undergraduate degree.

“I think a successful year for ‘D’ is just getting back out there,” Carlos Robertson said. “We’ll start from there. Getting back out there and getting into the groove. First and foremost, it will be getting back into the classroom. He’ll have a great mind frame and a clear mind knowing he is close to Mom and close to things now.”

Football won’t be the toughest adjustment. Robertson has always been able to handle that well.

“This football stuff is not going to last forever,” Robertson said. “I look at it this way: You can only stand on and stay on top of a ball for so long and you will eventually fall off. But if you stand on top of a book, then you can stand on top of that for forever.”

Robertson will be draft eligible after the 2018 season in Athens. It sounds like no matter what he does on the field, his support system will urge him to get that degree.

A misconception about Demetris Robertson to Cal

Carlos Robertson was asked to look back on his younger brother’s initial decision to go to Cal. Does he think the former 5-star would go back to Cal if he had to make this choice all over again?

Transfer Demetris Robertson has been cleared to play for the Bulldogs this season. (Cal Athletics)

It is one of those dangerous hypotheticals, but his two answers on that topic reveal something about made in June of 2016.

For starters, Robertson said he can’t speak for his brother on what he would do if he had to revisit that decision.

“That’s something that he will probably have to answer,” Carlos Robertson said.

But he would never have advised against him choosing Georgia. The Cal decision was one made entirely by Robertson.

It was his life. That’s how his brothers wanted him to make that choice.

Carlos said he would have felt very comfortable with his brother choosing Georgia coming out of Savannah Christian. Kirby Smart is a big reason why. The Georgia coach still impresses him.

“I never doubted Georgia being this successful this fast,” Carlos Robertson said. “The reason I say that is because I’ve known Kirby now for about six or seven years. Going back to ‘Ds’ ninth grade year. I also know coach [Glenn] Schumman to be one hell of a coach. I think one day in the next five or seven years he might even be a head coach. Knowing him. Good young coach. Good guy. They do it the right way and know how to develop guys. If I had my pick of the litter coming out of high school, I would probably be there at Georgia, too. To be honest.”

“I am not surprised at all that they have turned it around so quickly at Georgia.”

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