Demetris Robertson made headlines today. The nation’s No. 1 wide receiver for 2016 finally signed with that school in California he’s liked all along.
His choice was Cal. Not Stanford. He also signed a financial aid form. Not a letter of intent.
Cal is bound to him, but the 5-star can go anywhere. A family source also told DawgNation that Robertson has also signed the same grant-in-aid forms with Georgia Tech. It allows those schools unlimited contact with him.
He didn’t sign anywhere on National Signing Day and now he’s signed with two schools. Yet his recruiting is far from over. That’s right about par for this course.
Robertson still plans an official visit to UGA on March 18. There are still three big selling points to Athens. Count on him to continue trying to add an approximate 50 points to his SAT score. That unlocks the chance to enroll at Stanford. That’s the school he’s long favored.
Maybe he will sign more financial aid papers with Notre Dame. The Savannah Christian standout originally committed to Alabama. That is where he would go without question if his decision was just about football.
But that’s like saying folks travel to Savannah just to see Tybee Island. Robertson’s decision is all about an academic platform. The football stuff is just the wrapping paper.
Does all the back-and-forth resemble what he can do on a broken field? It should. Because there’s a lot of ground to cover with his decision.
Is his mother joining him on the UGA visit? She didn’t make the Alabama trip. What about his twin sister? She might be more important than that 18-wheel billboard Notre Dame parked outside his door. How much did the engineering program wow him in Tuscaloosa?
Which way is the nation’s No. 14 overall player leaning this week? Does your school still have a chance?
That’s the first mistake in wrapping the brain around all of this. Robertson will choose HIS school. It could take another three months. Breathe it in. Deal with it. Reporters that cover his decision all feel like traffic cops by now. Or weathermen.
But this is his story.
Robertson has already made two similar life-altering decisions that parallel this one. He grew up in Greenville, Ga., but left for Savannah about 10 years ago.
He went to stay with his older brother. Carlos Robertson was still a college student at Armstrong Atlantic in Savannah, but would become his guardian. His mother and sister remained in Greenville.
Carlos Robertson had played for Roger Howard at Greenville High. Howard was his former high school position coach, but was now an elementary school P.E. teacher in the one-stoplight town below Newnan. Howard sized up Demetris and would soon ask his older brother for a favor.
“He called me up late one night and these were his words ‘You did a lot for me as a player, but I want you to do something for me as a person’ with this,” Carlos Robertson said. “He said ‘I want you to look after your little brother’ and he was only about eight at the time.”
Howard told Carlos his brother was already “a special kid” and “he could already see it.” But his former coach tested him. He wanted him to take Demetris in because it was his little brother. Not because he was a budding athletic prodigy.
Howard knew the older brother’s character and he’d seen that vast athletic ability that Demetris showed in class. He was far above his peers, but Howard did not tell Carlos about that. It took a few “official visits” to Savannah before their mother finally let him go, but she finally did by the time he was in the fifth grade.
Demetris Robertson started his prep career at Savannah Country Day, but would transfer to Savannah Christian. Those two private schools are huge rivals. He had to sit out more than half a season after he transferred from Country Day.
This decision can’t help but parallel those choices. Eliminate risk. Find the school that is the biggest platform for success. Demetris has seen that his success can hinge on the environment he immerses himself in. Finding the right situation has led him to where he is today.
Robertson told me once he’d rather own a million dollar business than play 10 years in the NFL. He also knows he will “ball out” wherever he winds up. He wants to attend the school which will facilitate a grand career whether he is out of football at age 23 or 33.
What will be his finish line? It might be where he shows up on the first day of summer workouts. It will feel like that one last present that was buried beneath all the wrapping paper on Christmas morning. Robertson might enroll at the school of his choice and the college football world won’t be waiting on pins and needles when he does.
The emotional investment from each fan base regarding his decision will have waned by then. Robertson will go to college, make great grades and be a terrific player. His long-and-winding road will be forgotten by the time he makes his first game-winning catch.
Maybe he goes out to California. Will that work out? Maybe he returns to Georgia like Jarvis Jones did.
Those three big selling points are still in play. UGA is the best spot where he can go to school with his twin sister. He can enable a bright future for both of them. She runs track. Robertson also has a strong relationship with a majority of UGA’s signees and goes back a long way with assistant Glenn Schumann and coach Kirby Smart.
I feel he’ll either make the score at Stanford or wind up at UGA or Alabama. That’s seems logical, but the only decision that matters is what makes the most sense to him.
Demetris is already 2-for-2 at that. Wish him luck. Let him chill. He’s doing this his own way and will be playing somewhere this fall. We can all be sure of that.
Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.