LAURINBURG, N.C. - After tearing his ACL before the start of his team's third game and being sidelined for most of the 2005 season, defensive end Travian Robertson from Scotland County High is ready to make the most of his return and his recovery has caused the pursuit of his considerable talents to heat up.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder has the size, speed and football instincts to be one of the top recruits in the Tar Heel State this year.
One look at his film and you see a pass-rushing specialist who has great instincts in terms of getting into the opposing backfield.
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"I love rushing," he said. "That's what I do is rush. But sometimes I will stay on my block and try to stop the run.
"But the one thing I love to do is hit the quarterback."
When he got hurt, he had three sacks and 15 tackles. Though he was sidelined, he continued to try and show leadership.
"I try to be a leader, but it's hard when you got seniors above you," he said. "I try to keep everyone focused.
"It was killing me to see them lose a game, but when they won one, it was all right. I couldn't be a part of the wins or the losses. It was tough at first, but it ended up all right."
In recent recruiting updates, Robertson has mentioned North Carolina, N.C. State and South Carolina (his three scholarship offers) as his favorites.
With regards to the Gamecocks and Tar Heels, there are some interesting connections.
In Chapel Hill, several of Robertson's former teammates at Scotland County, are current UNC players. Plus, the Tar Heels were the first school to offer him a scholarship.
"With my teammates being at UNC, it helps because they give me a lot of information about what's going on," he said. "Instead of just telling me about the football program, they tell me about the classes and the fun stuff they get to do all the times and stuff."
That scholarship, at least in part, came by way of former North Carolina recruiting coordinator Brad Lawing, who is now the defensive line coach at South Carolina.
"I was so used to talking to him from (North) Carolina, but then he switched over and I get an offer (from South Carolina) the week before he switched over," Robertson said. "But he's real cool, so I don't have any problems talking to him from South Carolina.
"Everything's going real smooth now. I've talked to him twice since he's been gone."
It has been speculated that Robertson nearly committed to the Tar Heels before Lawing headed to Columbia.
N.C. State has been a fixture in Robertson's top three. Greg Williams is the recruiter-of-record for the Pack and the school's recent success putting out defensive linemen has to be a drawing point.
Another school that has been coming on strong is Florida. The Gators, who signed the top two prospects from North Carolina in the class of 2006, have not offered, but Robertson has been hearing from them and is interesting in checking them out.
"I'm planning on going down to Florida during spring break and checking them out," he said. "I've never been to Florida before, so I am very interested in going down there and seeing them."
Clemson, led by the efforts of assistant coach Billy Napier, Virginia Tech and Tennessee also have been involved.
The recent attention has drawn the out-of-state schools closer to those within the North Carolina borders.
"Staying in-state really doesn't matter right now," Robertson said. "At first it did, but now it doesn't because I want to see more. I'm going to see more schools and check them out. In-state, out-of-state, it really doesn't matter."
Robertson was planning on majoring in engineering at the next level, but has re-considered that option because of the time constraints of the academic major and being a Division I-A football player.
"I will probably do environmental stuff," he said. "I'm undecided right now, but it won't be engineering, I can tell you that."
In terms of a decision timetable, Robertson is not ruling out an early decision, but he's not necessarily planning on making one.
"If I see something that is very interesting about a certain school, I may go ahead and commit," Robertson said. "If not, I will wait."
Robertson plans to attend the Clemson NIKE Camp on May 21.