Carmel, Ind., wide receiver Austin Roberts was tidying up his recruitment and taking final visits before a planned late July/early August decision until a brand new offer changed the whole direction of his process.
"While I was on vacation the last couple weeks, my family and I have been talking over certain schools and different aspects," Roberts said. "Certain areas of my recruitment changed, so after talking over everything we decided to go with UCLA."
The choice for UCLA was unforeseen just a week ago because the Bruins had not offered a scholarship. Roberts had been keeping an eye on the program, however, and when they offered late last week he made the quick decision to sign on.
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"They were one of the schools that did not offer, but we anticipated them as a contender if they were to offer," Roberts said. "When they offered it was just like everything really fell into place.
"There are great people there, the coaches had a great plan for how they are going to use me, there are great academics, a lot of my family is out West, so it was almost a 'why not?' situation."
Trips to Alabama and Ohio State had been planned for July, but those were cancelled in the wake of the Bruin's offer. Florida, Miami, Stanford, Louisville and USC were also contenders late in the process.
Roberts makes the commitment to UCLA sight unseen, but his family has plenty of familiarity with the campus and, especially, the coaching staff. His father is current Indianapolis Colts tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts, and his professional connections run deep at UCLA.
"My dad has been there multiple times in the past few years," Roberts said. "My mother has also been there as well.
"The assistant athletic director was with us when my dad was coaching in Cleveland. The receivers coach, Eric Yarber, was the receivers coach in Tampa when we were in Tampa. So, two guys we have known in the past and have a great relationship with are going to be helping me out at UCLA."
At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Roberts could project to wide receiver, H-back or tight end at the college level, and he has played all those roles during his high school career. One of the draws to UCLA was how the Bruins could utilize his skill set in their offensive scheme.
"They are going to use me as their guy who they can put on linebackers for mismatches with speed, and possibly move me out wide for size mismatches with DB's," Roberts said.
"That's definitely the perfect fit for me. My sophomore year, that was how I was utilized at my old high school and when I moved up here they had a need for an outside receiver. I like playing on the inside, working through traffic and making plays in the middle of the field."
The call to the UCLA coaching staff was actually made over the weekend. With a few days to let the decision sink in, Roberts is comfortable with the choice he made.
"I feel a lot better than I envisioned myself," he said. "A month ago I was thinking if I committed would I have any doubts or negative feelings towards it, but I have none whatsoever. My parents are at peace with the decision and I'm just ready to have a great senior campaign."
In Roberts UCLA is getting the nation's No. 170 overall prospect and the top ranked player in the state of Indiana. He has had a great summer on the camp and combine scene, testing in the low 4.5 range for the 40-yard dash on multiple occasions.
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