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Friday, July 26, 2013
Two schools in play for Tide CB pledge

By Greg Ostendorf

HOOVER, Ala. -- When ESPN 300 cornerback Stephen Roberts (Opelika, Ala./Opelika) committed to Alabama in April, he said he was done taking visits. The in-state star since has backed off that stance, making multiple appearances at Auburn this summer and also looking into a trip to Miami during the season.

Stephen Roberts
CB Stephen Roberts insists he's fully committed to Alabama, but he is expressing interest in Auburn and Miami nonetheless.
“I’m committed fully to Alabama,” Roberts said. “I just want to look at other schools, too -- just Miami and Auburn. That’s the only two.”

The UA staff has expressed its concern to Roberts about potential visits, but they’re not going to prevent him from looking at other schools as long as he ends up with the Crimson Tide. At Auburn, the coaches are hoping to convince him to join his teammate, ESPN 300 tight end Jakell Mitchell.

“They’re just telling me that they want me,” Roberts said. “They want me to play for them and be a part of their defense.”

Opelika head coach Brian Blackmon wants his players to stand by their initial commitment, but he knows he only has so much input in the recruiting process.

“I don’t ever like to see a kid make a commitment and decommit,” Blackmon said. “Unfortunately in the world that we live in, you see a lot of that. [Stephen] has not said one word to me about, ‘Coach I’m thinking about anything one way or another.’ As far as I’m concerned, he’s still solidly committed to the University of Alabama.”

Roberts says his next visit will be to Tuscaloosa once the Tide begin fall camp.

On Thursday, he and his teammates took part in the National Select 7-on-7 tournament. On day one, Opelika finished 5-1-1, due in large part to Roberts and his secondary counterpart Malcolm Buggs, a South Alabama commitment.

“Stephen’s a great football player,” Blackmon said. “We had a couple games out here today where I didn’t think he was focused as much as he should’ve been, but he picked it back up. The last two games, I thought he played exceptionally good. But that’s part of being an athlete. We have high expectations for him, and we’re trying to hold him to a high standard.”