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Thursday, June 20, 2013
ESPN 300 WR has five schools in mind

By Jared Shanker

Carmel (Ind.) High School receiver Austin Roberts has already been to USC. So when he visits in July, it will be a return trip.

The difference, though, is Roberts was a freshman when he first visited Los Angeles and was not being recruited by the Trojans. When he arrives July 5, he will do so with a USC offer.

“Now it’ll be reversed,” the ESPN 300 recruit and No. 21 receiver said. “I’ve always been a USC fan growing up. I grew up loving the tradition around the program, always loved the school being in L.A., and I’m also excited to see the new football building.

The four-star prospect was planning to visit Ohio State this weekend -- another return trip -- but he and his family decided to postpone his Buckeyes visit. The No. 166 player in the country will now visit Ohio State after he visits USC. It could be the last visit for the 6-foot-2, 217-pound receiver.

Roberts visited Ohio State’s campus once before, and then he made the short trip to Cincinnati in April for the Buckeyes’ spring game, which was held in the Queen City.

“I definitely want to sit down with the coaches and get an idea of how they would use me in the offense and get a better look at the campus,” Roberts said. “For Ohio State I could play H-back but also move out wide and all around to create mismatches.”

A decision will likely come sometime soon after his Ohio State visit, but Roberts would not fully commit to making a verbal pledge following his Buckeyes visit.

While the Buckeyes and Trojans look to be in the best position for Roberts, he said he is not excluding Alabama, Florida or Miami from his list of schools.

The Crimson Tide are one of Roberts’ more recent offers, and he raved about the program Nick Saban is running in Tuscaloosa.

“They’re a football powerhouse at the moment,” he said. “Everything about them -- how they run their offense, defense and the quality of players -- is top notch. If you’re a recruit, you’re going for a homer to play college football at Alabama.”

Fellow ESPN 300 receiver Derek Kief (Cincinnati/LaSalle) just committed to the Tide earlier this week, but Roberts said that has no effect on his recruitment.

Florida and Miami have been on Roberts for quite some time, as he lived in Tampa before moving to Carmel this past year. Roberts’ dad is the tight ends coach for the Indianapolis Colts after previously coaching for the Buccaneers under Raheem Morris.

He will not visit either Florida school again before a decision, but he said he knows enough about each program that there is little reason to fly back to the Sunshine State to see the Gators and Hurricanes.

The Gators were one of the early favorites for Roberts, who has connected well with tight ends coach Derek Lewis.

“They’re recruiting me as a tight end, I definitely did like Lewis,” Roberts said. “The energy he brings, he’s the hype man. There is a lot to like about Florida.”