Position switch lands Notre Dame offer for DE Auston Robertson
A position switch made an instant impact on Auston Robertson.
Just a few months away from his junior season at Wayne High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., Robertson traded in his wide receiver role for defensive end. College scholarship offers soon followed.
By mid-June, the 6-foot-5, 234-pound prospect claimed offers from Indiana, Toledo and Akron. On June 27, three days after Robertson camped at Notre Dame, the Irish joined the fray.
Robertson wasn’t sure if his performance at Notre Dame would earn an offer, but after he sent the coaching staff his transcripts, he received the good news.
"I didn't do my best, but I did some good things,” Robertson said.
He made the switch to defensive end following the advice from one of his trainers at Athletes With Purpose, an outfit that’s worked with Fort Wayne-to-Notre Dame products Jaylon Smith and Tyler Eifert.
“He said I'm a good receiver, but I could be a better defensive end,” Robertson said. “So I switched to defensive end and went to some camps and received my first offers at the position.”
The idea sounded like a good one to Robertson. He said it wasn’t a hard decision, and the results are hard to argue with.
“I haven't seen anything hard,” Robertson said. “Everything I do is natural. I'm just learning technique and technical stuff like my stance."
Robertson continues to work on adding weight with the hope of playing his junior season at 245 pounds. Maintaining some of the skills learned as a wide receiver could make him into a dynamic pass rusher.
“Being a receiver, we worked on a lot of footwork and speed stuff, so I think that's helped me a lot in switching positions,” Robertson said. “If you're a receiver, you have to have nice hips. Being a defensive end, you have to have nice hips too. That helps a lot.”
Robertson grew up rooting for Notre Dame, and his connection only increased when Smith — with whom Robertson played as a freshman at Bishop Luers — joined the Irish in 2013. He will likely return to Notre Dame in the fall with another 2016 Irish target from Fort Wayne, wide receiver Austin Mack. The two have taken a number of visits together and camped at Notre Dame on the same day in June.
Big Ten schools will get the next look at Robertson as he plans to visit Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan before the end of the month. Then Robertson will shift his focus to putting up big numbers in his junior season.
“My goal is to get 20 sacks,” Robertson said. “I know it's a high number, but I think I can get it."
Watch highlights of Robertson here.
Williams looking elsewhere
Running back target Ty’Son Williams no longer has Notre Dame as a favorite. As reflected by comments made to Irish Illustrated, a member of the Rivals network, the Irish have virtually fallen out of the running.
Williams, a senior-to-be at Sumter (S.C.) Crestwood, had been slated to visit South Bend for the Irish Invasion in June but never made the trip. Now, he’s focusing on a trio of other schools: South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.
“Change of mind. Change of spirit," Williams told Irish Illustrated. "I just want to be closer to home."
Rivals ranks Williams as the No. 32 running back in the 2015 class. 247Sports slates him No. 46 at the position. Both consider him as a three-star prospect.
ND out for WR Newsome
Notre Dame’s stay in 2015 wide receiver Ryan Newsome’s top five was short-lived.
Less than a month after identifying the Irish as one of the top contenders, Newsome took to Twitter to announce Notre Dame’s elimination.
“Notre Dame is no longer apart of my top 5, would like to thank Coach Brian Kelly and the rest of the staff with such a great opportunity,” Newsome wrote Monday night.
Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and UCLA remain in the running for Newsome, a 5-9, 175-pounder from Aledo, Texas.
247Sports slates Newsome as a four-star prospect and the No. 29 wide receiver. Rivals rates him as a three-star prospect and No. 41 at the position.
TJames1@SBTinfo.com | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI