Notre Dame offer shocks 2017 recruit Isaiah Robertson

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Isaiah Robertson didn’t think a Notre Dame offer was coming his way.

At least that’s how he understood it.

Before making his second trip of the year to see the Irish, he was under the impression that Notre Dame wasn’t ready to make a push for him with a scholarship offer.

That changed Saturday when he sat down in head coach Brian Kelly’s office with his parents and brother. He made it clear that the Irish wanted him.

“I just went down there to show my mom the place that I liked and everything that I was telling her about,” Robertson said of the reason for his visit. “When they offered me, it was a shock to me really because I wasn’t expecting anything. It was nice.”

It may have simply been a miscommunication. Or maybe Notre Dame’s coaching staff wanted to surprise. Robertson wondered if he was being tested to see if he’d still make the trip if he wasn’t going to receive an offer.

Regardless of the back story, it ended in the best possible way for the 6-foot-2, 185-pound recruit from Naperville (Ill.) Neuqua Valley. The four-star prospect quickly put Notre Dame in his list of top six schools, which he released Tuesday, alongside Iowa, Penn State, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt and Illinois.

Robertson’s recruitment has been mostly as a wide receiver, but in recent weeks some colleges have started to project him as a safety. He played both ways last season for the first time and his junior film has given some coaches a different outlook on him.

Notre Dame hasn’t quite pigeon-holed him in a position yet. Wide receivers coach Mike Denbrock is Robertson’s lead recruiter. He also spent time with defensive backs coach Todd Lyght during his visit. The Irish have yet to land a commitment at either position in the 2017 class.

“I love both positions, and I can play both at a high level,” Robertson said. "It really doesn’t matter to me. Wherever the position coaches feel I can help the team and be the best player I can be is OK with me either way.”

Wisconsin, Penn State and Illinois have also started evaluating Robertson as a safety. Rivals ranks Robertson as the No. 25 wide receiver in the 2017 class. 247Sports slates him 26th.

With two visits to Notre Dame in a four-month span, Robertson is starting to get comfortable with the Irish.

“I already have a good feel for the campus and the facilities,” Robertson said. “The campus is definitely a nice campus to be at. There are a lot of things you can do. The people are nice. It’s always fun to walk around campus. The facilities are definitely top notch, one of the best I’ve seen in the country. They have everything you need to succeed as a player. It’s a good a place to excel your game at.”

Robertson is scheduled to take the ACT this weekend and plans to visit Wisconsin on April 23 and Illinois in the next month or so. With his list of favorites trimmed to six, Robertson said he could see himself making a commitment during the summer.

But he’s in no rush. He’ll take his time to identify his future path.

“One of the main things I look at in a school is that I could be successful off the field if football doesn’t work out,” Robertson said. “I still have a chance to succeed in life in whatever I decide to do without football. I’m looking for a family environment and the chance to win championships and excel my game.”


Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Four-star recruit Isaiah Robertson received a Notre Dame offer during his unofficial visit on April 2, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)