Film Study: Notre Dame S commit Isaiah Robertson

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

S Isaiah Robertson, 6-2, 190; Naperville (Ill.) Neuqua Valley.

The numbers: Robertson caught 50 passes for 803 yards and nine touchdowns and tallied 81 tackles and four interceptions in his junior season at Neuqua Valley. The Wildcats (7-4) lost to Waubonsie Valley in the second round of the IHSA Class 8A playoffs.

The rankings: 247Sports – Four stars, No. 21 safety. Rivals – Four stars, No. 19 athlete.


First impression: Robertson is a two-way threat at wide receiver and safety. While his future will likely come on defense, he might be as good of a receiver as Notre Dame’s two commits in the 2017 class. At safety, Robertson is a ball hawk looking to end drives.

Strengths: Robertson makes plays. Whether it’s on offense or defense, Robertson has a knack for the big moment. As a receiver, Robertson spots the ball well in the air and isn’t afraid to make catches in traffic. Those skills should help him at safety. In limited viewing, Robertson doesn’t shy away from making a big hit on defense and has a natural knack for reading the quarterback.

Proof of prowess: (1:36) Robertson follows the quarterback's vision and anticipates a throw in the direction of the three receivers to his right. He cuts in between the two closest two him and snags an interception. Robertson returns it for a touchdown and only has to make the quarterback miss him near the goal line … (2:08) Robertson adjusts to an underthrown pass and makes the catch between two defenders. He maneuvers around the defensive back running with him to make a catch between his legs while airborne … (4:45) Robertson flies down from his safety position and prevents the running back from turning the corner. His solid tackle turns a potentially long run into a minimal gain.

Competition level: Illinois produced a talented crop of players in the 2016 class, but most of those top players didn’t play against Robertson. He did have to defend Iowa wide receiver signee Emmanuel Rugamba and kept him out of the end zone. Neuqua Valley’s schedule included four of the top 35 teams in the state according to MaxPreps.

Left to prove: There is little safety footage to dissect of Robertson on the highlight reel. With only eight plays shown, it’s hard to determine how reliable and consistent Robertson’s play at the position is, and safety requires both. While he’s shown he can make big plays, preventing them is equally important. His open field speed may be an issue. While playing receiver, he’s often getting chased down on longer plays and has to make someone miss. Maybe Robertson is faster without the ball in his hands. He’ll need to rely on technique and speed on defense rather than being elusive.

Notre Dame safety commit Isaiah Robertson watches the Irish Invasion in Notre Dame Stadium. (Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA)