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PAWTUCKET â€” Itâ€™s a common assumption that you canâ€™t have both brains and brawn. Apparently Davon Robertson didnâ€™t get the memo.
Robertson fits the definition of a student-athlete to a tee. Not only is this senior a two-way football contributor for St. Raphael Academy, but heâ€™s also a success story in the classroom. Blend the two attributes together and itâ€™s little wonder that Robertson is being recruited by some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the area.
â€śIâ€™ve had some great athletes and some great students over the years, but heâ€™s probably as complete a package as any kid Iâ€™ve ever had,â€ť notes SRA head coach Mike Sassi. â€śHe sells himself.â€ť
Need more proof? Robertsonâ€™s current list of choices is more in line with someone whoâ€™s going places, the kind that suggests heâ€™ll be a success in whatever endeavor he chooses once football is through.
â€śFordham, Brown, Holy Cross, Harvard and Bryant,â€ť Robertson rattled off. â€śBryant is the only school thatâ€™s offered me a scholarship so far.â€ť
It should be noted that this conversation took place prior to last weekend, when Robertson went a on a recruiting visit to New Hampshire. For someone who has spent a vast number of weekends this autumn checking out football games on the campuses of potential suitors, the idea of whittling his list of desirable schools down to one is something that at times has bordered on nerve-wracking.
Such a sentiment stems from some schools liking Robertson, who transferred to St. Raphael after spending his freshman and sophomore years at Case High in Swansea, Mass., more for his tight end abilities than as a defensive lineman, or vice versa.
â€śThereâ€™s a part of me that wants to be a tight end because thatâ€™s where Boston College, which is the highest school that was recruiting me pretty hard, saw me as the best fit,â€ť Robertson said. â€śSome schools also like me as a pass rusher, but with Saints, I just canâ€™t go out there and chase the quarterback. I have to stay within the system that the (SRA) coaches map out.
â€śIt doesnâ€™t matter that much, but wherever they find the most potential in me, thatâ€™s where I want to play,â€ť continued Robertson when asked the loaded question regarding his position of preference at the collegiate ranks. â€śI want to max out my potential.â€ť
The colleges that are pursuing Robertson can probably agree that heâ€™s the complete package; all they have to do is checkout the highlight reel heâ€™s compiled on YouTube. Heâ€™s a legitimate 6-foot-4 while packing 232 pounds on his solidly built frame. Watch just a few snaps of Robertson against other high school players and itâ€™s clear why his physical attributes alone make him a desirable commodity.
Letâ€™s begin with his play at tight end. Robertson can clear off the line of scrimmage in such a quick fashion that defenders are forced to adjust on the fly. Heâ€™s too fast for linebackers and much too tall for defensive backs, hence why you often see him catching passes with room to spare. With one game remaining in SRAâ€™s season, Robertson has reeled in 21 balls for 344 yards and three touchdowns.
â€śThereâ€™s a market for tight ends that can both catch and block,â€ť Sassi points out.
Robertson also has a knack for creating mismatches on the defensive side of the ball, his listed measurements making him increasingly tough to throw over when heâ€™s not pursuing the oppositionâ€™s ball carrier. His favorite spot is lining up on the left edge, yet once opposing teams started to make a concentrated effort to divert away from Robertson, Sassi had little choice but to start shifting him along the line. Through all the changes, Robertson went on to register 83 total tackles along with 4.5 sacks.
â€śI think he would be an excellent defensive end at the college level,â€ť said Sassi. â€śHe could be a nine technique, which is someone whoâ€™s more of a pass rusher. He could be a five technique, which is a guy playing right off the tackle. Weak side or strong side, I think he would fit anywhere.â€ť
Robertson started to catch the fancy of recruiters last spring when the reigning all-state performer was named a finalist for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. It bears repeating that the doors heâ€™s been able to open stretches beyond the on-field production and all the football camps he visited over the summer. Sporting a classroom average of 91, Robertson scored over 600 on the math segment of the SAT.
â€śI wouldnâ€™t be looking at Brown or Harvard just because of my football skills,â€ť Robertson said.
Robertson will immediately turn his attention to the hardwood following SRAâ€™s season finale against Johnston Wednesday night. In terms of making an important decision, he expects to continue deliberating through the winter months.
â€śAny decision he makes is one he has to be comfortable with,â€ť Sassi said. â€śRight now heâ€™s leaving his options open.â€ť