Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Stephon Robertson, LB James Madison
Right now the NCAA tackle leader is Stephon Robertson the Mike linebacker for James Madison University. He has already registered 71 tackles and is on pace to have over 120 tackles. The tackling machine reminds a lot of former Duke Arthur Moats. A very high motored player who is going to do whatever is asked. Last year he was named CAA Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-CAA at linebacker. Robertson could very well end up with the Buck Buchanan Award this year. If he keeps up this production he could very well be the leading vote getter. Keep an eye on #27 for the Dukes, the kid is a special player.
How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
Only two JMU and University of Delaware
Where did you choose and why?
I chose JMU because it just felt like home to me. Everything felt right and perfect for me. It’s a feeling you really can’t explain to be honest.
What are your goals for your senior year?
Goals are being a great leader which is my first and primary goal. My next goal is to help lead this team to a conference Championship. Personal goals will come as long as my defense line keeps playing the well. They seriously are playing possessed right now which makes my job a lot easier.
Have any scouts met with you, and if so what are they saying?
A couple of scouts have asked me questions. The biggest thing is keep getting better each week and showing improvement. Obviously stuff like weight and fourth will come later. I’m honestly not worried because I have a lot of faith If I train for that stuff, I’ll do well.
At your position, what separates you from the others?
What separates me is my instincts and love for the game. I honestly feel like when people watch me play, they see how fast I am to the ball before the ball it’s snapped. Some say I’m so fast and quick to the ball it’s almost like I know where the ball is going. I just put a lot of time in my craft. With that, I spend a lot of time with my defensive coaches and in the film room. My love for the game comes by playing hard and aggressive. I seriously love this game, it’s my life. I am willing to sacrifice so much for what I do. There are so many kids out there whose football career ends after high school. So I’m fortunate to still be playing the game I love, and it shows in my style of play.
Tell us what you look for when breaking down film?
I look for certain tendencies the O-linemen have that might give plays away. I look at what plays they like to run on certain downs. I also like to know what type of RB I’m facing and what is his vision like what he is seeing on certain run plays whether he is a down hill player or a cut back type of guy.
If you could compare your play to one person in the NFL who would it be?
I honestly would compare it too. London Fletcher. Past guys I feel like Ray Lewis and Sean Taylor. I like to play with a wreck less abandonment or like Ray Lewis would say a controlled Chaos. I’m down hill, a hard hitter, and one thing I like to try and have is a clutch factor. If it’s goal line or third and short, I want to be the guy who is infamous for stopping first downs and touchdowns.
What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest obstacle is people telling me I am to short to play LB. I was told in HS by single A colleges I was too small or not big enough. It’s funny because I’m dealing with the same thing again with NFL. I’m a blue collared type of guy, I work hard for everything I have or got. I won’t be denied an opportunity or quit on my dream. I will find a way, even when people continue to write me off. The best thing I’ve heard that fits me best is I’m humble and hungry.
What system fits your style of play the best?
I mean we play a 4-3 right now, so obviously that fits me best. Having big d linemen to open up space for me. We sometimes play a 3-4 to get an extra coverage guy on the field. I honestly do well in both styles. Even when linemen get to me I have pretty good enough technique to get off the blocks.
What is your biggest strength?
Definitely my instincts and eyes. My coach even says sometimes my eyes are to good and get me out of my gap.
What is your biggest weakness?
I would say my eyes, I know. Well it’s because they are so good that sometimes I will guess on plays and be completely wrong.
If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?
I am first and foremost a team first type of guy. I don’t complain about anything if it means to make the team better. If you put me anywhere on the field, I will be that specific best player and play as hard as I can. I will also be the hardest working player you will get.
Growing up, who was your role model?
My role models on the field were guys like Emmit Smith, Sean Taylor, Derrick Brooks, and Ray Lewis. Off the field it would be my mom, dad, and brother.
Who was your favorite team and player in the NFL and why?
I grew up a Packers fan only because it was the first Super Bowl game I actually remembered watching as a kid. Honestly I know its weird but I don’t watch a lot of football on Sundays in less it’s a playoff game.
If you were to have dinner with three people dead or alive who would it be?
Jesus, MLK Jr, and JFK
With your first paycheck what would you buy?
I would give some back to my mom and dad because they have done so much for me. Then I would bank the rest and upgrade my costco card. So at least then I will never go hungry.