Alabama head coach Nick Saban is used to visiting high-profile recruits at their respective high schools, but he was in for a surprise when he visited Demetris Robertson at Savannah Christian Preparatory School in December 2015.
Saban walked into the school and was led to the art room because Robertson wanted to show the coach his artwork. Surprised, Saban told former Savannah Christian head coach Donald Chumley that was the first time something like that ever happened.
“He’s different,” Chumley said of Robertson. “He’s looking at life differently than most kids I’ve come across. Very mature beyond his years.”
Robertson has had to make a lot of tough decisions in his life. He attended Savannah Country Day School for two years before moving across town to go to Savannah Christian. He sat out eight games his junior year before being able to play and never complained.
He transferred to Georgia in July. Typically, players must sit out a year after transferring, but Robertson was granted a waiver by the NCAA on Aug. 10, making him eligible in 2018.
“I’m excited for Demetris,” head coach Kirby Smart said on Aug. 11. “He’s a great kid and he’s blending in well with our team. He played with toughness and he competes every day.”
Robertson learned a lot of the toughness in high school. Savannah Christian was a triple-option team that primarily ran the ball. Although he was a dynamic receiver and the top recruit at that position in the country, Robertson had to adapt.
Chumley had him work on being a physical player. He embraced his role while still making plays in the offense when he had the ball in his hands.
“He was a special, special kid,” Chumley said. “He made everyone around him better.”
Robertson took his talent to the University of California, Berkeley, in 2016. He recorded 50 catches for 767 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016. He suffered a lower-body injury in 2017 that forced him to sit out all but the first two games of the season.
He announced his decision to transfer to Georgia on July 14. Chumley indicated the decision was a strictly family-oriented one. He’s very close with his family and wanted to be closer to them.
Just over a month later, Robertson is practicing with the Bulldogs in hopes of playing in Georgia’s first game on Sept. 1 against Austin Peay.
“He’s not a ‘stat guy,’” Chumley said. “He’s the kind of a guy that, if he hasn’t already, he’s going to win that team over. Just because of the type of person he is.”
It’s unclear whether or not Robertson actually has won the team over. He seems to be fitting in well with his position group.
“He’s a terrific athlete, anybody that comes to Georgia, we’re going to love them,” senior receiver Terry Godwin said on July 17. “It makes it better for us because we’ve got another weapon.”
On Aug. 11, Smart indicated there are already a lot of talented receivers on Georgia’s roster that are fighting for playing time.
Chumley thinks the situation for Robertson will help him. He primarily has been on teams where he is the number one receiver.
“Not having to do it all ... I think he’s going to thrive,” Chumley said.
Printed with permission from The Red & Black independent student media organization, based in Athens, Georgia. For more UGA sports news, visit www.redandblack.com/sports.