Q&A with USF commit DJ Roberts

By Rob Sidwell
Florida Scouting Director

Coach Kingston and the new staff at USF continue to impress with there latest commit, 2016 RHP DJ Roberts, from Atlantic Coast High School. DJ is a big physical kid with a very good arm. His fastball is usually 87-91 mph. His slider is inconsistent, but at times a swing and miss pitch at 75-76 mph. He also pitched on the 15U national team in 2013.

This is what DJ had to say about the recruiting process and how he came to choose USF.

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Roberts: I really did not know what to expect with the recruiting process. I was told it could be stressful and fun and it turned out to be an exciting experience for my family and I. Pretty cool to see how many schools are actually interested in my talent.

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Roberts: First I wanted to be close to home; secondly I wanted to make sure the college of choice carried my academic program which is criminal justice. Also from a baseball standpoint, how they were going to develop me and prepare me for the next level. Lastly, how soon I will get to make an impact in the college program.

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Roberts: Yes it played a huge factor in my decision because USF isn’t far from home and I wanted to be close to family.

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Roberts: There was a particular event where I tried out for the 15u USA National Team and ended up making it the summer before my sophomore year. That same summer, I got a call to pitch in front of the University of Florida head coach in his stadium, and that was the year where I feel it turned the corner for me.

PBR: Where did South Florida first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Roberts: They first saw me in a Perfect Game showcase in Fort Myers, Our relationship developed through telephone calls and text messages. They really showed a lot of interest in me by keeping up with my grades and to see how I’m doing in general.

PBR: What do you like most about USF and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Roberts: What I liked about USF is first the coaching staff, and how much interest they showed in me. Also the campus and athletic facilities were beautiful. Lastly where the coaches were at, at a academic standpoint. The key factors in making the decision was first what they had to offer and secondly where the staff was at an academic standpoint.

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Roberts: Other schools were Florida, Florida State, South Carolina and Louisville.

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

Roberts: I can’t really think of anybody I faced in the state of Florida, but I did have the opportunity my freshman year to pitch against Austin Meadows who was a top 15 draft pick in 2012. I struck him out with a 3-2 count on a 87 mph fastball on the outside corner on a very cold day.

PBR: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level?

Roberts: When UCLA began to show serious interest in me during my sophomore year. Also when Florida offered me a scholarship that same year.

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Roberts: Work hard in the classroom, the baseball field and in everyday life. Never give up on what you’re striving for because one day that dream will come true. Also stay humble.

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Roberts: The most memorable moment in my career is making that 15u USA National Team and traveling to Barranquilla, Columbia and winning a gold medal.

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals?

Roberts: I feel like our team will compete for a district championship. My expectations and goals as a team is making it to the playoffs and winning the state championship. Also my goal is to master the mental approach of the game as a pitcher, stay ahead in the pitch count and being the best team player I can be.

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Roberts: I play with the Orlando Scorpions Prime in the summer, and the most memorable experience with them was playing with Brendan Rodgers who’s a potential top 5 draft pick in 2015 and also playing with others who are potential draft picks as well.

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