Once Tennessee football came calling, it was an easy decision for Nathan Roberts. Scott Altizer was able to attend all of Roberts’ games, becoming familiar with the wide receiver.
He passed up an offer from NCAA Division II school Carson Newman, as well as interest from Mercer to accept a preferred walk-on spot with Tennessee.
“After Tennessee showed interest in me it was an amazing feeling, and I saw it as an opportunity to play D1 which was a dream of mine,” Roberts told Off The Hook on Wednesday.
Being born and raised in East Tennessee means that wearing the Orange and White is a dream come true for Roberts. Roberts attended Morristown-East High School in Morristown.
“Being able to play this level of football this close to my hometown is a great feeling,” he said. “I love East Tennessee and I’ve lived here all my life so I look forward to staying here.”
This past season was Roberts’ first at wide receiver. After playing safety for most of his high school career, Roberts caught 32 passes for 681 yards and five touchdowns.
The senior season caught Tennessee’s eye, earning himself an invite to the Vols’ junior day this past weekend.
“I loved seeing the locker rooms and indoor and the treatment from coaches and staff was great,” Roberts said. “The school really speaks for itself once you’re there and you get a feel of the environment. The best part was walking into Neyland with no one there.”
The junior day also gave Robert the chance to meet Tennessee football head coach Josh Heupel. The meeting lived up to the hype, according to Roberts.
“As an outsider looking in you can see what he has done for the program but talking to him personally and meeting him puts it in perspective how legit he is,” Roberts said. “He’s a team-oriented leader and it was proven this past year.”
At 6-foot-4 and 194-pounds, Roberts could also end up at tight end for Tennessee football. Regardless, he gives the Vols an additional versatile athlete that can provide depth.
Roberts isn’t worried about where he’s going to end up. He just wants to work hard and do whatever he can to help the team he grew up watching.
“I want to be a hard worker and a great teammate,” Roberts said. “I look forward to the relationships I will make and the impact that this experience will have in my life. I want to be the best at what I do for UT.”