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May 14, 2019 GMT

ONA — J.J. Roberts figures when Wake Forest University was founded in 1833, God already had a spot for him there.

The Cabell Midland High School junior defensive back last week committed to play for the Demon Deacons, choosing the Atlantic Coast Conference school over offers from Air Force, Army, Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, Indiana State, Miami (Ohio) and Rutgers. His final two schools were Wake Forest and Miami (Ohio).

“After my fourth visit there, I talked with coach (Dave) Clawson and he told me their thoughts about me,” Roberts said. “He said early on I could be a contender to play. I told him I’d pray and think about it. The next morning, I felt 100 percent sure.”


Roberts said his talk with God was reassuring.

“Without God, I wouldn’t have this opportunity,” said Roberts, who also credited parents B.J. and Tosha, as well as his uncle Bradley, and Knights defensive backs coach T.J. Carper for influencing him on and off the field. “Without Him, this wouldn’t be possible. He gave me the athletic ability to play football.”

Roberts said he plans to major in sports medicine, with a potential goal of working in physical therapy.

A quarterback as a freshman, Roberts moved to cornerback as a sophomore and immediately played.

“Coach T.J. (Carper) came and told me they needed me on defense,” Roberts said. “I wasn’t happy at first, but I said I’d do it. It worked out. I wouldn’t know what I was doing if not for him. He taught me how to be a defensive back.”

Roberts said he looks forward to playing at Wake Forest’s 31,500-seat BB&T Field.

“Wake is the best fit for me,” Roberts said. “Miami is close by, but Wake is just an outstanding place. I love the facilities there.”