Roberts commits to Austin-Peay

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Marshall County offensive lineman Dave Roberts (77) makes a big block versus Tullahoma.
Tribune photo by Anthony S. Puca

The Tigers great success on the football field over the past four years of head coach Thomas Osteen's tenure in Lewisburg has led to increased recruiting attention for his players.

For the fourth time in just three years, a Tiger player has committed to play DI football with Dave Robertsí pledge to play at Austin Peay despite an offer to play at the FBS level.

"I think they have a good program," Roberts, a three-year starter explained. "They're building a program right now and I want to be a part of that rebuilding process. I want to help them build the new team they're trying to build. They're looking for bigger, stronger guys and I think when I get into college I'll get a feel of what a faster paced game college will be."

The Governors, who compete at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC), have been in the press for all the wrong reasons the past couple of seasons as the Clarksville-based squad has held the nationís longest DI losing streak at 29 games.

That was until two weekends ago when the Governors defeated Morehead State 69-13 in front of a record breaking crowd of over 8,500 fans.

Roberts just happened to be at the game.

"It was exciting to be there," Roberts stated. "The vibe, as soon as you got on the field, you could feel it. You could feel something special was going on. It was nice to witness a 29-game losing streak come to an end."

That decision had to be a large part in helping Roberts, who held offers from Samford and FBS Sun-Belt member Appalachian State, decide to commit to a program with just one win in 30 games.

"I've been to all of those schools and every school tries to impress you with the same thing," Roberts said. "They take you in there and show you a film about what the school's done and all of this. When I went to Austin Peay they didn't show me a film, they talked to me one on one and told me what they were going to build."

"Looking at their coaching staff and the players they've got right now, they've got a good team but they're going to keep getting better."

That change may come sooner than later as Govs coach Will Healy, just 32-years old and a Boyd-Buchanan graduate, signed a Top-50 recruiting class last season which including the number one FCS recruit in former Brentwood Academy quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall, a three-star prospect who turned down numerous FBS offers to play for Healy.

The Govs turned heads in the opener with a tight 26-14 loss to American Athletic Conference member Cincinnati before finally breaking the streak versus Morehead State.

Austin Peay broke a 21-game OVC losing streak the following week versus former Tiger Steven Clemmons team, Murray State 27-7 to push its record to 2-2.

The Tigers have five players in Jay Murphy (UT-Martin), Aaron Medley (Tennessee), Cain McWilliams (MTSU), Jay Howard (Citadel), and Clemmons that are now playing at the DI level along with five others at the DII and NAIA levels.

Defensive end Tavi McLean currently holds five DI offers, running back Kamron Liggett holds a DII offer, and kicker Caleb Estes is receiving a ton of attention from a range of schools and is nationally ranked as a punter.