Bryce Robertson only had one interception coming into his Senior year at Bucknell. But after his nation leading 13 interception season he was named FCS All-American by the Associated Press, The Sports Network, Walter Camp Football, and Phil Steele. Robertson ended up being tied with star sophomore David Amerson who had 2 picks in his bowl game to share the lead. Along with Bryce’s 13 picks, he also added 39 tackles, and was tied for first with a team-high 6 pass breakups. The 5-9 corner only needed one more interception to tie Rashean Mathis (Bethune Cookman) for the FCS single season record of 14.
The Bucknell Bison defense forced an FCS-high 39 turnovers along with a nation’s best +2.45 turnover margin, that was lead by no other than Bryce Robertson and company. 9 of Bryce’s 13 picks came on the road, and he was a huge part of the Bison’s 6-5 record; a huge turnaround from there one win season in 2010.
Robertson now faces an uphill battle going into the NFL Draft. Since 2000 only 16 FCS cornerbacks have been drafted in the first 3 rounds, and only two of them have been successful in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and as mentioned earlier Rashean Mathis. Robertson is a much different player than those guys, but he plays just as hard and definitely makes up for his size in many different ways.
Luckily I had the opportunity to talk to the star corner about his stellar year and his preparations for the combine and draft day:
S: If I told you that you were going to be named FCS All-American by 4 different organizations what would you have said back to me? Was this year a surprise to you?
B: It would’ve been fine I would think. I would say it would’ve been a surprise just because the type of player I am. I don’t do everything I can to stand out; I just do whatever I can to benefit the team.
S: You’ve only had one pick before this year, what did you do to significantly improve and have 13 this year?
B: I think just coming up and working hard in the offseason. The coaches had me on a very strict schedule to prepare me for the year. And the coaches that came in with an excellent scheme, and they definitely changed things. Basically they put me in a position where I could just play, I can be comfortable, and show off my ball skills. Every game I pushed the same work ethic, and just watching film I saw a lot of opportunities to capitalize on. And in practice I just worked hard and tried to make plays that could translate in the actual game.
S: What makes you better than all the other corners in the patriot league?
B: Everybody’s smart but my upbringing is what sets me apart from everybody else. I used to play soccer, soccer was my first love, and it helped make me good at transitions and that stuff. Another aspect is I only played football for 2 years in high school a lot of people don’t know that. Junior year I played receiver and got the ball a lot and made plays, and Senior year they needed help on defense. And it didn’t matter what I played because I was with friends and just love football. I played safety and had 7 or 8 interceptions that season.
S: Whose the best quarterback you’ve faced, and who’s the best wide receivers you’ve gone up against?
B: Best QB- Chris Lum, the Lehigh QB. He threw no interceptions against us, and that was only one out two games I didn’t have an interception this season. And against me he was pretty good at looking me off and giving no subtle keys for me to get an opportunity to make a big play.
Best WR’s- I would say the Duquesne receivers were pretty good; they were pretty athletic and pretty fast.
S: What other schools recruited you?
B: My main thing wasn’t going to a big school and concentrating on football. I was really concentrating on getting a great education and preparing for the future. So I sent out tapes to academic schools, like the Bucknell’s, Holy Cross’, and Depaul’s. Overall Bucknell was the right choice because I wanted to play Football at a D1 level.
S: If you could compare yourself to any NFL corner right now who would it be and why?
B: I would compare myself to Brent Grimes from the Atlanta Falcons. In the sense that we’re roughly the same size, we have similar stats as far as tackle wise coming out of college, and we both come from small schools. We’re tough, and that we play bigger than what we really are. I think the effort he brings to the game is similar to mine, and like myself he also had to prove himself.
S: So what do you think you’re going to do, MBA or NFL or both?
B: I think both; football isn’t always [a] promise. I’d think I’d do well in the workforce even if I didn’t go to NFL.
S: What’s your 40 time right now? What do you think your 40 time needs to be at the combine?
B: I haven’t been clocked for an official 40 time in a while so I don’t know right now. I think as long as I can get a 4.5 that should be to get a look. All I need is that opportunity, I’d do my best to work hard and do my best.
S: This is one of the deepest drafts at corner where do you think you rank with Claiborne, Hayward, and Jenkins etc.
B: I think I’d put myself up there, I mean I’m confident in my abilities to play corner. I think just because I’m coming form a smaller school I don’t get exposure like the LSU’s and Alabama’s, but I’d definitely say skill wise I can compete with those guys.
S: Where do you see yourself getting drafted?
B: A lot of the media has me going in the later rounds or undrafted free agent, but to me it doesn’t matter. Just making it would be a big deal for me. I really try not to buy into everything on the internet and all that stuff. Whatever happens I really thank God for all the opportunities he has blessed me with and allowing me to be in the position I’m in now.
S: What are you doing to get ready for the combine?
B: My strength and conditioning coach is helping out me along with Sean Raffrerty, Josh Eden, Robert De La Rosa and some of the other guys. And he’s really preparing us with special workouts, mainly combine specific drills. So come combine, come pro day, were ready and already used to doing them.
S: What have scouts or coaches personally said you need to improve on to make the NFL?
B: Basically they tell me general stuff like what scouts look for on pro day. They say 40 times is one of the most important things and to work on that, and build up speed. One of the most important things they’ve told me is that scouts look at hips and how well you transition. They also said to be prepared for all the drills like the broad jump and vertical for explosiveness.
S: You’re a bit undersized (not compared to me) how do you make up for it against larger NFL receivers?
B: I think I have an advantage with my film studies. I look for clues on receivers. I look for moves for when they’re trying to go deep. I’m smart and have good awareness, so I know what teams are more likely to do on certain downs and situations. I also look at a lot of pre snap moves, like what formation they’re in and where the receiver is lined up so I can tell what type of route they’ll do.
S: Alright here’s just some fun questions… I know you’re a big Saints fan but now that they’re out whose going to win the Superbowl?
I actually think the Giants might take it, although they kind of hobbled into playoffs, they’ve came out played strong in their two games especially taking out green bay Packers. They showed a lot of character, they showed a lot of unity, and they showed how tough they are. I think they might have what it takes. In football it’s not necessarily the strongest or fastest that’s going to get the edge but it’s someone who devotes their heart. I think Giants want it more in their heart, more than anybody else in the playoffs right now.
S: At Chipotle do you get a bowl or burrito?
B: I don’t get chipotle I’m sorry.
S: I ask everybody this just because you never know, but are you famous and controversial graffiti artist Banksy?
B: Umm I don’t know him.
S: Since this is called Taking Bad Schotz what’s your favorite alcohol to take shots of?
B: I don’t drink especially because of football at the collegiate level, I try to take care of my body and get any advantage I can.
I also had the chance to talk to Colgate receiver Ryne Morrison about his thoughts on Bryce Robertson. He told me that “Watching him on film was impressive, he’s very disciplined, never out of position, and is always where he needs to be…his numbers speak for themselves and he would be a difference maker on any team in our league”.
After talking with Bryce, I have even more reason to root for him on Draft Day. He was appreciative, well spoken, and simply a cool guy. I wish him all the best and hope he gets that opportunity to prove himself and ultimately play on Sundays.
I have to admit, I was a little upset that he’s never gotten Chipotle, and a bit more disappointed that he denied he was Banksy.
Here’s a look at Bryce’s highlight film, lets all hope we see his name in the 2012 NFL Draft.
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