Jumanne Robertson is the first to admit that his being a part of Utah State football is a pretty big deal.
The senior cornerback from Phoenix, Ariz., took awhile to get settled in his college football career. After graduating from Deer Valley (Ariz.) High School, he spent a year playing at Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher. After his freshman season, he moved back to Phoenix to play at Phoenix College.
“From high school I definitely bounced around a little bit from different junior colleges,” Robertson said. “I played my freshman year at Eastern, but when things didn’t work out I transferred up to Phoenix College and did the rest of my time there before coming to Utah State.”
But getting to Logan wasn’t easy.
“It took a lot of work for him to get here with finishing school and doing a lot of classes during that summer,” cornerbacks coach Kendrick Shaver said. “But he got it done.”
He isn’t kidding when he says Robertson had to finish a lot of classes. His determination was set high enough that he completed and passed 33 credit hours in a single semester.
“I shouldn’t even be here,” Robertson said. “It was truly a miracle to get those credits done and get here. It’s a blessing for sure.”
Miracle or not, Robertson’s presence at Utah State is noticed among the players and staff. He came into the program ready to go, instantly becoming a solid part of the secondary.
As a junior in 2011, Robertson saw action in each of the season’s 13 games while starting 10 times. Robertson was the team leader in pass breakups with 12. That number left him tied for the fourth-most in the Western Athletic Conference, while his 0.92 passes defended per game ranked tied for seventh in the league and tied for 55th in the nation. He ended the year placing third among defensive backs and fifth on the team in total tackles with 48, with a career-high eight coming in the Nevada game.
“He brings speed and size to the corner spot,” Shaver said. “He’s right near six feet so he can run and he’s got long arms. Anytime you can have a long-armed, tall corner, you take it.”
That success was something Robertson was used to, seeing similar statistics at both the junior college and high school levels.
At Phoenix College, he finished with 25 tackles, one of which was for loss, along with one interception and one pass breakup in the season’s eight games. In his high school days, he earned first-team all-region, as well as first-team all-state honors, after racking up 89 tackles and three interceptions as a senior.
In case those kind of statistics weren’t enough, Robertson also lettered in track and field at Deer Valley High School, competing in the short sprints, long jump, triple jump and high jump. He qualified for the regional meet in each of his events and advanced to the 5A-II Arizona state championships in the long jump and triple jump.
Though he didn’t start playing football until the eighth grade, Robertson said he learned quickly what he needed to do to be successful and the discipline that came with the game.
“Since I was a kid I wanted to play games on TV, and now I’m playing against guys I always admired,” Robertson said. “Discipline and leadership come from playing football. I didn’t play [many] sports growing up, but once I got going I started really learning discipline.”
That discipline and devotion are helping Robertson lead by example as one of the senior Aggies.
“My job is to look at the young guys and set a good example both on and off the field,” Robertson said.
On top of that, Robertson looks to be flexible and willing to do whatever the coaching staff asks of him.
“I just have to do my job whatever it is – if I’m starting or if I’m not, if I’m on special teams, if I need to help out the guy in front of me,” Robertson said. “I just need to fulfill my role so we can keep going on and keep being successful.”
As the team continues to build on the best start since 1982, Robertson is realizing how quickly the end of his collegiate career is coming to an end. He intends to make the most out of each day of practice and the remaining five games. He wants to do whatever it takes to be remembered.
“My goal is just to do the best I can every game,” Robertson said. “It’s a goal of mine to make a big play every game, no matter when it is. I want to make a big play that people will remember.”
Robertson’s work does not go unnoticed by the Aggie coaching staff.
“Jumanne is a hard worker. He’s a very independent young man, so he can come off as quiet and sometimes almost has a mean look on his face, but once you get to know him he’s a funny guy,” Shaver said. “It’s a pleasure to coach him and it’s great to have him around.”
Robertson will graduate from Utah State in May with a degree in sociology. He is currently doing an internship at Logan High School in school counseling and will pursue that as a career when his football days are over. He intends to participate in a Pro Day with the hope of continuing his career but says he is ready to accept whatever future lies ahead.
“What’s up next is in God’s hands,” Robertson said.
Robertson is grateful for his “miraculous” opportunity to have been a part of Utah State football.
“The time here is short. It’s real short. So take advantage of it, even the days where you don’t want to come out, you have to be a man about it,” Robertson said. “Take advantage of the days you have.”
Megan Allen writes for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.