Signee Profile: Matt Roberts

Signee Profile: Matt Roberts

Inside Carolina profiles UNC's 2010 baseball recruiting class. Today the spotlight is on Matt Roberts, a catcher from Graham (N.C.).

For more on UNC baseball recruiting, visit Inside Carolina's Diamond Heels Forum.
Bio: Roberts was honored last season on the N.C. Baseball Coaches Association All-State Team in addition to being conference player of the year. Perfect Game has him ranked No. 182 nationally for the class of 2010 while Baseball America has him at No. 78. Impact Baseball lists him as the top prospect in North Carolina while Perfect Game has him at No. 3 in the state. He is also a standout student, earning a spot on the Honor Roll.

He received the prestigious honor of being named the captain of the Dirtbags summer team. "It was humbling and I was excited to follow [LSU second baseman Tyler] Hannover and [UNC sophomore infielder] Levi [Michael] - those are some big shoes to fill," Roberts said.

Stats: Roberts batted .409 during his junior season, leading his squad with eight home runs while scoring and driving in 22 runs. His on base percentage was .571 with 25 walks while slugging .712. Roberts high school career totals are a .368 batting average with 14 home runs.

In addition to his work at the plate Roberts did not allow an earned run while on the mound in three appearances, striking out six batters while allowing just one hit in four innings.

Recruitment: "It started at Fort Myers my first year as a sophomore - briefly talking to the coaches here and there - and started to continue to form a relationship and lo and behold that is where I ended up," Roberts recalled. "At first recruiting is hectic, everybody is bombarding you. You get letters, questionnaires then you start narrowing it down and eventually the scholarship offers come down. That is probably what ultimately makes your decision."

Roberts unofficially visited and considered scholarship offers from ECU and NC State and reportedly had offers from all the schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Why Carolina? "I felt really comfortable with the coaching staff and I knew coming in that I have played with a lot of players that have already verbally committed or signed with North Carolina," Roberts said. "I was very comfortable with both Coach Forbes and Jackson. Forbes is really relaxed and chill and Jackson is like 'Action Jackson' - high tempo and ready to go. [North Carolina] is unquestionably top notch - the best program in the nation if not one of the best..."

Scouting Report: The 6-1, 195-pound catcher has a consistent sub-1.9 pop time behind the plate and is an athletic catcher in addition to his strong and accurate throwing arm, with a frame that has room to add weight. Roberts handles a pitching staff in addition to handling defensive positioning on the field. He is capable of switch hitting but predominantly hits from the right side in games. In showcase events he showed power from both sides of the plate.

"He is one of those rare guys that maximize his talent through work ethic," Graham coach Chad Holland said. "He matches his talent with an excellent work ethic. He is going to get the absolute most out of his ability - whichever level that may be either at the college level or professionally. He is one of those kids that has it all."

Coaches Quotes: "First of all he is a leader on and off the field," Holland said. "Very mature player - he is our leader on the field. He is our catcher and takes care of defensive assignments, pitch calling and basically shuts down the opposing team's running game. As a teammate he is one the guys really look up to him but see him as a peer or an equal - they look beyond the accolades that he has received."

Holland believes that Roberts' makeup will make a big difference in the scouts and front office personnel preparing for the next amateur draft. "They need to know a lot more than just your ability level and they are trying to get a feel for what kind of kid he is," the coach said. "They are going to find out that he has just as many great things going for him besides baseball. He is probably going to be drafted pretty highly because of his great makeup off the field. His parents have done a great job with Matt."

Future Plans: "It is nice to have that decision to be made and to have a secondary option but I plan on spending three years on Chapel Hill," stated Roberts about the prospects of being selected in the 2010 MLB Draft. "It is pretty humbling - people liking what they see."

Roberts' strong commitment to North Carolina will likely force a pro team seriously interested in getting his commitment to either draft him very early or prepare a serious offer in order to sway him from his path to Boshamer Stadium.

Roberts is already looking forward to his time in Chapel Hill. "[It's] a great atmosphere, the new stadium is nice as all get out and [they've got] a great track record with the past four years of going to Omaha," Roberts stated. "Hopefully when I get there we will make it another four. My goals are to work hard - I will have two juniors in front of me and another freshman joining me - and hopefully start as a freshman."

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