It's every high school athlete's dream to continue his playing career once his high school career comes to an end. Oni Robertson's dream was no different. But unlike the vast majority of kids, Oni's dream came true when he signed scholarship papers with Coahoma Community College Thursday afternoon.
Thursday was a roller-coaster ride for the talented youngster.
"After I woke up I was very excited," said Robertson. "Then, on the way (to Coahoma CC with his parents for a visit) I really got nervous. I was wondering how everything was going to go (when I got there)."
Things couldn't have gone better during the visit.
"I was real happy with the visit and I'm very comfortable with my decision," said Robertson, who chose Coahoma over offers from West Virginia Wesleyan College, Central Christian (KS) College, Liberty (VA) University and strong interest from Centenary(LA) College and Co-Lin Community College. "I guess you can say that I am at peace with my decision. Now, I'm ready to take that next step."
There were several things that impressed him while on his visit.
"I like the (Clarksdale) area," said Robertson. "We got to go around the school. The campus was really clean and they have a lot of good stuff in the Student Union. The bookstore was really nice. And I also got to meet some of my future teammates. They seemed to be real cool. And the (head) coach was really nice."
According to Robertson, it was CCC head coach Kenny Strong who made the biggest impression on him.
"I was really happy how the coach appeared to be a really standup guy," said Robertson. "It wasn't so much any one thing on campus but getting in there and talking to him about baseball and about the competition that I would be having. Talking to him was what got me the most excited. He didn't BS me at all. He told me straight up how it was going to be. He told me that I was going to have to come in and compete."
Robertson was also impressed with the loyalty factor that Coach Strong showed him.
"He showed me the most interest of all of the colleges that recruited me," said Robertson. "That meant a lot to me. When someone shows you that kind of interest you have to give them a chance."
After talking with Coach Strong, Robertson expects to compete for the second base starting position as well as some innings on the mound.
"(Coach Strong) said he's ready for me to come in and step in immediately unless someone comes in and surprises him right off the bat," said Robertson. "He said I'm definitely going to compete for the second base spot and get some innings off of the mound."
Now that he has signed his scholarship papers and will be a Coahoma Community College Tiger, the next step in the process is preparing for college baseball.
"I plan on finishing the season really strong, come out and play hard every day," said Robertson, who is currently hitting .517 with 8 doubles, 4 triples, 2 home runs, 19 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 23 attempts. "Then, as soon as the season is over, I'm heading straight into summer ball. My coach wants to help me face pitchers who throw harder. The fastest that I have probably faced is a pitcher who can throw in the high 80s. We are going to play a lot more games during the summer. And I will definitely get into the weight room more. I'm really going to prepare just like I did in high school, although I'll work a lot harder. I was already working hard but I know I'll have to work even harder (since I'll be playing in college).
"We are also going to get in a lot of work on my pitching, try to get more velocity on my pitches."
While Oni is excited about signing scholarship papers with Coahoma Community College, there are two other people that might be even prouder, his parents, Steve and Dana Robertson.
"Dana and I are extremely proud of Oni and all that he has accomplished," said Steve. "Coach Strong and the rest of the staff at Coahoma made us feel very important to them and that made a big impression on us."
Steve, a regional recruiting analyst for Scout.com/FOXSportsNext, has been on one side of the recruiting process for more than a decade. But he found out that it's a different process when it's one of your own children being recruited.
"You think you have an idea of how things go, but when your child is being the one recruited, things change," said Steve. "You just never know where opportunity is going to come from."
Oni made that opportunity happen thanks to a four-year starting career at Broadmoor High School that has resulted in two 1st-Team All-district selections (likely three after this season), a batting average that has climbed each season from .381 as a sophomore to .400 as a junior and .517 this season. As a pitcher, he has won 4 games this season while striking out 70 in 63 innings. He has completed 6 games.
His next opportunity starts this coming fall when he arrives on the Coahoma Community College campus.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.