American Fork • Chase Roberts didn’t cause much of a stir when he committed to play football for BYU in June of 2017, partly because he had only completed his sophomore year at American Fork High as a standout basketball and football player.
But the lack of hype could also be attributed to familiarity. Roberts appeared to be one of those local products with no other offers that BYU always seems to get.
Well, things have changed.
Roberts is “blowing up” in national recruiting circles after the numbers he posted at a talent combine in Ohio. Roberts’ SPARQ (Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness score to determine agility) score at The Opening, which drew some of the top recruits in the Midwest, was 120.0 and ranked third behind only Iowa receiver Jace Andregg and Illinois running back Anthony Williams.
Roberts, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound receiver, received offers from Utah and USC (since rescinded when Roberts told the Trojans about his mission plans) this summer and more are almost certainly on the way, according to American Fork coach Aaron Behm.
“I would definitely say he is a hard commit to BYU, but that hasn’t stopped a lot of other schools from asking about him,” Behm said. “He’s been steadfast in that. But with that SPARQ score, that’s a big deal, and that’s what moved him into a top receiver nationally.”
Roberts was named MVP from the Receiver/Tight End group at The Opening. He confirmed on July 20 that the pledge he made to BYU after catching 52 passes for 738 yards and seven touchdowns his sophomore season “is a firm commitment, a hard commitment,” but acknowledged “I will probably still take other visits if they are offered to me.”
Having caught 68 passes for 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns his junior season, Roberts has already broken many of the school’s receiving records heading into his senior year. That’s saying something, considering American Fork has produced standouts such as former BYU receivers Toby Christensen, Ryan Slater and Jonah Trinnaman and former Utah receivers Derrek Richards and Jake Murphy.
“We have three guys playing right now at BYU — Lopini Katoa, James Empey and Nate Heaps — and Chase is right up there with the best athletes we have coached here,” Behm said. “He ranks top 10 in the nation with his combine score. You can’t get much better than that.”
In the past few years, BYU has received early commitments from players with Roberts’ talent, only to lose them to Pac-12 schools when signing day arrives. Jeff Hansen of the BYU-based website on the 247sports.com network said holding on to Roberts will be critical for the Cougars.
“He might end up being the best prospect out of BYU’s 2019 signing class,” Hansen said. “He has crazy high combine scores. He’s probably the commit BYU has to worry about the most, in terms of flipping late in the game. If BYU sucks again this year, he might be tempted to look elsewhere.”
Roberts was adamant in July that it won’t happen, citing his ties to the school and the fact that his father, Kyle, was a defensive back for the Cougars when Ty Detmer played there.
“BYU has always been my dream school, ever since I was little,” Roberts said. “We’ve always gone to the games, and I have loved everything about it. And when I met the [new] offensive coaches, that decision became a lot easier.”
Roberts said the first coach to offer him a scholarship was actually new BYU receivers coach Fesi Sitake when Sitake was the offensive coordinator at Weber State.
“I already had a good relationship with Fesi, so I was really happy when BYU hired him,” Roberts said.
In mid-June, a Utah-based team featuring Roberts won the 7-on-7 passing competition at USC’s camp.
“It is just hard to know where to attack him, because he’s good at everything,” Behm said. “If you want to give him the short hitch, he is good at making one guy miss and getting in the end zone. If you want to come up and press him, he can run by you. He has good releases. He’s mentally tough. He might drop one, but he will come right back on the next play and make a huge play.”
Roberts also used to play baseball and was skilled at that sport, too, but had to drop it because it conflicted too much with his football development. He expects the Cavemen to challenge for a region championship this season.
“We are really going to spread out the field, because we’ve got some really good wide receivers,” he said. “So, we will use me more as a decoy this year to draw double teams. Our other wide receivers are going to get more attention and recognition. And we have a really good dual-threat quarterback who can run, Boone Abbott, so they will have to respect him, too.”
American Fork Receiver Chase Roberts’ Rise to Stardom
Fall of 2016 • Catches 52 passes for 738 yards and seven touchdowns his sophomore season
Summer of 2017 • Receives offers from Weber State and BYU and commits to BYU
Fall of 2017 • Catches 68 passes for 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns his junior season
Early summer of 2018 • Posts a Sparq score at The Opening in Ohio, 120.0, that ranks among the best in the country
Mid-summer of 2018 • Receives scholarship offers from Utah, USC and others after leading Team Utah to win in a 7 on 7 tournament at USC
Late summer of 2018 • Reaffirms his commitment to BYU despite offers from Pac-12 schools