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It's challenging to label just one high school memory as the best, but when Colorado pledge Terriek Roberts

is asked to choose, he talks about playing for Denver South as a freshman in its first football state title game in more than 50 years.

The 6-foot-6, 255-pound lineman, rated a three-star recruit on ESPN, Scout and 247Sports, was a sophomore when Colorado started recruiting him, and he also played basketball at the time. And though he thought maybe one FBS school would take a chance on him in football, as the scholarship offers started rolling in, he hung up his basketball shoes.

Wednesday, he'll sign his letter of intent with the Buffs.


"I always wanted to be in the NFL, and then when I started playing basketball, I started liking that a little bit more," said Roberts, who had offers from 10 schools. "Then I came to high school, played under Coach (Tony) Lindsay and the love for football came back."

Roberts played basketball from the fifth grade until midway through his junior year in high school, and Ronnie DeGray coached him at the Chauncey Billups Elite Basketball Academy. But Roberts saw his future unfolding in football.

With the help and leadership of South coach Lindsay and training from former NFL lineman Matt McChesney, Roberts was molded into an FBS-caliber recruit.

"I pushed him to the limit to where he could be successful going forward," Lindsay said. "Players have to be pushed really hard, and some can take it and others can't, and that's where they separate and Terriek stood out, so we rode him,"

While at South, Roberts played offense and defense his freshman, sophomore and senior seasons. Six Zero Strength and Fitness founder and coach McChesney helped with Roberts' transition from offense to defense.

When he was in the fifth grade, Terriek Roberts, then 12, attended the Chauncey Billups Elite Basketball Academy for competitive team tryouts. Also
When he was in the fifth grade, Terriek Roberts, then 12, attended the Chauncey Billups Elite Basketball Academy for competitive team tryouts. Also pictured, staff member Antonio Porch. (Kathryn Scott Osler, Denver Post file)

"I played both ways in the NFL, so I have a very unique perspective on how to train big guys with strength and correct movement patterns," McChesney said. "I force an offensive lineman to think like a defensive lineman and vice versa."

After shining on both offense and defense at a CU camp last summer, the Buffs quickly offered Roberts at two positions: offensive tackle and defensive end. He committed days later.

"Growing up, my favorite team was Texas, but as I got older, I started liking Colorado more and knew if I got an offer that's where I'd go," Roberts said.

Some of the most impactful coaches in his life also went to CU: youth coach Allen Wilbon was a linebacker for the Buffs in the 1990s; DeGray played basketball at CU; McChesney was a standout defensive tackle at CU.

Roberts' mother, Tamika, is another reason he decided to stay in-state. His final decision was between CU and Arizona State.

"Mom could go to all my home games at CU," Roberts said. "I go to ASU, and she's not going to any of the games, so from going to all of my games to none is going to be hard for her."

Roberts' dad, Terence Wylie, and three sisters, Taqwasha (22), Brittany (15) and Essence (10), are also in the Denver area.

"My family as a whole has always supported me," Roberts said. "I think it's a big reason why I am so successful today. A lot of people have the talent but don't have the support, and I grew up with that."

Roberts also has shined off the field, with a 3.1 cumulative GPA, a spot in South's student senate and a deep investment in community service.

"His work ethic is unparalleled," McChesney explained. "Whether it rained or snowed, he rode the bus two hours to the gym, walked a mile back to the bus stop and rode home, four times a week, just to attain his opportunity and achieve his goal."

Roberts, a Denver Post 2015 All-Colorado selection as an offensive lineman, has plenty of talent to go along with his work ethic. His length — torso, arms and legs — is NFL-caliber, McChesney said, comparing him to Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner, who is expected to be selected in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft.

With Roberts' length and hip flexability, he can be extremely explosive off one step and also has a 4.9-second 40-yard dash time.

Despite a torn left MCL at the end of his senior season in the playoffs, Roberts expects to be fully recovered before heading to Boulder in June. Roberts said he will start out at defensive end for the Buffs.

Morgan Dzakowic: 303-954-1275, mdzakowic@ or @morgandzak

Browse photography at Denver.Gallery.