MA’s Robertson evens family allegiances, heads to Duke

William Robertson ceremony at MA (L-R) Leighton Robertson, William Robertson, Cathryn Robertson and Dr. Doug Robertson 

The guys go to Duke. The girls go to Virginia. At least that’s the way it seems to be in the Robertson family.

William Robertson, one of the finest all around athletes in Montgomery Academy history, agreed to accept a preferred walk-on status to play football at Duke University. MA held a ceremony for Robertson and his family last week.

His dad, Dr. Doug Robertson, graduated from Duke University before earning his M.D. from UAB. That’s the Duke thing with the guys. The Virginia thing with the girls is that Robertson’s older sisters, Elizabeth and Mead, both attend the University of Virginia (UVA).

Attempting to remain neutral is the boss of the family and mother of four, Cathryn, who met her husband when she was earning her nursing degree at UAB. The youngest of the children and a junior at MA, Leighton, has been a standout on the girls basketball and soccer teams.

While the older sisters are in Charlottesville, Virginia, William will be 170 miles south in Durham, North Carolina. The rivalry between the two ACC schools is pretty deep. “Elizabeth and Mead said they would cheer for me…until we play UVA,” William said with a laugh. “They know I have been a Duke fan forever and now I have the opportunity I always wanted. I just couldn’t turn it down. I’m excited about this. I don‘t know what Leighton will do when she graduates from MA next year, but I imagine she will be torn in different directions.”

In addition to his many accomplishments on the basketball court and the tennis court, Robertson excelled in many ways on the football field. He is the MA all-time leader in receptions and reception yardage in a career and holds the single season records for those categories as well. On top of all this he has excelled academically.

Robertson will report to the Blue Devils over the summer, and while he has been viewed as a receiver he said he will play wherever he is needed. “I have played a variety of positions but I have always been a receiver primarily since fourth grade. I spent my early varsity years primarily as a lead blocker. As far as Duke is concerned I’m under the impression that I will stay a receiver,” Robertson said.

“He is one of the most accomplished players in MA history. Besides the receiving records he was our leading tackler on defense this year. Plus, he was our long snapper. I can’t think of a player more impactful,” MA coach Gary Nelson said. “I couldn’t be more proud of him especially since he is going to a great school like Duke. There is probably no better program in the nation to receive preferred walk on status than Duke. The job Coach (David) Cutcliffe and his staff does is tremendous. I believe Duke is getting someone special and he will be a great teammate to his fellow players.”

Robertson said MA has prepared him well for Duke, especially academically. But MA has given him another resource to lean on. Last year MA quarterback Trey Lindsey walked on at Auburn and Robertson said his former teammate has already been helpful. “I have talked with Trey and he has told me things to expect from the college game, especially as a walk-on. I know for me it will be a long tough road. It’s going to be a lot of work to just have an opportunity to play,” Robertson said. “Trey and I have always been good friends. I feel sure we will spend a lot of time together when possible. I look forward to having him in my back pocket when I need to call.”

Preferred walk-on defined:

Preferred walk-ons are guaranteed a spot on the roster. While preferred walk-ons don’t receive an athletic scholarship, they still go through the recruiting process and, upon arrival at camp receive the same support as scholarship players in all aspects. Preferred walk-ons can earn a scholarship going into their second season. However, walk-ons are an important part of any college team and accepting a preferred walk-on offer is worth celebrating.