East Lansing — National signing day was nearly two months ago, but Michigan State got quite an addition to the 2016 class on Wednesday.
The Spartans received a signed national letter of intent from defensive lineman Auston Robertson of Fort Wayne, Ind., a four-star prospect ranked the No. 9 defensive end in the nation by 247sports.com.
Robertson (6-foot-5, 240 pounds) had been committed to Michigan State since last June, but off-field issues kept Robertson from signing back in February.
He was arrested on misdemeanor battery charges on Jan. 13 in Allen County and was released on $750 bond and a no contact order was issued. In March, Robertson entered a diversionary program that could lead to the charges being dropped.
“Our decision to accept Auston Robertson’s signed National Letter of Intent and Big Ten Tender has been evaluated over the last three months while utilizing all resources available to us to thoroughly review his situation,” coach Mark Dantonio said in a statement.
“Our relationship with Auston began last summer when he committed to Michigan State. When we accepted his verbal (commitment), we also made a commitment to him and his family. We elected not to sign him in early February, and since then he has been accepted into a pretrial diversionary program and must continue to satisfy those requirements. Given all the information available to us, we believe Auston should be provided with an opportunity to begin his education and playing career at Michigan State.”
Robertson was also suspended during the season for a violation of team rules, according to a story in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Court records show Robertson was charged with resisting law enforcement and criminal mischief (damages or defaces property of another without consent) on Sept. 10. However, those charges were dismissed.
“It’s a lesson learned,” Robertson told 247sports.com. “I’m just thankful that my team never gave up on me and I’m just ready for the next level.”
Robertson, who did not return messages left by The News, committed to Michigan State last June over offers from the likes of Alabama, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
He joins a class that now ranks 15th in the nation by 247sports and 18th by Rivals.com.
“It shows how committed they are to me,” Robertson said. “I want to do the same to them. I’m really happy they stuck with me throughout this whole process, so is my family, I’m just very thankful of Coach D.”
Robertson represented the U.S. Under-19 National Team vs. Canada in the 2016 International Bowl in Arlington, Texas. As a senior at Wayne High, he had 36 tackles with 8.5 resulting in losses, including three sacks (24 yards).
As a junior, Robertson was named to the Associated Press Class 5A all-state first team and was selected to the Indiana Football Coaches Association’s Top 50 All-State Team.