ESPN.com deputy editor Michael Huang discovered Roberson when his friend sent him a video featuring the St. Charles, Ill., middle school and club team football player.
– ESPN.com writer Melissa Isaacson on profiling 13-year-old Auburn Roberson
“One of my friends sent me an iPhone video of a 13-year-old right-handed QB rolling out to her left, eluding tacklers and having the athleticism and poise to pivot her feet, find the receiver in the corner of the end zone and loft a perfect jump ball she knew her receiver would catch,” said Huang. “As a former football player, I knew just how tough it was to make that throw as an adult, let alone as a 13-year-old. Then he told me the QB was female, which impressed me even more. You just don’t see many female QBs.”
That’s when Huang reached out to espnW and ESPN.com writer Melissa Isaacson with the story, published on espnW on Nov. 9.
“Michael Huang came to me with the idea of this girl he had heard about, who was a fantastic quarterback. I told Michael that frankly, there were many girls around the country who now play football and I wanted to know what made Auburn special. I had even written a story a few years ago about a girl quarterback, who played in Florida (though she was third-string). He kept telling me that I had to see this girl, that she was really special,” said Isaacson.
– ESPN.com deputy editor Michael Huang
“So I went into it with some skepticism, as any reporter does, but indeed found a girl who possessed abilities and leadership skills not just good for a girl but in fact outstanding among her age group. The respect level she received from the boys her age, and the awareness a high school coach of a top program in Illinois has of her, tells me that while her size might prevent her from being a starting varsity quarterback one day, she definitely has a future in football. And her desire to pursue it as a profession in some capacity was also compelling, as well as giving me the chance to re-examine the state of girls in tackle football.”
Huang says Auburn’s story was unique to him because of her innocent love of the game.
“In a day when so much of what we read about football is related to concussions, sexual assaults, and performance enhancing drugs, Aubby came in like a breath of fresh air – a girl who only wants to play because she loves the game,” Huang said. “Aubby was the perfect antidote to the cynical, often obtuse discussions surrounding the sport these days. A sport that I happen to love. Aubby helped me remember that.”