Here’s to you, Mr. Robinson
November 5, 2010
From a Brave to a Badger and now to a Wildcat, Drew Robinson is quickly becoming the face of success for North Summit High School’s athletic program.
The former Braves’ tight end, now a star at Snow Junior College in Ephraim, has committed to the University of Arizona. The Wildcats, ranked No. 15 in the nation at the moment, are getting a football player in Robinson.
Just ask his Snow College head coach, Steve Coburn.
"When we were able to recruit Drew, we knew we were getting something special," he said. "We knew he was going to grow and mature and we felt like he could become what he has."
Coming out of North Summit, Robinson was a 6-foot-5, 215-pound tight end who had been underused in a triple-option offense that requires tight ends to be more like glorified blockers than stars catching touchdowns up the seam.
Coburn, a close friend of Braves’ head coach Jerre Holmes, saw Robinson at a 7-on-7 camp at Brigham Young and was blown away by his natural abilities and instincts on the field.
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"We realized he was special then," Coburn said. "His route-running abilities were amazing."
Arizona took notice too.
Robinson took a redshirt year his first year at Snow, and took time to study the game and ready himself for football at the next level.
According to Coburn, Robinson bulked up about 35 pounds to 250 this year. That hard work and off-the-field preparation has paid off.
In nine games this season, Robinson ranks second on the Badgers in receiving yards (301), touchdown passes caught (four) and receptions (25).
Offensive coordinator Tyler Hughes has been the beneficiary for the last two years being able to incorporate the NFL-sized tight end into his offensive playbook.
"Drew has been really great for us," Hughes said. "He’s become a really competitive guy for us on the field. He’s a good leader."
Hughes still remembers seeing Robinson as a senior at North Summit and recalls Robinson’s versatility being a standout quality..
"(Robinson) is a guy that other guys depend on," he said. "He’s big for us. He never misses anything. He’s always there 100 percent."
During his redshirt freshman year in 2009, Robinson accumulated just six receptions for 79 yards and one touchdown; but it was his pure athleticism and work ethic that forced a nationally-ranked Pac-10 team like Arizona to take notice.
Four weeks ago, Wildcats’ co-offensive coordinator and tight-ends coach Seth Littrell flew out to meet with Robinson and the coaching staff to discuss a possible scholarship offer.
Littrell, a former running back at the University of Oklahoma, has a connection to Snow. He was a teammate of former AP Player of the Year and Walter Camp Award winner Josh Heupel, who spent one year quarterbacking the Badgers in 1998 before transferring to Norman, Okla., to lead the Sooners for the next two years, and on to a national championship.
Littrell also helped groom former star tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was selected 42nd overall in the 2010 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. Gronkowski already has three touchdown receptions in this, his rookie season.
Coburn said Littrell was blown away by Robinson’s overall talents and after watching a litter of film on him before flying out, decided to extend an offer.
"We pride ourselves with our tight ends," Coburn said. "Drew’s the recipient of that."
As the coaches at Snow sat down with Robinson during the process, Coburn said his tight end handled it like a seasoned veteran.
"He was very level-headed," he said. "If he was excited, he kept it in pretty good.
"We just sat down and talked and said that there were only four or five teams that use tight ends the way (Robinson) wanted to be used."
This season, the Arizona Wildcats are 7-1 and have a potent offense with numerous threats at the wide-receiver position and out of the backfield. But Arizona’s tight end, senior A.J. Simmons, has only six receptions on the season for a total of 77 yards.
So, what will the highly-ranked Wildcats be getting?
"They’re going to be getting a guy with size and speed," Hughes said. "A guy who wants to be a great player. A guy who has high hopes for himself."
A quiet, reserved, tireless competitor, Robinson does most of his work on the field a place where he uses his unique athletic ability to maneuver.
But don’t ask him to be a Chatty Cathy.
"He never talks," Coburn said. "I had to find out from guys on the team that he’s engaged. I had no clue."
On he will go, blocking opponents, stretching the field and opening eyes. He will be following in the footsteps of players like Gronkowski, and thanks to the University of Utah’s invitation to the soon-to-be Pac-12 Conference, Robinson could be roaming the sidelines at Rice-Eccles Stadium, pestering the Utes defense as soon as fall 2011.
Robinson has two years of NCAA eligibility left after redshirting one year, and will Arizona fans will have a chance to see what one of Coalville’s finest has to offer.
Said Hughes: "On one hand, we’re really excited for Drew. We’re way excited. But we certainly wish we had a Drew every single year."