Recruit Notebook - Rashard Robinson

Recruit Notebook - Rashard Robinson

Cameron Underwood
As the High School Football season wraps up, recruiting season has kicked into high gear. With Official Visit weekends, in-home visits, and other maneuvers, this is a time when College Coaches earn their substantial salaries, and lay the foundation for future success.

Today’s installment of the Recruit Notebook, we look at a player who has become one of the hottest names and biggest targets in this cycle: Blanche Ely CB Rashard Robinson.

Part 1: Rashard Robinson, the player
Robinson is another top talent from South Florida, who has had an interesting path during recruiting. He is a tall player for his position, and offers many skills that figure to translate well at the next level.

Robinson has great height at a legit 6’3”. Robinson’s thin build (listed at 163lbs) is definitely something that college strength and conditioning coaches will have to contend with. While Robinson doesn’t have much bulk, he does have impressive length. His size on the outside is something that has and will impact opposing offenses.

Robinson has top notch speed, not for his size or position, but overall. Having already been timed at 4.44 on the summer camp circuit last year, Robinson plays to his clock time and runs fluidly. A long strider due to his height, Robinson is able to quickly cover large amounts of ground. Robinson also displays surprising short area quickness, and a good ability to change direction.

Tackling/Run Support
Like most cover corners, this is not something that Robinson excels at. Robinson does have good contain technique, rarely letting the ball carrier get outside of him and up the sideline. Robinson shows good reaction to plays on his side of the field, and, while he’s not a punishing tackler, he will go up to make a play when needed.

Robinson struggles to bring down larger players at TE and RB, but that’s to be expected with his thin build. Definitely more of a “catch and hold” tackler than “drive and destroy”. Added size will help him in this area of the game.

Robinson almost never blitzes. He is a classic cover corner, and his coaches saw his greatest value staying in coverage on the outside.

I think Robinson’s size and speed could be a weapon as a blitzer coming from the boundary. Many teams like to employ this wrinkle from time to time, and having a 6’3” guy who runs a 4.4 is a great weapon to have in role.

Honestly, I don’t see Robinson as being much of a blitzer, but he has the physical skills to guest star in this role if needed.

Robinson is an elite player based on 2 things: his height/speed combination, and his cover skills. Let’s take a look at the latter, shall we?

Robinson uses his hands well to influence receivers routes, and negatively impact their timing. Robinson’s long arms allow him to get a good jam even in instances of covering receivers who are lined up off the line of scrimmage.

In man to man situations, Robinson shows good technique and rarely allows for separation. He will give up some intermediate routes (mainly comebacks) but rallies quickly to make the tackle. Robinson is mainly charged with covering outside receivers, and does well with this task. He can struggle against quicker slot-receiver types. Using NFL players as an example, Robinson could cover AJ Green, but Wes Welker would give him fits.

In zone situations, Robinson gives space well while reading the pass patterns of the offense. He gives ground well, and stays within the scheme to be sure that he is the last line of defense for his team.

Robinson has the interesting challenge of dealing with his height at a position where height can actually be a disadvantage. He stays high in his backpedal, which allows him to change direction as quickly as possible. Robinson also takes smaller steps than most until he turns to run vertical with a receiver. Robinson also shows good fluidity in his hips, which allows him to change direction, or turn and run without losing speed or wasting steps.

Robinson has good ball skills, and has an impressive catch/deflection radius. Robinson uses his hands well to break up passes and stay in contact with the player he’s covering. Robinson’s height is again a factor, especially on deep balls. The ability to high point the ball down the field is a great skill to have, and Robinson does this very well when tested deep.

In all areas (slot coverage aside), Robinson is an elite player, whose coverage skills cannot be underestimated.

Positional Versatility
Robinson has uncommon height for the Cornerback position. This height has led some to speculate that maybe his best value or usage would be at Safety. I don’t see this as being the case.

Robinson’s cover skills are such that it would be an incredible waste to put him at Safety and take him off close proximity coverage duties. He’s tall. He’s fast. He has good technique and elite athletic explosion. He’s a top prospect at Corner for a reason. My opinion is that, wherever he goes, Robinson’s best value is to keep him at Corner.

Part 2: Game Evaluation
Robinson is a very good player, who looks the part of a top athlete, and backs that up with his stellar play. He has good skills, and figures to replicate his success at the next level.

The first thing about Robinson that stands out, other than his height, is his blazing speed. It’s one thing to run a 4.4 on an empty field, but it’s another thing to repeatedly play to that speed against elite competition in game situations. Robinson used his speed to make plays all over the field.

One of the areas that Robinson impacts the game is on Special Teams. Robinson was the Tigers’ main kickoff returner, and he took 2 back for touchdowns this year, including a 94 yarder against Miramar in week 2. On a field littered with Division 1 talent, Robinson easily accelerated and separated from everyone on the field, scoring by at least 10 yards with no player being close to touching him. I don’t think that he will be used as a returner at the next level (can’t take a chance his legs get taken out on a return), but his straight line speed was a weapon repeatedly at the High School level.

Robinson has repeatedly demonstrated that he is up to the task of completely eliminating the opposition’s top receiving talent. The marquee matchup against Northeast and WR Stacy Coley was one for the ages. These 2 players went against each other all night long. Coley was able to get loose for a 5 catches, including a 25 yard touchdown on an amazing catch, but Robinson proved he was Coley’s equal. Even the best defensive backs get scored on from time to time, and Coley had a great game. There’s no shame in giving up a score to a player of Coley’s ability and caliber.

Robinson takes very good pursuit angles, and can track down any player in the open field. Robinson has been known to save touchdowns many yards down the field, often on the opposite side of the field from where he was initially positioned.

Robinson has a quiet on-field demeanor, and lets his athleticism do the talking for him. His physical impact on the game is different than other players I’ve profiled: based mainly upon his speed. Robinson rarely takes plays off, and is always a threat to make a play when the ball is in the air.

Part 3: College Projection
Robinson’s height and speed can play at the next level right now. With many receivers being 6’3” and taller, having a player of that height to match up against them is something that most defenses simply do not have. It’s far more common to have a player of Robinson’s speed, albeit not with his height. That combination lends itself very favorably to the collegiate game.

What Robinson lacks is size. He’s rail thin at 163lbs, and desperately needs to add some weight to his frame. Receivers are most easily able to play at the next level while still being very thin. It’s challenging for defenders because their job is to physically stop progress being made by the offensive skill players.

I foresee Robinson being a prime candidate for a redshirt. Taking a year to get bigger and stronger is something that would do him wonders. Like fellow Ely alum Patrick Peterson, Robinson is committed to play at LSU. Unlike Peterson, Robinson would definitely need time to acclimate himself physically to the LSU system before being able to contribute on the field in the SEC.

A player who Robinson compares to is Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman. While Sherman started as a Receiver at Stanford his first 3 years, his real value was seen when he transitioned to the defensive side of the ball. Sherman has built a reputation as a big talker, but also as one of the top cover corners in the NFL. Like most high school kids, Robinson will need time and dedication to develop the same physicality that Sherman possesses, but their native skills are very close in nature.

Final Grades
Athleticism – A+
Football IQ – B+
Tackling/Run Support – C-
Coverage skills – A+
Fundamentals and Technique – A
Leadership/Maturity – B
Physical development – C
Versatility – C+
Potential – B+

Overall Recruit Grade – B+
Robinson is another in the long line of top Division 1 prospects to come out of Blanche Ely. His skills have been honed by hours of practice against 2012 alum Avery Johnson. His height, speed, and coverage ability could all play immediately at the next level, but I think he needs to add size before seeing the field in a college game.

As a prospect, Robinson has been a known commodity for a couple of years, but he fell off the radar after an early commitment to LSU. Robinson was able to ply his trade through his senior season with little to no spotlight, as most recruiting services and colleges thought there was no way to get him out of his commitment to Les Miles.

Many schools have rushed onto the scene lately, however, with Miami being first among them. It remains to be seen if the Hurricanes, or any other team, can make Robinson change his mind late in the recruiting process, but they’re willing to make every effort to reel in a talent like Robinson.

For Miami fans, this could be a bit of déjà vu. In the 2008 recruiting class, Ely CB Patrick Peterson committed to Miami early, only to flip to LSU late. It could be now that this process is reversed with Robinson, but only if Al Golden and company are able to pull all the right strings between now and signing day.

For a time, it seemed like every top player from Blanche Ely traded their Orange and Green HS uniforms for Orange and Green Miami ones.

If Al Golden has his way, that time will come again, and it will start with Rashard Robinson.

Comments (25)

Cameron doing work!

Another solid read, much appreciated.
Cam, do you think we can keep this guy home? Pulling an lsu db commit is going to be tough no matter how close he lives to campus.
Cam, do you think we can keep this guy home? Pulling an lsu db commit is going to be tough no matter how close he lives to campus.

It's going to be a TOUGH pull. I'd say he's probably 75/25 going to LSU, but we're charging hard right now. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall during his visit with Stacy Coley and Jermaine Grace last weekend.....
so basically he's another DVD? I think I'll pass...
Nice job Cam
I actually really like our DB

gunter jr
howard so
crawford so
dortch rs
hope rs

burns tr

loving our db's right now. I like the write up Mr. Underwood!