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Timing was right for Penn State's Robinson

| Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, 10:00 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson (8) hauls in a 43-yard pass in front of Eastern Michigan defensive back Willie Creear (4) during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, at Beaver Stadium in State College.

The lure of a significant bump in salary and increased prestige that come with moving up NFL Draft boards? That certainly helps.

But for Allen Robinson, spending his days training in Tampa, Fla., living out of a hotel room and enduring a series of daily workouts ... there's nothing he'd rather be doing, anyway.

“That's the fun part of playing the game,” said Robinson, who declared for the draft a year early after rewriting the Penn State receiving record book. “Knowing what you have to be better at, and just knowing how you're going to improve that, that's the fun of the game.

“It wouldn't be fun if every day was easy — that's something I really live by.”

Robinson is working at his game with some of Relativity Sports' other prospects who are preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine.

The receivers in that group include Clemson's Sammy Watkins — projected to be the top receiver drafted — South Carolina's Bruce Ellington and Michigan State's Bennie Fowler. They will join about four dozen other wide receivers at Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium on Feb. 23, the second day of the four-day combine.

Robinson nudges his way into the first round of some mock drafts. It's easy to see why — he is a two-time Big Ten receiver of the year who has set Penn State records for receptions and yards both seasons.

At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Robinson has size to go along with his hands and play-making ability.

“His overall talent is immeasurable,” said Robinson's agent, Eugene Parker. “His ability to run and jump, the athleticism and explosiveness, he's a pretty good route-runner already. He can go and make plays on the ball vertically and with really good hands. He's a complete package.”

The lone question mark surrounding Robinson? NFL high-end speed.

“The combine is going to show that,” said Parker, whose represented several Hall of Fame players over more than three decades as an agent. “Absolutely, (NFL personnel) will see (the speed). That's one thing that the combine will bring out.”

Part of what brought Robinson out of Penn State was the departure of coach Bill O'Brien for the Houston Texans. The day the school announced its search for O'Brien's replacement, Robinson announced his decision about three hours later.

“A lot went into it, but a big thing was with Coach O'Brien leaving there was a lot of uncertainty about who would be the coach, learning a different system,” Robinson said by phone this week. “And I thought I came off a pretty good year, and I had options to come out. So I thought that my decision to come out was a little bit safer than maybe going back.”

On a typical day in Tampa with other Relativity clients such as former Big Ten rivals Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde, Robinson runs — and runs routes — and lifts weights.

But he also does yoga and is taught about nutrition and taking care of his body by way of methods such as massage.

Robinson is soaking it all in, Parker said.

The reputation he earned among Penn State teammates and coaches of a strong work ethic has translated into his first foray of being a professional.

“He's a great competitor with high character and high intelligence,” Parker said. “He's got all the tools, and he's also got the thing the football scouts have tagged ‘football character.' It's very important for him to excel and be great, so that's the driving force for him.”

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