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Penn State receiver Robinson draws high praise

| Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 11:00 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson (8) hauls in a 45-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Christian Hackenberg against Eastern Michigan during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, at Beaver Stadium in State College. Penn State defeated Eastern Michigan, 45-7.
Tribune-Review
Penn State Nittany Lions safety Stephen Obeng-Agyapong (7) defends as Northwestern Wildcats wide receiver Tony Jones (6) hauls in an 11 yard touchdown pass in front of during the 2nd quarter of their game at Beaver Stadium in University Park on October 06, 2012. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review

Over the course of a career that has spanned more than three decades, Penn State receivers coach Stan Hixon has tutored NFL All-Pros, future first-round draft picks, All-SEC honorees and key members of national title teams.

It might be debatable, Hixon said, that any one of them was better than Penn State juniorAllen Robinson.

“I've been around a lot of good receivers,” Hixon said. “Some of them don't go as hard in practice as they go in the game.

“Allen wants to win every single drill — practice or game. That's just how he is made up.”

The reigning Big Ten Receiver of the Year, Robinson is tied for the conference lead in receptions and leads the Big Ten in receiving yards — despite missing 25 percent of the playing time over that span.

Robinson sat out the first half of the season opener against Syracuse but still has 14 catches for 262 yards and two touchdowns.

In 15 games since the beginning of his sophomore year, Robinson has 91 receptions for 1,280 yards and 13 TDs in 14 games. He can add to those numbers when the Nittany Lions (2-0) play Central Florida (2-0) at 6 p.m. Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

“In all my years of coaching wide receivers, he's one of the best — if not the best — receivers I have had,” Hixon said.

That's quite a statement considering Hixon has coached Redskins former Pro Bowler Santana Moss, Bills young star Stevie Johnson, former Steeler Antwaan Randle El and 2001 Biletnikoff Award winner Josh Reed.

Hixon said former All-SEC receiver Michael Clayton is most similar to Robinson. Clayton (6-4, 197), the LSU career touchdown leader and an eight-year NFL player, was of comparable size to the 6-3, 210-pound Robinson. Both possessed the requisite speed, hands and route-running skills.

What set Clayton apart, Hixon said, was his hatred of failure.

“Michael is very competitive,” Hixon said. “But Allen is more competitive.”

Robinson set the Penn State single-season receptions record last year, and coach Bill O'Brien praised him for taking his game to the “next level.”

“He came back with better knowledge of the offense,” O'Brien said.

“He was stronger, he was faster — and he's shown that.”

Robinson should be a hot commodity at the NFL Draft. Dave-Te' Thomas of Scouting Services Inc. puts Robinson “in the Julio Jones/A.J. Green category” and currently rates him as no worse than the third-best receiver who could be available in April.

“I'd like to keep him as long as I can,” Hixon said. “But that's out of my control.”

Chris Adamski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.w

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