Penn State WR Robinson downplays NFL talk
Come next summer, Allen Robinson will be on track to graduate with a telecommunications degree. After only three years on campus, staying at Penn State won't be necessary for Robinson when it comes to undergraduate study.
But will the reigning Big Ten Receiver of the Year remain a Nittany Lion as a senior for the purposes of playing football?
“I'm not even thinking about that right now,” Robinson said Wednesday when asked about perhaps jumping to the NFL next year. “I'll talk to my coaches and family after the season, but right now I'm focusing on having a run in the Big Ten.”
Robinson will face the school located in the shadow of where he grew up for the first time when the Lions (3-2, 0-1) host No. 18 Michigan (5-0, 1-0) at 5 p.m. Saturday at Beaver Stadium.
Robinson is ahead of the curve when it comes to earning a college degree. He also has zoomed past his peers at wide receiver in the eyes of NFL draft scouts. Lightly recruited by big-name schools coming out of St. Mary's Preparatory in Orchard Lake, Mich., Robinson is now viewed by many as an early-round draft pick.
Current Steelers receivers Derek Moye and Justin Brown served as mentors for their former Penn State teammate early during his college career. Moye, in his second season on a pro roster, said “without a doubt” Robinson will “have success at this level.”
“He's able to put the thinking and the brains aspect of the game together with his athletic ability,” Moye said. “That's something that creates a special player.”
Coming off a 12-catch performance against Indiana on Saturday — the second-most in team history — Robinson leads the Big Ten in receiving yards (124.2 ypg), receptions (7.6 rpg) and receiving touchdowns (tied, five). He is seventh in the nation in receiving yards and 12th in receptions.
After having just three catches as a true freshman in 2011 under the previous coaching staff, Robinson ranks seventh in career receptions at PSU despite playing significant snaps in merely 17 games.
“He's a very talented football player, and he makes it look so effortless out on the field,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. “We've got a lot of respect for him.”
Michigan didn't respect Robinson's abilities enough while in high school to seriously recruit him despite Robinson living so close. Hoke was hired during January of Robinson's senior year, and within four weeks Robinson signed with Penn State. His other offers were from the likes of Minnesota and Mid-American Conference schools.
This is Robinson's first game against either Michigan or Michigan State, the big-time schools less than 75 minutes from where he went to high school. Should he head to the NFL after his junior season, Robinson won't even play a college game on his home state's soil.
“I treat this as just a normal game,” Robinson said. “It's not too much different for me; I mean, I know a couple guys on the team but I don't take that into the game.”
Robinson said he's “just a little sore” from his backside slamming into the turf after making a leaping catch in the back of the end zone in the second half against Indiana. He will play Saturday, but how many more games will be played for Penn State?
Center Ty Howle called Robinson “mature beyond his years,” and earning a degree in 36 months proves that. Has he done enough to begin pursuing his postgraduate work in the NFL?
“He's a great player, and it's up to him,” Lions safety Malcolm Willis said. “If he continues to work like he does and continues to get better, his future will be bright.”