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July 1, 2009

Atholton's Robinson talks Terps commitment

In June 1999, Derry (Pa.) Area offensive lineman Kyle Schmitt landed a scholarship offer from the Maryland football program and promptly accepted.

Ten years later, Atholton wide receiver-defensive back Matt Robinson found himself in a similar position as Schmitt -- his new coach -- once did.

On Monday, Robinson decided to follow in Schmitt’s footsteps and commit to the Terps.

“It just feels good to know where I’m going,” Robinson said. “I’ve been following the team for awhile. They’ve always been a big school in my mind that I wanted to go to.”

As a junior, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Robinson was a first-team All-Howard County selection after catching 15 passes for 210 yards and four touchdowns. Defensively, he recorded 74 tackles, six pass breakups and two forced fumbles. Despite Robinson’s best efforts, Atholton struggled to a 3-7 season.

When Atholton decided to make a coaching change last spring, the 27-year-old Schmitt was tabbed for the job, fresh off a two-year stint as a Maryland graduate assistant. While Schmitt’s Maryland ties run deep, the former UM offensive line stalwart stayed impartial throughout Robinson’s recruitment.

“I didn’t try to sway him in any way,” Schmitt said. “Me being a Terp player and former coach, I didn’t want that to come into play. Obviously, I’m glad Matt chose Maryland. I think it’s a great program. But I’m happy he’s close to home. His family can see him play, and that’s why I’m thrilled with Matt. He’s ready to do it.”

For the past four months, Robinson’s received a free preview of what football might be like in College Park. Schmitt has adopted many of the Terps’ coaching and training methods in his brief tenure with the Raiders.

“It’s been really good,” Robinson said. “We’re running all the same stuff Maryland does, really. We’ve got this whole new workout plan. It’s really legit.”

It’s likely that Robinson will start his college career as an H-back, though there’s also the potential for him to play safety. Schmitt thinks that versatility is one of Robinson’s greatest strengths.

“Right know he’s open to playing anywhere, and I think that’s what Maryland liked about him, and that’s what I love about him,” Schmitt said. “I think he could grow to 230, 240 pounds. He’s one of the top five hardest workers on our team right now. ... I think Matt’s best football is in front of him; it’s not even close. Maryland saw that as well. The unknown with Matt might be his best quality. There’s a lot of potential there that’s untapped right now.”

With offers from Fordham, James Madison, Massachusetts, Old Dominion and Stony Brook, it’s safe to say Robinson floated under the radar of most college football recruiters. Schmitt, however, cautions Maryland fans to overlook recruiting rankings when it comes to Robinson’s game.

“I told Matt, ‘Maryland knows you better than any school in the country.’ ... The more they saw him, the more they liked him. ... He makes plays, he’s got excellent ball skills for a guy his age and he’s a smart player. Matt’s going to be a productive player. There’s no doubt in my mind.”

Robinson’s similarly confident that he’ll live up to the Maryland staff’s expectations.

“I work hard and I can bring a lot to the table,” Robinson said. “I never quit.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:19 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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