Season recap: Matt Robinson
Kyle Schmitt admits there were nervous moments leading up to his first season as Atholton’s football coach.
The former Maryland offensive lineman -- just 27 years old -- was tasked with turning around a team fresh off a 3-7 season and a program that lacked an illustrious football tradition.
Thankfully for Schmitt, there were plenty of strong pieces in place, including Terps commitment Matt Robinson.
“We had a good quarterback in Kalvin Seamonson and who I thought was one of the best players in the state in Matt,” Schmitt said. “And we had a lot of kids to go around Matt. I thought as a team, we had a chance. Matt’s a leader, and it’s nice to have your best player also be the leader of your team and one of your top workers on the team. His intangibles are what is going to make him, I think, good in college. His size is solid, his speed is good, his strength is good and it will continue to get better. But the intangibles that Matt brings are what helped us.”
The Raiders were one of the biggest surprises in the state this season, finishing 10-2 and advancing to the Class 3A East regional final. Robinson, 6 feet 4, 210 pounds, was dangerous on both sides of the ball. At wide receiver, he finished with 39 catches for 792 yards and 10 touchdowns. At linebacker, Robinson recorded 75 tackles, four sacks, one interception, one fumble recovery for a touchdown and one blocked punt on special teams.
“He didn’t come off the field,” Schmitt said. “He played, I would dare say, the most of anyone on our team this year. As far as statistics, our offense revolved around Matt. Then there are some things that don’t show up on the stat sheet that Matt did a really good job with. He was our lead blocker on our power play and inside zone, which we ran a whole lot. That was something we talked to Matt about doing in the preseason and he bought into it and did the dirty work. … The other thing Matt did well was he was a decoy for us. In our playoff game vs. Wilde Lake, they dedicated two guys to Matt on the outside, so we kind of played nine on nine in the box and that really worked to our advantage.”
Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen visited with Robinson and Schmitt on Tuesday at Atholton. There was discussion of Robinson’s senior year, and his future in College Park. Schmitt thinks the Terps’ coaching staff will have a tough decision to make regarding Robinson’s position, but all involved parties will have some input.
“I think Coach will let him pick where he wants to play,” Schmitt said. “Myself, Matt and his parents will sit down and look at the depth charts and say, ‘Hey, maybe you have the best chance to [see playing time] here.’ But Matt’s going to play where they put him. He’ll play wherever they need him -- that’s just the type of kid he is. I have a feeling he could maybe end up on defense to begin with, but that’s just a guess. I think he could end up playing safety for them in Don Brown’s defense. They’re using the safety more, having three on the field at the same time in different packages. I think he could play a spot like that. They’ve got Kenny Tate playing there, and Matt has a similar type of build as Kenny. I’d love to see him on offense, being an offensive guy, but he might start on defense.”
When Robinson committed to Maryland in June, he was well known around Howard County but by no means a high-level recruit. Schmitt said this season was all about Robinson doing his job, helping Atholton reach unprecedented success, and proving that he could play at Maryland.
“I believe in Matt and he just showed what he could do this year,” Schmitt said. “He was dynamic at times. The [first] game against River Hill stood out for me. We lost that game, but Matt had two touchdown catches [that were both] over 80 yards. I saw every game River Hill played this year, and I never saw anyone do that to them. Nobody even attempted to do that. He was clearly the best player on the football field that night. They were the better team, but Matt was the best football player. ... I told Matt he could do it and the Maryland coaches believed Matt could do it.”
Baltimore Sun photo of Matt Robinson by Gene Sweeney Jr. / Dec. 2, 2009