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Corey Robinson enters season as X factor

Aug 21, 2013, 7:58 PM EDT


Watch Notre Dame football long enough and names tend to emerge during the offseason. That they don’t always tend to show up on the field is a fact of life, a product of too much time and too much speculation amongst a fan base always looking for the next big thing.

Perhaps that’s what makes Corey Robinson so intriguing. He’s the next big thing. Literally. At nearly 6-foot-5, Robinson is a human mismatch, and combine that with his Hall of Fame lineage, he’d have been the perfect candidate for sleeper status even before the practice videos showed him lighting it up.

Head coach Brian Kelly has done his best to tamp down any Robinson-mania this camp, and the search for nicknames (the Little Admiral?) is probably premature. And while the obvious caveats and reminders of breakout springs from guys like Deion Walker, Emeka Nwankwo, or Junior Jabbie should be enough of a reminder, there’s reason to believe that Robinson might be different.

Over at, JJ Stankevitz caught up with Robinson’s high school football coach, learning that Robinson almost quit the game that brought him to South Bend before he ever got started.

When Robinson came to San Antonio Christian, his older brother, David Jr., convinced him to join the football team, of which he was already a member. Then David Jr. quit the football team. But if an athlete quits a sport in-season at San Antonio Christian, he or she may not play other sports for the school for a full year.

So if Robinson had quit the football team, he wouldn’t have been able to play basketball his freshman year. Here is where it’s worth a reminder that Robinson’s father is David Robinson, widely regarded as one of the best centers in NBA history.

“Corey didn’t want to miss basketball season, so he says ‘well, I’m kind of stuck, I gotta play now,'” coach Bryan Marmion said in a phone interview with on Wednesday.

It’s much too early for a retrospective on Robinson’s contributions to the program, but all indications are that the Irish coaching staff uncovered a jewel in San Antonio. There may be work to do on route running and physical strength, but there’s no question that Robinson can catch just about any football thrown his way.

Citing practicing video of Robinson beating Bennett Jackson as evidence that the freshman will do the same to opposing defensive backs is foolish. But it might be a hint that the coaching staff is looking for ways to take advantage of Robinson’s unique skillset — and that he could already be the replacement for Tyler Eifert in the red zone.

In the spring, Kelly talked about Robinson having a role similar to the one that Chris Brown had last season. While Brown’s deep catch against Oklahoma was one of the season’s biggest plays, that sure feels like a head coach doing his best to keep expectations down.

At a time of year where expectations hardly ever match reality, Robinson has made himself one of the true X factors on the ’13 season.

No pressure, kid.

  1. NotreDan - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    I’ve followed ND so long… it’s been a long time since we could talk about X-Factors in any seriousness, and yet, that’s where BK and staff have this program.

    I can taste the dirt and grass in my cleats.

  2. bernhtp - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    Great kid, great family, awesome hands.

    Imagine what he’ll be able to do with a year or two of Longo, physical development, and skill development.

    • dickasman - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:55 PM

      Bernski, there are 2 positions on offense which a junior in high school can step in and play right away in college and be semi successful. you either have to ve fast or know how to catch. It happens all the time. No, it’s not doggy style or missionary. 1. WR. 2. RB. Screw longo, if I have any freshman worth a dam at WR or RB, throw his azz out there, let em loose, see what he’s got

    • dickasman - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:59 PM

      I hope they let the 2 freshman kiddies at RB loose too before they transfer. See if they can run. Screw red shirting

      • seadomer - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:50 AM

        Agreed … Best personnel on the field NOW!

  3. dudeacow - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    Speaking of him beating Jackson, did anyone notice how much he was running with the first team in that last video?

  4. dickasman - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    Lets find 2 more X factors to make it XXX!!!

    • yogihilt - Aug 22, 2013 at 7:26 AM

      I’d settle for one more X Dos XX !

      • dickasman - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:59 AM

        Stay thirsty my friends!

  5. 25kgold - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    I keep saying this guy will be better than Michael Floyd. Everyone doubts me…Oh well. -_-

  6. oldschoollyons - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    Keith, I agree that when Kelly talks of Robinson, he seems for all the world to be trying to downplay expectations. I suspect that the cat will be out of the bag after a few games, though. Robinson came to football late and came on strongly in his senior year after he had already committed to Notre Dame. Then he did surprisingly well in the football camps and followed that up by being good from the start in Spring practice. He made the most spectacular play in the Spring game. Now he is lighting up fall practice. His trajectory seems to be up and up.

    He not only has good hands and is tenacious, but he is one of the smartest, if not the smartest guy on the team. There’s a lot to like about Robinson.

    • bernhtp - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:35 AM

      Re: “He made the most spectacular play in the Spring game.”

      Uh, Corey was held out of the B&G spring game because of a minor injury. He didn’t make any play, let alone the most spectacular one.

      • keelio19 - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:40 AM


        Give oldschoollyons a break, it wasn’t the spring game, but he still has the “the most spectacular” catch for ND in the off season.

        So YES he did make a great play, it may not have been during the spring game, but it is still the catch of the offseason for the Irish. I expected a little more out of you.

        The Jerk Store Called Bern, their running out of YOU!

  7. irishpuma - Aug 22, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    Settle down! Optimism is good but he has not seen one live snap and we don’t have a QB that can get him the ball. 3-4 hundred yards this year would be excellent.

    • dickasman - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      Puma swede, in our business it’s called premature ejaculation and you’re FIRED!

  8. hotlantalaw - Aug 22, 2013 at 5:15 AM


  9. gtizzo - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:07 AM

    How about the “Red Zone Admiral”? That kind of height I see a lot of “let him go up and make a play” type passes when the Irish are inside the 10 yard line.

    • dickasman - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      “Da Telephonepole”

  10. yaketyyacc - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:07 AM

    irishpuma, DOUBLE AMEN

  11. notredameirish1980 - Aug 22, 2013 at 7:01 AM

    The combination of height, leaping ability, body control, and hands have the POTENTIAL to be a formidable weapon. The problems will come with Corey being jammed at the line and getting knocked off his routes by physical corner play. Strength training and experience will overcome this, but the potential is there to be a difference maker. He might actually be a good receiver for Rees this year because of Tommy’s proclivity to throw up the sidelines/end zone jump ball.

  12. ndnapa - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Robinson doesn’t have to be Michael Floyd this year. I’d be very satisfied with 20 catches for 300 yards and 3-4 TDs. I think he can do that.

  13. ibleedirish - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    I usually don’t get too excited about Freshman, but with Corey, I am. From the videos at least, he appears to have that “get that damn ball at any cost” attitude and the body awareness/control that is rare. Its what made Golden Tate so incredible even at his smaller size. Word is Bennet was pissed he was powerless to stop Robinson on two consecutive touchdown plays. I say if everything is smooth sailing for Temple (it effin better be), save him for a nice little goal line surprise package in that whore of a city, Miss Ann Arbor. Can you imagine the look on Fatty Hoke’s face when he sees Niklas, Koyack, Daniels and Robinson line up to play?

  14. 4horsemenrideagain - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    i’d love to see him get some time this year, but if it’s as the newest member of the “jump ball” gameplan it’s going to be wasting his talent and also falling back on the same old crutch of just throwing it up and hoping floyd/eifert will come down with it. yes, floyd and eifert scored plenty of TD(s) on that play, but the offense went to that well waaaayyy too often.

  15. seadomer - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    If he becomes or surpass Floyd … great but I have been wondering why we need to throw to Eifert, Floyd … what ever happened to the great full back that ND had if we want to ground and pound …. we need a 6 ft, 255 lb thick built rusher that almost guarantees 3 yards unless half the opposing defense stops him. Then we can take out the anxiety of red zone situations.

  16. irishdog80 - Aug 22, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Hopefully the hype equals the results on the field for Robinson. We need at least two receivers… including at TE… that require double coverage in the red zone. If we have that, our numbers in the red zone will be a lot better than last year. I am betting that we will have at least two… Niklas and Daniels… that will require respect and possibly more… Robinson and Carlisle/Prosise. Rees just needs to make the right reads.

    • irishdog80 - Aug 22, 2013 at 5:07 PM

      Also, TJ has earned respect, but he will not put the true fear into a defense that requires double teaming.

  17. seanb20124 - Aug 22, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    His HS is worse than the NCAA.

    If you quit a team, you can’t play for a year in any sport?

    • ibleedirish - Aug 23, 2013 at 2:31 PM

      It would seem the lesson is: Don’t Quit. Its a good one, and not taught often enough.

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