David Robinson has been well-known for giving back since his days as an all-star center with the San Antonio Spurs and now that his son Corey Robinson has grabbed some of the spotlight for himself as a big-time college football prospect, the Notre Dame wide receiver commit is getting his chance to do the same.
Robinson, who will play in next month’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl in his home city, had the chance to hand out honors to some youngsters on Monday.
“The Army Bowl asked me to go to Eisenhower Middle School, a local middle school in town,” said Robinson. “There were three kids who won awards for high honor roll.”
Eighth-grader Simone Jones won an essay contest for excellence in sports journalism and will receive an all-week media pass for the Army Bowl in January. Eighth-graders Benjamin Wolf and Caitlyn Boggs also received awards.
“I was just going there to congratulate the winners and encouraging them to stay in school and keep working hard in sports, band and any extracurricular activities,” said Robinson.
“It was a great honor. I’ve seen my dad doing this stuff all of the time, so to be able to do it myself without my dad, that was kind of weird. But I’m very appreciative of the honor to be able to do that.”
While Robinson noticed the role reversal of sorts, he’s still young enough to remember being on the other side.
“I was trying to present it in a way that I would listen and that I would pay attention to,” he said. “I remember being there and doing all of that and listening in their spots. I was trying to do it in a way I could relate to when I was their age. It’s weird to see that coming full circle.”
Robinson is looking forward to the all-star game and to have at least five future teammates descend upon San Antonio.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun, I haven’t seen those guys in a while,” said Robinson, who will be joined by fellow Notre Dame commits Steve Elmer, Torii Hunter Jr., John Montelus, Doug Randolph and Jaylon Smith.
Robinson learned a lot in a short period of time at The Opening in Oregon this summer and is looking for a similar experience this time.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun competing with everybody again, but this time we’re going to be in full pads,” he said. “I’m really interested to see how intense practice is going to be and how much we’re going to learn as an athlete. We’re going to have a good time hanging out as a group, fellowshipping and stuff.”
Working in full pads instead of shorts and t-shirts is a major difference, according to Robinson, but the game is still the same.
“I think it adds a whole new element, but it’s the same thing: the ball’s going to be thrown, you’ve got to go catch the ball,” he said. “Now we have a chance to be a little bit more physical and see how the physical element comes into play, which players step up to the challenge and which ones are humbled. It’s going to be a lot more fun from a competitive aspect.”
Competition is something Robinson thrived on in his final season at San Antonio Christian as he caught 67 passes for 1,414 yards and 20 touchdowns in 12 games.
“Last year I was making a lot of the same plays, I just wasn’t making as many,” he said. “I think it was a confidence factor. If it came down to the third quarter last year, I’d much rather my running back make a big play than me, but I would do it.
“Over the summer, I worked hard and hit the camps. My confidence rose and now this year, in any situation – whether we need four yards or 15 yards or a touchdown to win the game – I came in with the same level of confidence. I knew my team was relying on me to make big plays and that pushed me to new heights.
“I didn’t have to carry the team as much as I thought I would because our running back had a big season. We switched off trading blows; he’d run for 200 and then I’d catch 150. It was a lot of fun and he was pushing me to compete. Every game we were trying to see who could get the most yards and the most touchdowns to help the team the most.”
Robinson won’t be in South Bend for this weekend’s banquet, but he did have the chance to host Irish assistant Kerry Cooks last week.
“That was awesome,” he said. “I haven’t seen him in a while. For him to come down to San Antonio and meet my family means a lot. It was cool hanging out with him, just talking, sitting down and eating (gucamole) and chips. We were talking about what’s going on in school and what I’m trying to do in football.”
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly is expected to make his in-home visit sometime next week.
“That’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said. “Him and Coach Cooks are coming down for dinner and we’ll all sit down and talk and relax.”
Robinson has enjoyed watching his future teammates march to the BCS National Championship Game.
“It’s been incredible,” he said. “I’m going to watch the game on TV, I can’t make it unfortunately. I’ve really enjoyed watching their trip from the beginning of the season to 12-0.
“I love watching Everett (Golson’s) development as a quarterback. He’s a redshirt freshman who is leading a team to a national championship that hasn’t been there in 25 years. I love watching Manti (Te’o) lead that team on the field. I love what (Tyler) Eifert does as a receiver. I’d love to emulate his game. It’s been a lot of fun watching the ride and I’m blessed to be a part of it.”