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February 14, 2012

Irish court Hall of Fame legacy




Corey Robinson arrived at the athletics office after school Tuesday confused.

The fact his parents were there was even more confounding. First it dawned on Robinson that his younger brother had golf tryouts. Then came the voicemail and, inexplicably, his mother started taking video.

After a few minutes Robinson realized this meeting between coach, player and family had nothing to do with golf. Notre Dame cornerbacks coach and co-defensive coordinator Kerry Cooks, who recruits Texas, put in a call to extend a scholarship offer to the 6-foot-4, 195-pound wide receiver.

When the message stopped Robinson looked around the room in disbelief.

"I thought he was going to say something like, 'We would love to see some film of Corey or if we could see some tape that'd be great,'" Robinson said. "But when he said they would offer me a full ride. I don't even know. I was amazed. I looked at my dad and my mom and my coach and was like, 'What did he say? Is he serious?' I was very, very excited."

In seconds an uncertain recruitment turned into something altogether different. Robinson had yet to receive an offer until Cooks reached out. The message and follow-up conversation served as Robinson's first contact with the Irish.

Cooks impressed upon his newest target that he and the rest of the coaching staff, from Brian Kelly on down, are serious about their pursuit.

"He was telling me how excited they are to offer me and how they really want me on their team," Robinson said. "That kind of stuff. He wanted to get me in contact with the offensive staff."

Whatever Notre Dame sees in Robinson is no surprise given his athletic bloodlines, although the fact he's football prospect is a mild upset.

The family name carries cache in San Antonio and beyond because Robinson's father David is kind of a big deal. He played college basketball at Navy before being selected by the Spurs with the first overall pick in the 1987 draft. He went on to win two championships and go down as one of the best centers in NBA history.

Yes, that David Robinson, who retired in 2003 and earned election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of a 2009 class that included Michael Jordan, John Stockton and coach Jerry Sloan.

"He's usually telling me you've got to be a leader and lead by example," Corey Robinson said. "When you're on the court you've gotta be the hardest working one out there because people who have talent, they might fall by the wayside because they don't want to work as hard as everyone else. You've gotta outwork everybody and that's how success comes."

It's only been in the last couple years that Robinson has taken to the gridiron with realistic hopes to play beyond high school. At first he tried out for the team just to play with his brother, but over time his ability started to show.

In January he attended to the U.S. Army Combine at the Alamodome.

But it was last season that Robinson started to realize his own potential. San Antonio Christian receivers coach and offensive coordinator Brandon Parrott could see the light bulb flick on for the junior.

"He's not even close to what he can be," said Parrott, who played college ball at Kansas. "The reason I say that is because it was just this last season that he was realizing himself that he could be pretty good. He's done what I've told him to do, he's done what he's been coached to do. He's just been out there playing. But it hadn't clicked that, 'Hey man, I could actually be pretty good at this.' This last season it finally clicked."

Since the combine last month more college programs have checked in. Air Force, Baylor, Duke, Navy, Northwestern, Rice, Stanford, Texas-San Antonio, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest have all expressed interest.

While contact with Notre Dame is preliminary, it might be the most familiar program on the list. He and his father attended the Navy game last fall along with some family friends.

Robinson left impressed.

"Everyone was really into the game when we went," Robinson said. "A lot of alumni came back and I thought that was really cool. I actually got to tour a little bit of the campus because we were with some alumni. I just loved the openness and the space. The game, everybody was into it and I loved the tradition with the pushups. That was awesome."

In the near term Robinson plans to remain open about the recruiting process, something that is admittedly new.

Notre Dame jumping into the mix could trigger more offers, but that's only one factor that comes into play. Parrott sees a prospect that will be coveted by programs across the country once they realize the receiver's talent.

"Corey is the combination coaches are looking for with size, athletic ability, great academics, great grades and outstanding character," Parrott said. "He's a special one."



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