Before Alton Robinson’s college career began, it almost never happened. After a dispute with a high school girlfriend that resulted in Robinson robbing some of the woman’s belongings, Robinson’s future was unknown.
The once top 50 high school player in Texas was on his way to making a home in College Station for the next three to four years until local authorities came to his school only two weeks after National Signing Day. Facing a gray area of what to expect from Robinson and the forthcoming charges, the Texas A&M coaching staff rescinded his scholarship and Robinson was left in the dust.
Eyeing to still play football at the collegiate level, Robinson signed with Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, a national power among the National Junior College Athletic Association. Robinson dominated at the JUCO ranks being named to the All-Southwest Junior College Conference second team after positing 67 tackles and 14 sacks in his lone season.
A light shined through Robinson’s young football career when Dino Babers and Syracuse offered him a scholarship in 2017. With tight restrictions from the coaching staff and the executive athletic administration, a second chance was given.
With inconsistent evidence, the charges that hindered Robinson in 2016 were dropped.
With full backing from Syracuse, Robinson could finally focus on football wholeheartedly for the first time in over a year.
In his first season in the Carrier Dome, Robinson, sophomore, started in 10 of 12 contests leading all defensive linemen with 30 tackles with six for loss and a team-leading five sacks. With flashes of potential in his sophomore campaign, Robinson turned it up a notch in his second season. As a member of the All-ACC second team, Robinson led all his defensive line teammates in stops for the second season in a row and added 10 sacks to rank second in the conference. His efforts provided him with 17 tackles for loss ranking him third in the ACC ahead of first rounders Brian Burns (15.5) and Christian Wilkins (15).
Robinson’s pass rushing prowess is easily recognizable when Syracuse takes the field. Starting with a long 6-foot-4 frame and a near 260-pound body, Robinson shows dominant traits at the point of attack when executing properly. Robinson goes to work with a quick initial step partnering it with swift upper body movements to fight his way through traffic.
Using his extension appropriately on a timing and execution standpoint, Robinson is a near impossible rusher to stagnate. His active lower half with driving force in his upper body create the mismatch.
Checking the frame requirement box is one thing but having athleticism to complement it is a game changer. Robinson constantly showcases above average athleticism with the ability to overwhelm one-on-one matchups. Robinson’s ankle flexion and hindrance free change of direction skills have blockers swinging and missing constantly on their punches or intensely testing their instincts.
Robinson is not a finished product and still needs some polish but has many traits to mold into a dangerous pass rusher.— Christian Page (@_ChristianPage) June 20, 2019
Here, he displays attractive short area bursts and sudden COD to affect the play. #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/d55uIkxUqR
His athleticism continues to showcase as Robinson executes appreciated bend from an outside rusher. With a balanced and productive path to the quarterback, the defensive end prospect dips his shoulder displaying the flexibility to filter through contact and influence the pocket. With an athletic pair of feet to coincide with his upper body movements, he performs a near impossible angle for tackles to cleanly block. He doesn’t quite have the motorcycle lean in order to cut his route shorter, but still showcases enough flexibility to quickly pressure the pocket.
Robinson’s initial quickness and overall acceleration can go hand in hand. Going to work quickly off the snap, Robinson shows his high-level burst and explosiveness to gain initial advantage with his quickness but also being able to convert that speed into power. He does this on a habitual basis.
His acceleration can be accounted for in that regard but also when freely pursuing the ball carrier and quarterback. He quickly unlocks his hips and sprints his way to the ball.
At this time during the process, watch lists are conducted to familiarize the masses with what could be to come with certain prospects. These lists are comprised of players with numerous amounts of accolades and production but also features players with mediocre production but glimpses of potential to mold into a top-level prospect. Robinson has the production plus the traits to covet highly going into the 2019 college football season.
If adding a few more elements to his pass rushing repertoire (i.e. more diverse pass rushing routes and moves), Robinson is undoubtedly ready to make that next jump to the National Football League and meet the lofty expectations.
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