February 10, 2009

Coaches marvel at Robinson's go-get-it ability

Canton South HS coach Moe Daniska was working the phones Monday, talking to wide receiver Jerald Robinson one minute and Ohio State offensive coordinator Jim Bollman the next. When he hung up with Robinson, he had bad news for the Buckeyes …

"They had shown a lot of interest but when Coach Bollman called me Monday, it was too late - Jerald had already committed to Michigan," Daniska said. "I had advised Jerald to keep his options open and not to rush into anything but when I spoke to him, he was so excited and told me 'Michigan is where I want to be.'

"I'm proud of him, happy for him. I'm a big fan of Rich Rodriguez. We run pretty much the same offense and defense he ran at West Virginia. He's treated both Jerald and me with such great respect and I really appreciate that. Some coaches here [in Ohio] might have a problem with one of their kids going to Michigan, but not me. I think it's a great fit."

A 6-2, 175-pounder, ranked the No. 15 player in Ohio according to BuyckeyeGrove.com's early forecast, Robinson made 34 grabs for 756 yards with seven touchdowns in his junior season.

"He's such a natural at the receiver position," Daniska said. "He's got a basketball background - in fact I had to talk him into coming out for the team as a sophomore - and he can just leap out of the gym.

"I've heard the knock on him, that he's not fast enough, but I told every college coach that asked me about him, 'Go watch our film, watch him get behind the corners and safeties and make the big catch when we needed it.'

"Maybe if he's trying to break free for a 60-yard run he gets caught from behind but I'd rather have the kid that comes down with it when we throw the ball 40 yards down the sideline, and he does every time."

While Robinson has decent speed (4.59 40-yard dash) for a wideout, it is considered very good for a safety. He excelled defensively for Canton South in 2008, recording 56 tackles, 11 pass break ups, seven interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

"We put him back there because we had graduated our safety and I figured that if they threw the ball up in the air he would at least make a play on it," Daniska said. "What we didn't expect was how physical he would be. He did a tremendous job stuffing the run, coming up and laying a hit on anyone that got past the linebackers. He could go to Michigan and play safety because he's such a great athlete."

At least one rival coach, Dover's Dan Ifft, thinks Robinson's future lies on the defensive side of the ball. The Rivals250 Junior to Watch picked off three first-half passes against Dover in the state playoffs, forcing Ifft to adopt a strategy he doesn't often employ.

"We throw the ball around pretty well, and I trust my quarterback completely, but in that first half, every time we threw to Robinson's side of the field we got burned," Ifft said. "At the half, I grabbed my quarterback and said, 'I know you've got pride on the line and so do I but we have to avoid this kid. You find No. 4 every time you drop back and you throw somewhere else.'

"We were able to come back in that second half and it was entirely because we didn't test him. The kid is just a playmaker. I know why they love him as a receiver because there is no ball that he doesn't expect to come down with."

And receiver is where he'll play.

"Jerald wants to play on offense and I have absolute confidence that he'll succeed there at Michigan," Daniska said.







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