Cornerback combines speed and power

Fast defensive backs are really not that uncommon. And over-achieving DBs, willing to hit a ton, are also available. But it's a rare athlete that combines both speed and power, and Travis Robinson is the prototype.

Listed at 5-10, 180, Hillcrest's Travis Robinson has good-enough height for cornerback. But it's his combination of speed (4.3 clocking in the 40) and hitting ability that make him special.

NOTE: Robinson was timed at 4.22 at the NIKE Camp hosted by Auburn. That number is certainly exaggerated, but Robinson's reputation for speed is legitimate.

Robinson does a little bit of everything on the high school level, catching passes, returning punts and manning the cornerback position.

Like most good high school athletes, Robinson does a little bit of everything. He plays some wide receiver on offense and also returns punts. But his potential as a shut-down corner is what has college recruiters drooling.

Robinson is powerfully built for a prep DB, but he also changes directions well--crucial for a cornerback. He turns and runs with the wide receiver easily.

At this point in his career Robinson rarely gets a chance to display his coverage skills. Usually, opposing quarterbacks wisely choose to challenge someone else. But he still manages to make his presence known.

Against Birmingham's Wenonah High School in a recent game, the receiver caught a short flare-out pass in the flat. Robinson closed fast, belting the man to the ground and setting the early tone for the Hillcrest defense.

Robinson's man quickly became intimidated, displaying "alligator arms" on the few passes thrown his way the rest of the game.

He rarely got a chance to use it on his own man, but Robinson showed good closing speed chasing down the play from the backside. When he arrives, Robinson uses good tackling form.

Without doubt Robinson is a dominant player on the high school level. The only question is whether or not his skills will transfer to the college game.

The actual number is certainly exaggerated, but Robinson's 4.22 clocking in the 40 at the NIKE Camp shows his relative speed.

He's not the tallest secondary prospect out there. But within reasonable limits, strength, speed and football instincts are more important to a cornerback than mere inches.

Importantly the Tide coaches have worked out Robinson in person at last summer's mini-camp. They know his correct height and speed.

In addition to Alabama, Robinson has also scheduled official visits to Auburn, Clemson and South Carolina. He's considering LSU, Arkansas and Florida for his fifth visit.

Besides Robinson, Hillcrest High School sports at least two and maybe three definite division IA caliber athletes. Tailback Marcus Manson and offensive tackle Cody Davis have already been offered by the Tide--and a host of other schools. Middle linebacker Kris Guyton appears to be on the verge of an offer by Alabama.

As good as those other three athletes are, Robinson could be the best college prospect of them all.

Other recruiting prospects on the Hillcrest squad include safety Jake Wingo (the son of former Tide linebacker and strength coach Rich Wingo), linebacker Titus Brown, cornerback Kendrick Davis and linebacker/fullback JeBron Manson.

A Tuscaloosa native, Robinson has taken several unofficial visits to Alabama practices and games.

Robinson takes his stance at cornerback.

After Saturday's close loss to Tennessee, he told's Andrew Bone "The game was crazy! It was very good. The fans were there for the team. Alabama played really good."

As evidenced by his physique, Robinson works hard in the weight room. Last summer he reported a 300-pound bench press, 455 on the squat and a power clean of 285.

RECRUITING NOTE: Robinson is being pursued by a number of big-time schools, but at this point he could probably be considered an Alabama lean.

Read all of the recent recruiting stories on Alabama recruits from

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