Butler duo hopes to help Tide

They've known each other all their lives. <br><br>The friendship didn't start budding until middle school, but by the time Kenneth Darby and Ramzee Robinson were teammates at Huntsville's Butler High, it was in full bloom.

Now, the two are preparing to report to The University of Alabama, hoping to play as true freshmen, but focusing on their education in the long run. Darby, a 5-11 running back, was the first Tider to commit in this recruiting class when he did so on June 16 of last year.

A little less than a month later, Robinson committed as well.

"I grew up following David Palmer," said Robinson, a 5-11 defensive back. "That's what really caught my attention. I heard of the Alabama tradition and I know a lot about it. It's mainly the tradition and graduation rate."

"At the same time, it was close to my home, so my parents were giving me a lot of support," Robinson said.

Although the two close friends have been known to fight over matters of no greater import than who has the best haircut, they indicated there is no competition when it comes to seeing who gets on the playing field first.

It can't happen too soon. "Our mindset is to play," Darby said. "We're not down here to redshirt, but whatever happens happens."

Robinson works on his lifting technique while Darby waits his turn.

Both players reported in excellent condition, after working out together all spring and early summer. Darby is slated to begin on offense at the A-Back position, while former quarterback Robinson will work defensively at cornerback.

Since there is no current competition on the football field--for the time being at least, where do the two compete against each other now?

"We have competitions in the classroom and in the weight room," Darby said.

Darby and Robinson are enrolled in two classes this summer, Math and Tennis. When it comes down to who makes the better grades in Math, the two seemed to disagree.

"So far, I'm doing a little better," Darby said.

"That's a lie," Robinson quickly responded.

But the interesting class the two are taking is Tennis, which has helped them improve in aspects valuable to the game of football.

"It really is a lot of work," Darby said. "There's a lot of fundamentals you have to learn about tennis. It helps you on your footwork and quickness, and that's one of the reasons I took tennis. It's fun once you learn how to play."

However, there is another (completely teenaged) reason that the two chose Tennis as their first P.E. class in college. And it involves perhaps the two best female tennis players in the world, Venus and Serena Williams.

"We like the Williams sisters a lot," Robinson said. "We want to meet them."

And not surprisingly, once again there could be some more competition between the two friends.

Both Darby and Robinson said they favored Serena a little bit more than Venus.

"Serena, that's who I'm out for," Robinson said. "She's the short one. I don't like tall girls."

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