Introducing the 2004 Class: Dale Robinson

Obtaining recruits east of the Mississippi is a rare feat not only for ASU, but also for all other Pac-10 schools. However, when these players first land at local Glendale Community College, coming to Tempe seems much less improbable than usual. The state of New York has already produced one current Sun Devil, Chris McKenzie, which aided in the signing of junior college transfer and childhood friend Dale Robinson.

Dale Robinson became familiar with Tempe and the Sun Devils a few months before playing his first game at Glendale. "I came down here a lot to ASU and hung out with the guys," he recalled. "I knew they would be cool players to play with. Chris McKenzie showed me the stadium, the locker room; I went to some basketball games… The players were always asking me: ‘are you gonna come to ASU?' That made me feel even more comfortable."

While playing at C.W. Post, a New York Division II program, McKenzie who's family lives just a few houses down from Robinson's, convinced the linebacker that he would better suited to play at the Community College level. Robinson who tallied a team-high 97 tackles at C.W. Post, following a senior year which saw him set a school-record 118 tackles at Holy Cross High School, felt confident that he could make that challenging transition on and off the field. "I was really dominating at C.W. Post," he noted, "and I thought if I could come here to Glendale I really can give it a chance and play at a higher level."

It goes without saying that a cross-country move requires a high degree of acceptance from one's family. Robinson didn't encounter any resistance in that area. "My parents knew I was gonna go to a junior college," he stated, "and that I didn't consider going to a school close to home. I was gonna go to Glendale because of Chris, or go to California where my coaches knew some other coaches out there…my parents were OK with all of that, and said that they will help any way they can."

In a midst of a season, which would culminate with a 2003 first-team All-Western States Football League selection, ASU started to step up their recruitment of Robinson. "I spoke to coach Nordquist in the middle of my sophomore year," said the linebacker. "He was telling me how he was evaluating my film and how much he liked what he saw. He told me all about the defense, what they're doing here, and what they're trying to accomplish. He made me feel very comfortable. He was very upfront and wasn't trying to hide anything like some other coaches…other schools tell you that you're gonna start right away. They make it sound like you don't have to work hard and prove yourself."

Prior to ASU, Temple and Colorado State were the first ones to offer scholarships. Washington State's offer followed shortly after ASU's. The linebacker mentioned a few reasons why he chose the Sun Devils as the school of his choice. "Temple was close to home," he remarked, "but they're not a real wining team. I didn't have anything against Colorado State or Washington State, but I just felt more comfortable at ASU because I knew so many of the players. That's why Chris was such a big part of my decision. If I didn't know him, I wouldn't get to meet all the players."

"I've been to the campus before," continued Robinson. "It was a hard adjustment for me when I first came out here, and if I didn't have to, I didn't want to start all over again moving to a different state. I like the school, the coaches, and players. I know I made a good choice."

Robinson did admit that his decision to attend Glendale Community College was "one the best decisions I ever made. It changed my life, and a lot of good things happened because of it." Nonetheless, he does admit that he wasn't smooth sailing from day one. "When I first came out here," he said, "it was a hard because everything was so different. But I really like the weather out here. The people are nice. They're more laid back and calm compared to New York (smile)." He's not sure if he will make his home here in Arizona (or the West Coast) after his football career is over, but that won't change his mind about the culinary difference between Tempe and New York. "The Pizza and the Chinese food here is nothing like New York (smile)…"

New York has rarely been considered fertile grounds for football recruiting. Robinson remarked that the differences between football, and the sport of choice, basketball, can be sharply defined. "A lot of guys play football in New York," he said. "But it's really not organized. That's why, no matter how good you are – it's really hard to get recruited out there. You'll see a team playing, and players on the same team will have different helmets. Some players have cleats and others have sneakers. There's more money put into basketball than football…people don't come out to the games like they do for basketball. I played basketball for a while, so I know how it is. Any park you go to you'll see people playing basketball."

The ASU junior to-be was selected as the 2003 Defensive Player of the Year in the Western States Football League, following his 114 tackles, 10 quarterback sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumbles performance that year. He led the No. 8 Gauchos in tackles en route to a 9-2 campaign. When asked to self assess his skills he replied: "I'm real quick to the ball, and I'm a good blitzer. That's why I have so many sacks. I need to work better on my zone and man-to-man coverage."

The change to the defensive 4-3 scheme was a popular theme during his recruitment by ASU. "It definitely played a factor," exclaimed Robinson. "If they still played a 4-2-5, and I knew I wouldn't have a chance to start, I probably wouldn't have come to ASU even if Chris was here. With the new defense I know I have a chance…the players told me that the coaches always say that they will play the best players. That's all I want. I've been playing competitive football for most of my life, and I'm used to competing for a position. The competition only makes you better." Robinson added that he will contend with Jamar Williams at the Backer position and Matt Fawley at the Devil position.

One issue concerning Robinson carries no ambiguity, and that is the prospects of participating in the 2004 season. "The coaches told me that I'm definitely gonna play right away, because they want me out there," he said. "The coaches told me how good I'd be in the scheme because of my blitzing ability. They tell me that they're expecting big things out of me and I should be ready. So I'll have to work real hard, and we'll see what happens in camp."

The linebacker, who's academically qualified, is spending these days conditioning with the rest of the team. He told us that his efforts aren't necessarily confined to the weight room or practice field. "I'm staying with Chris, Riccardo Stewart, R.J. Oliver, and Emmanuel Franklin. Coach Guy gave me the study guide, so I study it between workouts and ask the players questions about it. It's kinda cool that I have those guys helping me out." But not to worry, it hasn't been a dull summer thus far for Robinson. "Oh, I definitely still play video games (smile). I know how important it is to study all the plays, but I still have my fun as well."

For Robinson, it has indeed been a remarkable and long journey from the streets of Queens to his new stomping grounds in Tempe. The linebacker feels truly blessed at all that has transpired in the last few years. "I'm amazed at all the things that have happened to me in my young life," he said. "I'm very happy where I am right now, and I believe that all things do happen for a reason. We'll see what happens next." The maroon and gold faithful will also eagerly anticipate his impact in 2004…

Recruit Profile


Dale Robinson

Community College

Glendale (Ariz.) Community College







Date of Birth



New York, New York


"I didn't have one."

Favorite TV Show


Favorite Movie

"Training Day."

Favorite Singer/Band

"50 Cent."

Favorite Food

"Fried Chicken and Macaroni and Cheese."

Favorite Drink

"Fruit Punch."

Favorite Athlete

"Ray Lewis."

Favorite Pro Team

"New York Knicks."

Person you most admire

"My parents. They supported me in everything that I did. The supported me coming all the way out here away from home."

First Football Memory

"My first year in Pop Warner. I was eight years old, and we went undefeated that season."

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I'm a calm mellow guy, but once you get you know me you'll see that I have a good sense of humor."

Why did you choose ASU?

"I really felt comfortable there. I knew a lot about the school from Chris (McKenzie)."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"Whatever I'm doing, football or just working, I just want to be successful and know that I'm getting everything I can out of life."

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