Injured Robinson Helping Teammates

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson talks to injured Antwain Robinson about Little Rock Central's chances to repeat its state title run. This story is sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. It's free and so is a special offer to attend a Razorback event on the Arkansas Toyota Dealers website. Click on a banner to find out the details.

Little Rock Central's Antwain Robinson would much rather be back out on the field this season, but a season-ending injury has him doing his best impersonation of a coach on crutches.

That's the role he was playing on the sidelines last Friday night as the defending Class AAAAA Tigers (3-0) rolled to a 35-0 mercy-rule rout of homestanding Cabot and recorded their third straight shutout to start the season.

"It's disappointing not to be out on the field helping out, but at least I can be at the games and talk to the younger guys about what they should be doing out there," said Robinson, who has a scholarship offer from the University of Arkansas. "They are all playing well right now. Our defense has been great."

Robinson (6-1, 235) was scheduled to switch from defensive end to his projected college position of linebacker this season, but was diagnosed this summer with osteochondritis dissecans - a disorder that occurs when there is a loss of blood supply to an area of bone underneath a joint surface.

That led to surgery and he had hopes of rehabbing quickly enough to play in the state playoffs, but Robinson was told last week that won't happen.

"So it's a matter of doing what I can to help my teammates get there by encouraging them, helping them understand the game and maybe seeing some stuff from the sidelines to help them," Robinson said.

The Central defense, which was dominant during its 14-0 championship run last season, is without current UA freshman defensive lineman Fred Bledsoe, Robinson and future Razorback Freddie Fairchild, who is at Hargrave Military Academy this season.

But Robinson, who had 12 sacks and 82 tackles last season, amazingly believes the 2004 defense is better than the 2003 one.

"People might think I am crazy for saying that, but our defense is just so much quicker this year and we are still just smothering people," Robinson said.

There are some already penciling in a championship game matchup between Little Rock Central and Springdale, perhaps the state's best offensive force.

"I've heard they are pretty good, but we only worry about the next game and that's what has helped us be so successful," Robinson said.

Robinson is just one of four sure-fire D-I prospects that Central is blessed with this season with safety Kevin Thornton (6-2, 190), wideout Stewart Franks (6-2, 190) and running back Mickey Dean (5-10, 200).

"I know Arkansas would like for all of us to come up there and play together, but they also do a good job of recruiting as just individuals," Robinson said. "We all have a lot of love for Arkansas."

Robinson's only offer right now is from Arkansas, but he says that Florida and Tennessee have stayed in contact and he would like to take visits to all three of those places.

"I'm not really in a hurry to make a decision," Robinson said.

o o o

Now that Arkansas' hoops team has a commitment from 6-1, 180-pound point guard Sean McCurdy of Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony's, it has turned its full attention to the big men.

Tow of the five players who appear to be in the mix are 6-9, 235-pound Cyrus McGowan of Meridian, Miss., and 6-9, 230-pound Calvin Hampton of New Hampton Prep by way of Fort Washington, Md.

Both are scheduled to visit Arkansas this weekend.

There's also 6-9, 230-pound Jeremy Mayfield (who has plans to visit Arkansas on Oct. 23-25) of Fort Worth, 6-9, 220-pound Michael Washington of McGehee and 6-10, 212-pound RouSean Cromwell, a former Memphis Fairley prep star now at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

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