In December of 2005, everything happened pretty quickly for Robby Armstrong at Franklin Regional High School in western Pennsylvania. In early December the Panthers defeated Pottsville 23-13 for the AAA state championship (AAAA is the largest school division), and a couple of weeks later the University of Cincinnati entered the recruiting picture. That picture had included only Navy and several Division IAA schools like Maine and New Hampshire, but UC's interest made for a more interesting Holiday season at the Armstrong household. "UC started recruiting me right during the Holidays. Toledo had been recruiting me since April, but that didn't work out. I came to UC on the 14th of January for my visit."
One of the reasons for his slow recruitment had to do with a severe foot injury sustained in the second game of his junior year that ended his season. He reportedly still has plates in that foot. His senior season was much better but not entirely injury free. Robby explained. "I tried to hurdle a safety. Instead of diving like most guys, he kind of threw me up. I came down and snapped my arm. I was out the rest of that game and one after that, but I played the rest of the year." Robby played in fourteen of his team's fifteen games in 2005.
Armstrong is a 6' 2"/200 pounder that reported 4.5 speed in the forty. His strong senior year allowed him to garner quite a bit of post season recognition. "I was first team all-conference and first team all-state. I was also up for the Mercury Award." The Mercury Award honors the eight best players in western Pennsylvania. Robby joined his high school teammate John Malecki (OT) as two of the eight nominees. The award was won by Dorin Dickerson (RB) who will join Malecki at Pitt.
Scout recruiting guru, Bob Lichtenfels, had nothing but praise for this new Bearcat. "Armstrong is your typical western PA lunch pail type kid. He works hard and keeps quiet doing it. Armstrong primarily played running back for Franklin Regional, but with his size and athleticism, he projects as a linebacker. He has had a history of injuries that caused some schools to back off. If healthy, the sky is the limit for him." Lichtenfels also suggested that both Pitt and Penn State may have been suitors if Armstrong had remained healthy.
Since Robby is such a versatile athlete, BCI asked if Coach Dantonio offered any clues as to his college position. "He told me I'm a skill player that could play running back or linebacker depending on how my hips move. He said I could also end up at safety or defensive back." Robby was then asked his preference. "I obviously would like to play as soon as I could, and it sounds like there may be more opportunities at linebacker than running back. I've always been a running back so I like it, but they said they already have two kids in the mix at that spot." Did that mean two recruits or two veterans already on the roster? "They were talking about two players already on the roster."
Academics shouldn't be a problem for this young man since he reports a 3.8 GPA and a 1150 on the SAT, which should easily qualify him. He plans to major in pharmacy.
Despite being from Pittsburgh, Armstrong isn't really much of a fan of his hometown college. "Honestly, I'm more of a Steelers fan. I really haven't kept up with Pitt. I did go to three or four games this year, but it was because the tickets were free."
Back in 1933, CBS radio had Jack Armstrong, the All American Boy. Let's hope in 2009, Cincinnati has Robby Armstrong, the All-American.
Bearcat Insider will be posting video highlights of Robby Armstrong later this week.