The younger Robinson projects as linebacker or safety at the collegiate level, potentially sliding around as a rover. The defensive career for CU’s first 2018 commit began with a hand in the dirt.
“He’s a really hard worker. He’s played football since he was eight, he played defensive end and linebacker up until he got to high school. When he was a freshman the defensive coaches wanted to move him back to safety, give him a shot there,” Mark said of Ray.
“To be honest with you I didn’t think it would work. I thought they’d move him right back up to linebacker, but it turned out to be great for him. He has the ability to play sideline to sideline in Cover-3, which really helps us out when we’re in that coverage. He still has the hitting mentality of a linebacker.”
Colorado has pitched the prospect of putting Ray at outside linebacker with position specification depending on how the 2018 prospect develops. The Buffs might even work him into the offense. Gaining 15-20 pounds of good weight and maintaining speed are goals for the Robinsons.
“Maybe even play slot back or fullback for them,” Mark continued on positions CU is considering.
“He’s going to have to make sure he stays in the weight room, put on more weight and size. We’ve been up there and we’ve seen the size of the players on the team. He’s going to have to get a little more mass on his body to handle that kind of play. He’s going to have to put that mass on and keep his speed at the same time.”
Ray was quickly initiated into the CU commit group chat, a text-based gathering of future Buffaloes. The Highlands Ranch junior wasn’t worried about becoming the first to pledge to #CUin18, but that’s not to say he will not take on a recruiting role similar 2017 CU commit Jonathan Van Diest. Colorado State was the other main school in play thanks to a family connection to Rams defensive coordinator Marty English.
“I don’t think that was important to him at all, I’ve got to shoot you straight. I don’t think there were any issues with that. The phone calls, the texts all that stuff coming from coaches and everything else. The other school he considered really hard was CSU,” Mark said when asked if it was important for Ray to be the first to join CU’s 2018 class.
“I know coach English, not because it was my son, I think coach English treats all of his players the right way. From me: Don’t discount CSU when coach English is a guy I know and I’ve known him for over 25 years, he treats his players well.”
As you can tell, Mark Robinson is a noted Marty English fan. Rightfully so after Mark played for the CSU assistant years ago at Northern Colorado.
The big draws for Ray in his commitment to CU included the “tremendous league” known as the Pac-12. Colorado’s scholarship offer this past summer caught the Robinsons off guard.
“The process is really weird. To be honest with you I got a call to come up to CU, come up and see our junior day. I thought they were just being nice,” Mark said of recruiting.
“I had no clue they were going to give Ray an offer. Kathy, that’s my wife, and I were driving home, we were both stunned. We were like ‘we cannot believe that just happened.’”
Other factors in Ray’s pledge included family members pulling for the Buffs – his grandfather played baseball at CU in the 1950s – and the recruiting efforts of CU’s Jim Jeffcoat. The Buffs’ defensive line coach helped close, so he’s entitled to a Texas-sized mug of coffee.
“You should have seen my secretaries, they were just in love with [Jeffcoat] when he came into the school. They all knew about him, big Cowboys fans. I was laughing, I thought it was hilarious they all wanted their pictures with him. He was very gracious about it,” Mark added on CU’s recruiting.
Highlands Ranch’s head man added that it takes a team of coaches to get the job done. There has been a rise in CU’s local efforts with a tip of the cap to co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini.
“What I’ve seen is that they’re much more aggressive right now. It’s not necessarily the state of Colorado, all over. I’m shocked at what they’re able to pull in,” Mark said the Buffs’ efforts on the trail.
“A few of those recruits stayed at my house this summer, from the 2017 class, and I was shocked at the schools they’re turning down to attend CU.”
From the sound of things, the Robinsons slammed the brakes on recruiting following the CU commitment so Ray can enjoy the rest of his high school career. Ray plans to run track again this spring where he aspires to reach the state podium in the 100 and 200-meters.
“To be honest I think [Ray] wants [recruiting] over so he can concentrate on his senior year and just be a high school senior again and not be a recruit,” Mark said.
“My big goal for him is to have fun. You now know where you’re going to school so you don’t have to worry about anybody else coming in trying to recruit you. Just play football and have fun your senior year.”