RECRUITING: Speed Kills! Robinson UF Commit

One of the fastest players ever timed at a football combine in the state of Florida says he's going to be a Florida Gator. Derrick Robinson, a do-everything athlete from Gainesville P.K. Yonge gave his verbal pledge to the Gators yesterday right after Florida beat Mississippi State, 35-9, at The Swamp on Homecoming Day.

Robinson is one of those speed kills guys, a 5-11, 168-pound speed machine who does it all on the football field for former Gator John Clifford, his coach at P.K. Yonge. He's also a brilliant center fielder in baseball, considered one of the nation's top prospects. He has followed the Gators closely this year in both football and baseball. He was was being widely recruited by other schools but he decided to put all the speculation about next year to an end Saturday after he was part of an enthusiastic crowd of 90,104 at The Swamp.

"Now I am starting to look at what they are doing and starting to want to be a part of it," he said Sunday morning. "I committed to play both baseball and football yesterday."

Robinson also told Coach Ross Jones of the Florida baseball team that he was going to play college baseball for the Gators. Coach Jones was very happy about his decision.

"Coach Jones told me it was a great decision I made and I will play center field," Robinson said.

Robinson has one of the fastest times ever recorded in the 40 yard dash when he was electronically timed in the 40 at 4.25 seconds earlier this year. He has also been timed in the 60 for baseball and ran a blazing 6.19 seconds. The speed merchant has been a frequent visitor to Florida games in recent memory.

"I have been to a lot of Gator games," he said. "I have been to all the home games this year. Last year I came to two or three. I came with my brother as an athlete."

The commitment has been kind of in the works for a while. After the offer came down a few weeks ago there was little doubt that Robinson was going to be a Gator. On Saturday, he made it as official as he could.

"I have been talking to Coach Jones and Coach (Chuck) Heater a lot," Robinson said. "I told Coach Heater I was ready to commit and he took me to Coach (Urban) Meyer and I committed. Right now they are recruiting me as a corner or a receiver. I like the spread out offense, but we never got to talk about how they would use me if I played offense."

One unknown fact about Robinson is his relation to former Gators. Robinson happens to be related to two Gators that also have spent time in the pros. He is proud of his heritage and his cousin and uncle are proud of him.

"I have family that played at Florida, my cousin Michael Nattiel and my uncle Ricky Nattiel," Robinson said. "I used to watch Mike play, and it was fun seeing family on the field. They like it a lot that I am going to be a Gator. I always wanted to be a Gator after they played there and I like that it is close to home."

There is one major hurdle for the Gators and it doesn't come in the likes of another big school trying to recruit Robinson. Derrick Robinson will most likely be one of the most highly sought after baseball prospects for the major league draft next year.

"I am expected to be drafted in baseball, but not sure what effect that will have on me playing pro baseball or not," Robinson said. "I have heard a lot of stuff about where I will be projected to play,"

For Robinson, he is just ready and happy to call himself a Gator. The local form nearby Archer will be able to settle down and finish the school year without the continuous hassles of college recruiting. "It feels good to have all the pressure off now," he said.

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