Illinois secondary coach Mike Gillhamer arrived late to the recruiting scene this year, moving from the NFL during the winter. But he has made a positive impression with several athletes including Ezra Robinson. The Sarasota, Florida, cornerback has enjoyed developing a relationship with Gillhamer.
"I really like Coach Gillhamer. He's a real down-to-earth coach. He seems to me, from my perspective, to be one of those coaches who will sit down with you and take the time to go over exactly what you need to do so you can become better.
"Of course he wants to win championships, but he wants to develop you as an individual player so you can become better. So you can be better as a team and win championships like that. You build a team to win championships.
"He's a nice guy. He's one of those guys you can call up and talk to about stuff that's on your mind."
The 6'-0", 170 pounder has outstanding speed and height for cornerback. He is looking to develop his versatility so he can play every style of coverage.
"I'm a bump-and-run type of corner. You don't see a lot of those guys these days, so I'm working a lot this summer on my footwork so I can be one of those off-playing corners as well as a bump-and-run.
"I want to be more versatile for any program that wants me, whether it be a power corner or one of those coverage guys. I want to put more stuff in my tool box that I can use. I want to have enough tools."
The thoughtful Robinson has a good idea what he wants from a college.
"Education. Football is secondary to my education because even if I make the League, football is gonna last me awhile but not forever. That's the big thing I want in a program. I want to major in Business Administration.
"In addition, I want tradition, and I want a team. A team is like a family. I don't want to go to a team where there are a bunch of people who think they are better than you, a bunch of individuals. I want a team concept, to win as brothers. I want to feel comfortable where I'm at."
He has a number of major college scholarship offers.
"I have offers from Wake Forest, North Carolina, Duke, Illinois, Iowa State, Michigan State, Tennessee, and Auburn. It's a good list; I'm satisfied."
Unfortunately, he has not yet visited any of them.
"I haven't made any college visits yet. I was about to, but my grandmother died, and I need to spend time with my family right now. I'm planning to make official visits right after the season gets over."
Illini fans can be encouraged that Robinson has no restrictions regarding distance from home. He realizes NFL players must adapt to all climatic conditions and cultural situations.
"I really don't want to stay close to home. I want to get out of Florida. I love the schools in Florida. If it comes down to it, hey. But I want to get out of Florida and see different places. I've been in Florida my whole life."
If Robinson were to list his favorite college choices, Illinois would be among them.
"I don't really have any favorites, any top schools. But I have an idea of where I want to go. Illinois would be in my top five schools right now."
Robinson has been working out with his Booker High School team, "amping them up" as he says. He feels they have a chance to be good this season.
"I expect us to be pretty good. We're kind of a small team, so we're gonna have to have a lot of heart. I feel like we have a lot of that right now. We didn't do that well last year. It was just one of those things. You can't be great all the time. We do have a lot of people coming back."