Miami Cornerback Impresses UI, Gets Offer

Sometimes a high school football player doesn't find his best position until late in his career, making it harder to receive recruiting attention. That may be true for Miami athlete Lamar Robbins, who played receiver all his life but may have found his calling as a cornerback when switched there last season. The Illini like him enough at corner to offer a scholarship.

Lamar Robbins has seen his college scholarship offer list grow since moving from receiver to cornerback last season. Illinois offered him recently as well.

"I was actually sitting in class, and my coach came in and told me about it. I started going crazy, running around. My teacher asked me what I was so happy about. I was very pleased with the offer."

He has plenty of offers, but many have been from smaller schools. The Illini are among his major offers.

"I have offers from Illinois, FIU, Michigan State, South Florida, West Virginia and Western Kentucky. I think I have 25 offers altogether."

The 6'-3", 180 pounder may have found his niche on defense.

"Wide receiver is my primary position; I've played it all my life. Last year I was moved over to the defensive side of the ball, and I played corner. I was pretty much a lock-down corner, so that's probably why I'm being recruited. Illinois says they're recruiting me for pretty much anything."

Robbins has an advantage going against rival receivers because he understands how they think.

"I know what the receiver is gonna run before he runs it. I had five interceptions last season. I led the team."

The Miami product likes his skills on offense as well.

"As a receiver, I've got great footwork, I run great routes. I am 6'-3" and have a 37 inch vertical jump, so I can out-jump defensive backs for balls. I've got excellent speed also."

When timed in the 40 yard dash, Robbins excelled despite a lack of preparation.

"Actually, when I was timed in the 40, I was told only a couple of seconds before I ran. I wasn't prepared, but I still ran a 4.56."

Robbins is looking for a college that can be a home away from home.

"I'm just trying to find a great environment, a place where I can feel like I'm home when I'm there. If I have that, I won't even come back home."

Illinois offensive coordinator and receiver coach Billy Gonzales recruits Miami, and he's made a big impression on the youngster thanks to his honesty.

"Billy Gonzales is my recruiting coach. Right now I'm impressed. Some coaches say I can pretty much start. But he only says I can come in and compete and work my way into a starting job. I like the idea of having to compete and perform."

Like many athletes, Robbins has no way to take unofficial visits during the summer. But he wants to check out the Illini before deciding on a school.

"I plan to take an official visit to Illinois because I can't really leave the state on an unofficial visit."

Miami Southridge figures to have an outstanding team this fall. Robbins may need to show off even more versatility than last year.

"We went to the third round of the playoffs last year. Our whole team was pretty much juniors. Pretty much the whole defense is coming back, everybody that started except three guys.

"On offense, we have an up-and-coming quarterback. The coach said to fill a need, I have the athleticism to play quarterback. So we'll be all right. I will be playing both receiver and corner this year."

Robbins says he might decide on a school during his senior season. He's reluctant to list any leaders.

"That's a good question. I'm trying to keep my choices open, especially after the offers that came in this spring."

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