Artform

Iowa senior Derreck Robinson creates excitement by chasing quarterbacks on Saturdays. The DE also receives attention for drawing tattoos for teammates. "Art is where it's at," Robinson says. "I like drawing. That's what really interests me. Studio is the main focus of my art degree." Read more about Robinson's plans to paint the perfect ending to his Hawkeye career in this HN.com premium feature

Most Iowa fans know Derreck Robinson for his potential to become a sack artist.

The Hawkeye defensive end can do much more than paint a quarterback in a tough position, however. Robinson, or D-Rob as most of his teammates have dubbed him, plans to graduate in December with degrees in Arts and Cinema.

"As far as making films, I would like to be a part of that," the 6-foot-5, 287-pound Robinson said.

"I'd like to be behind the scenes. I want to work with special effects and animation and stuff. I took algebra and calculus in high school, and that's as far as I need to go with that.

"I've always liked history. But art is where it's at. I like drawing. That's what really interests me. Studio is the main focus of my art degree. I do portraits and things like that when I've got time".

Robinson hopes to fashion a memorable finish to a college career slowed by injuries and off of the field mistakes.

"Oh, I'm ready, man," he said. "All of that stuff, the mishaps or whatever, that's in the past. I'm moving on up; strictly football.

"You're always going to go through some bumps and stuff, but that's not nothing new to anybody that's a football player."

The Iowa coaches have written in Robinson as their starting right end. They have left it up to the player to make use of the position.

"I think Derreck Robinson is ready," Defensive Line Coach Ron Aiken said. "Derreck is a big, athletic guy that has played defensive tackle and defensive end. Derreck is a guy that has game experience. He'll be ready for the season."

Aiken said that he plans to move Robinson, Tyler Luebke and Jonathan Babineaux to different spots on the line to exploit mismatches whenever possible.

"We'll use him, Babineaux and Luebke at both tackle and end," Aiken said. "Those guys know all of the positions on defense."

D-Rob certainly looks the part of a dominant defensive end. He said that he is better focused in on all aspects of his life than in the past.

"Going to college, man, you have no choice but to grow up," Robinson said. "Just being a football player, you grow up. Doing all of the work that you have to do just to be a Division I ball player. That's a struggle automatically.

"And being in Iowa City coming from a big city (Minneapolis), you don't have no choice but to grow up. Everything is different.

"At the same time, you learn a lot of things."

Critical might be to desperate of a word to describe Robinson's senior year. But he clearly understands it's importance.

"Everybody wants to be able to make their mark in their final year and see what they can do for the next level," D-Rob said. "I just want this to be my best year academically and athletically.

"I just want it to be that when I left that I don't regret the fact that I didn't push it as hard as I could have. I want this to be one of the times in my life where I know that I gave everything that I could to be the best that I could.

"But every time you get a chance to do anything, it's an opportunity. I look at it as an opportunity to improve as a person. That's what it's really all about."

While Robinson aims to accomplish big things on the field, it takes a backseat to his academics.

"As I get older, school is so much more of an achievement to me compared to football," Robinson said. "Football is a game. All kinds of people play football. But being able to play football and go to school, that just makes it even better.

"School, that lasts forever. Ain't nobody can ever take that away from me. That's something that I try to make sure that the younger guys know."

Underclassmen are drawn to D-Rob's playful personality. He draws tattoos for some of his teammates, and also generously hands out advice if it's solicited.

"If I can change somebody for the better by being able to talk and connect with the guys individually, I will," Robinson said. "Everybody listens to the coaches. But it's a whole different thing when you've got a teammate, a comrade telling you something. That way, they can connect and feel more what you're trying to get across.

"I just try to be cool with everybody. They're my teammates. I let them know that they can always come to me with anything."

Robinson said that he and his fellow seniors lead more by example than with energetic speeches.

"We're just there for them," he said. "Sometimes if you go too far it takes away from the game. Everybody has their own roles, and that's the biggest thing. Everybody has to find that role, that position so we can all work together as a team and not miss a punch."


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