Nebraska has sights on Arizona QB

With Arizona State transfer Sam Keller the favorite to start. And with two new quarterbacks already on campus, the thought is that for the class of 2008 the quarterback position is a nice get, but not necessarily a need. Nebraska, however, has already gone after a few quarterbacks in earnest, one of those from Arizona, and he talked about just how interested he is in the big red.

Hamilton High School (Chandler, AZ) standout Gerell Robinson is listed as a commit to the Arizona Wildcats. It was once a solid verbal, at least that was before this year. Since that time, while Gerrell said he's still a commit to head coach Mike Stoops' team, his options are completely wide open. "I'd say I am a soft verbal right now, because I just want to make sure I am making the right decision for me," Gerell said.

Not surprising that Robinson is doing that, especially considering the fact that his original commitment date was way back in November of 2006. At the time it seemed like the perfect choice, because it was close and it seemed that they had everything he could want.

Since that time, as he's had more time to think about it, and especially when studying just what position he'd like to play, he's opted to explore many schools around the country.

"I know I have been offered to play three positions right now; quarterback, free safety and receiver," he said. "I'm really leaning toward either receiver or playing quarterback."

The receiver position came out of luxury last year, Robinson, a long-time signal-caller now being utilized at his new school (Gerell was at Desert Vista in 2005), the coaches there trying to take advantage of everything he could do. And while Robinson looks at his future on the offensive side, the 50 tackles and eight interceptions he totaled from the defensive side obviously lends some reasoning as to why many schools think his future is in stopping those with the ball rather than being the one with the ball every snap.

But that's one of the things Robinsons loves about being a starting QB. "I like to think of myself as a playmaker and playmakers always want the ball in their hands," Gerell said. "At quarterback you have that chance every single snap to do something special to help your team."

He'll have that chance this year as well, as Robinson is being moved back to the position he's played most of his football career.

With the emphasis he has in his mind about playing offense, one of the biggest criteria Gerell is using in deciding whether to stay a Wildcat or go someplace is, is obviously who does what. It doesn't have to be a cut-loose-and-let-it-fly offense, ala Texas Tech, but he wouldn't mind if it was pretty close. "I guess I would like to play in something that's either pro-style or a run n' gun type offense. I just want there to be a lot of opportunities where I can make some plays."

The plays don't have to be restricted to what Robinson can do with his arm, though, when you can throw the ball 75 yards (Robinson says he has that feat on video), it's certainly a major weapon for the team. It's one of his main strengths, other than his arm, which he thinks gives him great versatility on the field. "I can run, and I think that my ability to be able to make plays with my feet is really big in avoiding the pass rush and creating lanes to throw when the blocking or the play may break down," he said.

To the schools he's looking at, the offers are obviously coming in, and the choices Gerell has in front of him continue to grow, almost on a weekly basis. But right now he said that the "front-runners" are as follows:

"Right now it would have to be USC, LSU, Arizona, Nebraska and Alabama," he said.

I know what many of you are thinking, seeing that "USC" pop up, wondering if they have any real interest in this Arizona standout. The common belief, and it would be hard to deny it for the most part, is that USC doesn't recruit so much as they pick who they want on their team.

Robinson said that USC is obviously great for all the obvious reasons, and the contact with them has actually increased quite a bit over the last half of the month, but he plans on putting them on the same playing field as everyone else. "Coach (Nick) Holt, one of the recruiters in this area from USC – the contact between USC and me has really picked up," he said. "But I don't consider them above anyone else. It's not like that with me. I don't look at the usual stuff as much as I do the stuff that means the most to me. And you can't tell that about anyone by just what you see on TV," he said.

As to Nebraska, Robinson said that while Arizona was the first to offer him, the Huskers were the second, their written offer coming in the mail just two days after the one from the Wildcats. The only thing was, Robinson had never had any contact of any kind with the big red before, not even a letter, so he seriously wondered if the offer was actually for real.

"I didn't think it was a legit offer. I had never gotten anything from them before and then here's the offer. I thought someone was playing with me," he said. But he's learned since that time that it was indeed the real thing. "I've gotten to learn a little bit about them. I remember watching them when they were really good, when they had Eric Crouch as the quarterback," he said. "I know I like their offense. The numbers they put up last year were great, and after seeing them against Colorado, I knew I would definitely be interested in them."

There is another storyline to this, at least from an interest aspect, and that's the fact that former Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller will be playing his senior year in Lincoln. Robinson never did understand what that whole situation was about, but he did say that he'll be very interested to see what he can do. "I saw him play at Arizona State and I am definitely curious to see how he does," Robinson said of Keller. "I know he can throw it, but with this being a different conference, I am interested to see how that works out."

Robinson also remarked about his surprise at not just getting the ASU transfer, but the bevy of prep stars as well. ""I just saw them racking them up from here and I was curious about how they could get so many out of the state," he said of Nebraska getting five prep commits out of Arizona this last recruiting season. "I thought that was crazy, but they are obviously doing something right."

That's what Robinson plans to do himself over the coming months, as he figures out just what he wants to do. Will he stay at Arizona or will he end up going someplace else. Following what he thinks will be a very busy off-season, Gerell hopes to have some type of conclusion before the end of the Summer.

"I want to attend some junior days, spring games and practices and maybe get to some camps too," he said. "I'll make my decision on where I go based on the kind of interest I am seeing from some of these schools. That could be anyone right now, so I'll just see how things go. I know, though, that the only decision I will make before my season, if I do make one, will be to officially decommit."

"I can't say how that will go right now though. I'll have to see how all the visits go and then sit down and think about it."

With Robinson playing quarterback for the 5A state champs from last year, knowing he's got his entire offensive line coming back, his last year of high school ball should be special. He's got all the tools to make it happen, and it looks like he will have the personnel. But it isn't how you start, it's how you finish, as Robinson would say, and that applies to everything both on and off the field.

"I think of myself as kind of leader, whether it's in football or anything else," he said. "That's what I like to do. I am looking forward to this year, because I think we'll have another good team and I will get closer to realizing what I really want to do when it comes to a college."

"It's going to be a fun year. There will be a lot of challenges along the way, but that's what makes it fun. It's never that fun when it's easy."

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