Quarterback Philip Rivers burst onto the scene at NC State and would ultimately go down as one of the greatest players ever to suit up for the Pack. While nothing can be taken away from Rivers, it certainly didn’t hurt that he had one of the most electrifying wide receivers ever to don the red and white to throw to during his freshman season. Koren Robinson may have arrived in Raleigh with little fanfare but by the time he left, was generally considered to be one of the nation’s top wideouts.
Playing for South Point High School in Belmont, NC, Robinson was barely an afterthought on the recruiting trail back in 1998. Despite rushing for better than 1,700 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior, he generated interest primarily from NC State, Clemson and UNC and was ranked just the No. 41 player in North Carolina by the Fayetteville Observer.
Interestingly, Robinson never played wide receiver before arriving at NC State although it didn’t take long for him to make a splash at his new position. After redshirting the 1998 season, Robinson established himself as a player to watch during the 1999 spring game when he pulled down five receptions for 99 yards and three touchdowns in addition to a 96 yard kickoff return for a score.
Those accomplishments were clearly a harbinger of things to come as Robinson put together one of the best freshman seasons ever for a Wolfpack wide receiver back in 1999. He led the team with 48 receptions for 853 yards- a league record for a rookie. What made Robinson’s stats even more incredible was the fact he only had eight catches during the first five games of the year. Over the last six contests he totaled 42 receptions. His biggest game came against Georgia Tech when he snagged five receptions for 168 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown catch.
Teaming up with Rivers, 2000 was even bigger for Robinson. He finished off that year a Biletnikoff semifinalist after catching 62 passes for 1,061 yards. Robinson broke Torry Holt’s record when he posted his 15th career 100+ yard receiving game against Minnesota in the Micron PC Bowl game. At the time, Robinson and Holt were the only two receivers in NC State history to have better than 1,000 yards receiving in a season... a feat extremely impressive when you consider Robinson did it in just two seasons.
Robinson would also garner all-american honors that season from Football News (2nd team) and the AP (3rd team).
During his brief two-year career on the field for the Wolfpack, Robinson finished up fifth in school history with 1,914 receiving yards and seventh in receptions with 110. It is quite likely that, had Robinson used up all four years of eligibility at NC State, would have gone down as the team career leader in virtually every wide receiver statistical category.
One can only wonder what would have been had Robinson decided to stay at NC State and spend his final two seasons teamed up with Philip Rivers. As it was, he gave Wolfpack fans two of the most exciting years ever at the wide receiver spot after many felt there would never be another that could come close to matching the exploits of Torry Holt.