Malik Robinson has received over a dozen scholarship offers. However, North Carolina has uniquely separated itself from the pack.
“I’d say they’re first in my mind,” the 6-foot-1, 210-pound linebacker from Snellville (Ga.) South Gwinnett said. “It’s just all the coaches. I feel I have a great relationship with all the coaches. I have a great connection with Coach [Larry] Fedora, [Charlton Warren], and Coach ‘JP’ [John Papuchis]. That’s just where I feel like that’s that family feel that I’m looking for.”
Robinson’s connection with the UNC staff began with Warren, who recruits Gwinnett County for the Tar Heels.
Through that connection, Warren persuaded Robinson to visit UNC. The first chance he got was the Tar Heels’ initial junior day of the 2017 cycle in late January. There, the connection strengthened.
“It was just a great, great family feel there,” Robinson said. “All the coaches are cool there. All the coaches interacted with me. It felt like a one-on-one [visit], really – it didn’t feel like a junior day.
“Just the way the facilities are and the program is, it’s just a great, great fit.”
Contributing to the “one-on-one” feel of the junior day, Robinson met independently with Papuchis, UNC’s linebackers coach. Papuchis projects Robinson as a middle linebacker within UNC’s 4-3 scheme.
While playing outside and inside linebacker as a junior, Robinson made 101 tackles, including 15 for a loss and a pair of sacks. He also intercepted a pass and blocked a kick.
“Nothing major, [Papuchis] just said to just keep working,” Robinson said. “He wanted me to bring my family next time so that he could have some one-on-one talk with them about where I would fit into the program.”
Robinson plans to escort his family to Chapel Hill on April 2. Given his strong feelings for UNC, a commitment could take place on that day.
“I was thinking about [committing] when I come back up there,” Robinson said. “My dad and I talked about it. But, we don’t know yet. But, we’ve been talking about it.”
The biggest threats to knock UNC off the top of Robinson’s mountain are Notre Dame, South Carolina, and Virginia Tech, he says. He has visited each contender, except Notre Dame. Robinson says a South Bend visit isn’t a prerequisite for a decision.
In addition to his favorites, Robinson has visited Alabama and Florida State. Next week, he’s scheduled to travel to Vanderbilt.
After meeting with Papuchis, Robinson sat down with Fedora.
“He said that North Carolina cares about me,” Robinson said. “They love the way I work and they love the way I play. And, he said I would be great fit for their program. He wants me to get back up there and treat North Carolina like it’s my home.”
The junior day activities ended in the Smith Center with UNC handily beating Boston College.
“It was just a great experience,” Robinson said. “It was real, real live. The fans love it. It was a great feel, a great fan base – all of that.”