A few periods into Friday morning’s practice inside Notre Dame Stadium, Corey Robinson emerged from the tunnel in a blue tracksuit. It was the first glimpse of the senior receiver since the concussion he suffered during Notre Dame’s first week of spring practice.
It’s still unclear if Robinson will return to the sidelines this fall in uniform.
“He understands that he’s gotta make a decision here pretty quickly,” said head coach Brian Kelly. “My expectation is that we’ll have something soon.”
What is clear is that Robinson is in a better frame of mind about his future beyond football after meeting with Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher this week about the long-term impact of the three concussions suffered in the last year. The most recent came just a couple spring practices into Notre Dame’s off-season and has kept Robinson out ever since.
Kutcher is a sports neurologist who specializes in concussion management and treatment. He is the national director of the Sports Neurology Clinic in Brighton, Mich.
On the line for Notre Dame is the addition or deletion of a solid No. 2 receiver within an offense that lost its starting lineup at the position from last season. Kelly is on record that his expectation for Robinson, now Notre Dame’s student body president, is to have a Chris Brown type senior year.
Brown put up 48 catches for 597 yards and four touchdowns last season as Robinson labored through a difficult junior season of 16 catches, 200 yards and one score.
Kelly didn’t go as far as expecting Robinson back, but he said the meeting with Dr. Kutcher was a positive point in any potential comeback.
“I think it was an extremely educational meeting for him,” Kelly said. “I know this, he came back feeling really good about the meeting and I think a decision will be forthcoming relative to his future.”
While Kelly declined to reveal any specifics of Robinson’s meeting with Dr. Kutcher aside from the fact the receiver’s family was present, a source backed up Kelly’s claim that the meeting was a positive for the receiver. The source also said it remains a difficult decision for Robinson to return or leave the team after he wrestled with a similar choice last January.
If Robinson can’t go it leaves the Irish with just four returning touchdown catches in Torii Hunter Jr. (2), Durham Smythe (1) and Josh Adams (1). Five of the team’s top six receivers would also be gone. Hunter, who Kelly called among spring ball’s most improved players, would lead the Irish in receptions (28), yardage (363) and scores.