Corey Robinson is done playing football.
On Wednesday the Irish wide receiver announced he’s walking away from his senior season, although he plans to stay on as a student-assistant. That’s a role similar to other former Brian Kelly-era players who retired due to injury: Conor Hanratty, Doug Randolph and Tony Springmann.
“After much contemplation and prayer, I have decided not to continue playing football due to multiple concussions,” Robinson said in a statement. “I couldn’t have come to this decision without the incredible support from so many within the Notre Dame football program.
“I am extremely thankful to Coach Kelly and his staff for the life-changing opportunity to play football at the greatest University in the world. I will continue to help our team as a student assistant and look forward to a great senior year.”
Like Hanratty, the retirement of Robinson followed multiple concussions, the most recent coming early in spring practice. Robinson missed the final three weeks of spring ball, the Blue-Gold Game and hadn’t been participating in off-season workouts, wrapping up a tumultuous junior year on the field.
In addition to the concussions, Robinson missed one game with a knee sprain and played through an ankle injury. Even when healthy he struggled to make a mark, finishing with 16 catches for 200 yards and one touchdown, the game-winner against USC.
That was a steep drop from his sophomore season when Robinson put up 40 catches, 539 yards and five touchdowns, including a career night at Florida State of eight grabs, 99 yards and two scores. He had a potential game-winning touchdown wiped out by an offensive pass interference penalty.
The son of NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson was more consistent off the field, where he applied for Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships, earning consideration for both. He was elected study body president, believed to be the first Notre Dame football player to win that post. He also helped start a non-profit that donated used athletic apparel to disadvantaged youth.
Even with last season’s drop in production, Robinson could have offered the Irish experience within a depth chart turned over this off-season. Notre Dame must replace 76.7 percent of its receptions, 80.1 percent of its yardage and 84 percent of its touchdown catches after losing Will Fuller, Chris Brown, Amir Carlisle and C.J. Prosise.
Now it’s up to Torii Hunter Jr., Alizé Jones, C.J. Sanders and Equanimeous St. Brown to improve while Miles Boykin and Corey Holmes come off red-shirt seasons. Jones, recruited as a five-star tight end, worked at receiver during spring ball.
Freshmen Kevin Stepherson, Javon McKinley and Chase Claypool have much further to go, although Stepherson made a strong first impression during spring practice.
Robinson will watch it all develop this season, but he won’t be a part of it.