Crist Looking Good Through Two Days

SAN ANTONIO - The deal was, Notre Dame verbal commit Dayne Crist was going to throw Gerell Robinson a few extra passes this week, and the Chandler, Ariz., product was going to join Crist and 13 other U.S. Army All-American Bowl participants in pledging Irish at the game on Saturday.

That plan was quickly vetoed, as the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Robinson was quickly notified that he would be playing safety for the West team instead this week.

"He was actually upset at first when they told him he was playing safety, because we were joking all week that I'd throw him a couple of extra balls if you tell me you're going to say yes," Dayne Crist explained after practice on Tuesday. All three of Gerell Robinson's finalists, Notre Dame, Oregon and Arizona State are recruiting him to play receiver. "Now he's angry and a little bitter so he's saying he's going to pick me off. He hasn't done it yet and I don't expect him to either. We'll be keeping that competition going all week."

The 6-foot-5, 228-pound Crist appears to be ahead of the West's other two quarterbacks, Andrew Luck and Blaine Gabbert, in that competition through two days of practice. He has been the most accurate on the short and intermediate routes, and no doubt has the strongest arm of the three.

"We're still picking things up," the Sherman Oaks, Calif., product said. This fall Crist completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,178 yards, with 16 touchdowns and just one interception. He also ran for 454 yards and four more scores in 10 games, and is a finalist for the U.S. Army National Player of the Year Award. "Early on we were shaking off some rust and getting into the swing of things. Now I think we're getting comfortable with coach (Bob) Jones' offense and we're able to just kind of go out and play and not think as much. End of today, probably starting tomorrow, we'll really be going."

How good will Crist look then?

One of Crist's favorite targets this week, and likely for the next four or five years, has been future teammate Michael Floyd.

"Mike is a heck of an athlete," Crist said of the St. Paul, Minn. product. "I'm really happy I'm able to throw to him in the next coming years. He's really working hard and asserting himself as a leader of the receiving core. And off the field he is a great guy too."

While Robinson was a little angry about not getting a chance to play receiver this week, 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive lineman Trevor Robinson felt the same way.

"Trevor and I have been having a great time," Crist said. "I feel comfortable having him in front of me. But he's also been joking around, and we threw a couple passes together because he said he should be included in that receiver core.

"He is a better athlete than I thought."

Floyd looks like he'll be one of the starters at receiver, and Robinson will get the nod at right guard.

This week has been another chance for Crist and his prep teammate, future college teamamate, and West linebacker Anthony McDonald to build more memories together.

"We're best friends and what not, so we're always together," Crist said. "But it's real true, all the Notre Dame guys that are here, we stick together and we eat together, whether it be East or West, we're always in each others company so it's like being at home in South Bend."

And they are all trying to make Robinson feel like he is at home with them.

"Gerell, we all love Gerell, speaking for the rest of the Notre Dame recruits," Crist said. "We all understand what the decision was like and what the process is like, so we're kind of just getting to know him on personal level and not really playing recruiter or what not. But we're all hoping that he pulls the trigger and commits either during the game or when he sees fit."


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