Early Enrollment Beneficial For Robinson

Before helping, sometimes Trevor Robinson just sits back and laughs for a moment.

There has been times this past summer, and during Notre Dame's fall camp, where Trevor Robinson sees one of his classmates make the same mistake or ask the same question that he did just a few short months ago.

Already memories for the 6-foot-5, 301-pound freshman offensive guard from Elkhorn, Neb., who enrolled early to Notre Dame last spring.

"You see a lot of things that are familiar that you were doing," Robinson said. " It's nice to kind of be experienced and have more of an idea of what's going on."

This summer, 21 Irish freshmen football players showed up wide-eyed, ready for summer school and workouts with the team. Robinson and defensive tackle Sean Cwynar complete the signing class of 23, and proved to be guys the others could lean on, as they had already finished spring ball and a semester of school.

"I think some guys kind of looked to me and Sean as far as kind of knowing, and how much time classes were going to take," Robinson began. "You're always told, especially at a place like Notre Dame, how much time academics are going to take. But I think most guys still kind of underestimate what it's going to be like. I think we were able to help them out a little bit there.

"Most of the time, it's really with the classes. Once you go through a few workouts, you kind of get the gist of what's going on, where as every class is kind of different and with the first-year studies, they're going to be taking a lot of the same classes we've been taking. They'll ask about professors and just kind of the workload that comes with each class. I think we've been able to help them out a little bit."

Named a U.S. Army All-American to cap his prep career at Elkhorn High, Robinson knew long before what college he was going to attend, that he wanted to enroll into school early.

Robinson first committed to in-state Nebraska, before changing his mind and verbally committing to Charlie Weis and the Irish on Dec. 14th. Less than a month later, he was sitting in an South Bend classroom.

"It's definitely an adjustment," Robinson stated. "It's beneficial obviously, once you get here in getting the classes done, and working out, and the spring ball is probably the biggest thing.

"But there is also some sacrifices. Obviously it's hard when you're in college and all your friends are still back in high school. They're calling you and all this and you're up early working hard. But it definitely pays dividends and I think it's all been worth it."

Robinson weighs in at around the same as he did when he first arrived at Notre Dame, but with the time he's put in in the weight room, he has reshaped his body. He also feels more comfortable around the veteran players, having gotten to know them since January.

Going through the grind and intensity of spring ball has Robinson pushing to make Notre Dame's two-deep at guard for the season opener against San Diego St. on Sept. 13th.

"It was definitely helpful, just as much mentally as it is physically. Obviously the time in the weight room is always going to help. Really, it's hard to really use those physical tools until you know what you're doing mentally, so that's probably the biggest help.

"I feel like I'm more comfortable in blitz pickups, and a lot of things in my technique and fundamentals are a lot better than they would've been had I just got here this summer."

With starting guard Chris Stewart missing some practice time during fall camp with a head injury, and other players going through some bumps and bruises, Robinson's play has earned him occasional first-team reps with the offense.

"It does kind of build your confidence when you're able to work with the first group and kind of hold your own," Robinson said. "Right now, like I said that's the goal and hopefully things will work out."

"Weis has said nice things about Robinson's play this fall camp during press conferences, and offensive line coach John Latina agrees.

"Obviously as a freshman, offensive line is hard environment to be in, but him being here in the spring and going through spring practice has really helped him a lot," Latina explained. "You see a lot progress on him, a tremendous amount of progress on him. I think a lot of had to do because he had a chance to go in experience it with spring practice. Even though spring practice is not that long, he had a taste of it and he had a better understanding of how to prepare for the fall as opposed to the guys that didn't get that experience.

"He's a real talented guy on that line and I like the fact that he's progressed from spring to where he is right now, and I expect that to continue on an upward swing because he is still so young."

Robinson's freshmen teammates are definitely appreciative of all the help he has given, and they've also noticed that his hard work has already started to pay off.

"Trevor is definitely a step ahead," freshman center Braxston Cave said. "What we're going through right now, Trevor went through in spring. He's definitely a step ahead. He's working hard and he looks good. Right now we're all just working hard trying to catch up and learn everything."

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