Defensive Line Help On The Way

Camden, New Jersey (Wilson HS) product <b>Elijah Robinson</b> has made the decision to sign with Penn State and help solidify a defensive line that struggled mightily defending the run last season. Last year at this time, Elijah was headed to Tulane. What happened between then and now?

Name: Elijah Robinson
Position: DL
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 290 pounds
School: Camden, NJ (Wilson HS)

"That one really took me for a loop," said Wilson head coach Mike McBride in reference to when he first heard Elijah was going to Penn State. "He wanted to be admitted mid-year and the last time I talked to Elijah, he was saying that he was not going to go to Penn State because they were telling him he couldn't come in as a mid-year student. That was about 2 weeks ago. Funny things happen."

After making a verbal commitment to Tulane in December of 2002, Elijah took an official visit to Penn State the following month and contemplated changing his mind before ultimately honoring his commitment to the Green Wave.

As often happens with recruiting, however, things didn't go as planned.

"What happened, initially, he didn't get his test score for his GPA," said McBride. "His GPA ended up being a 2.2, so I believe he needed a 930 (SAT) and he had a 900, so he fell short of that. He would've been a partial qualifier. So, instead of enrolling, he decided to come back home and retake the SAT and then reapply and be admitted mid-year (January). He passed the SAT and got his score (950).

"He was such a hot commodity at the end of recruiting last year that some of the big schools like Penn State and Purdue and Iowa started to come in on him, so when he came back from Tulane, basically, he's open game. That's the direction he went."

"I came back and took the test again and just decided to go elsewhere," explained Elijah, who chose PSU over Tulane, Iowa, Purdue and Indiana.

Robinson has enrolled for the spring semester at Penn State and will probably start classes on Tuesday.

"I'm actually on my way to Penn State now," he said from his cell phone early Sunday evening. "It was just everything I was looking for. It was close to home and I knew I had a relationship with the coaches already, a 2-year relationship with the coaches, so it was just the best fit for me."

Assistant coaches Larry Johnson and Brian Norwood recruited Elijah for Penn State. When did the big defensive lineman inform them of his final decision?

"I'd say they pretty much knew all along, but they were just allowing me to take my visits. I never really gave them a phone call during the season to say I'm coming to Penn State.

"I talked to the whole coaching staff on I believe it was Thursday."

Robinson estimated that he knew he wanted to go to Penn State "at least about a month ago." It was just a matter of whether or not he could get admitted for the spring semester. Now that everything's in order, what has the Nittany Lion coaching staff told him about playing time?

"I guess what they're telling everyone. There's an opportunity to play and I guess that's up to how I react to it, how I practice and everything. Basically, I believe it's up to me. They give you the opportunity, it's how you go after it.

"I'm not coming in to redshirt. I'm going to try to stay away from red jerseys as much as possible."

Penn State is recruiting Elijah to play on the defensive line. A year ago, Coach McBride told LionNews that PSU wanted Elijah, who then weighed 260 pounds, to start off at defensive-end and that they would bulk him up and slide him down to defensive tackle. Robinson, who according to Coach McBride spent a significant amount of time at a nearby workout center, seems to have expedited that process. Elijah now estimates his weight to be around 290 pounds.

Has he chosen a major?

"I was thinking about Criminal Justice. For now, I'm going to just go undecided. I was also thinking about doing something with Accounting or Marketing, Business."

Fight On State Top Stories