Robinson: Following In His Father's Footsteps

RB Derke Robinson has given Texas coach Mack Brown his verbal commitment to play for the Longhorns in 2006, the Lewisville Hebron standout told Inside Texas Tuesday.

Robinson is Texas' eighth commitment, and the first RB, of its current recruiting class. He gave his pledge directly to Brown on March 10 while in Austin for Junior Days.

"I grew up my whole life as a Longhorn fan and going to games," Robinson said. "It's been a dream of mine to play for Texas ever since. They showed me a lot of love and support (during the visit). I felt real comfortable down there."

Robinson has met former Texas RB greats Earl Campbell and Cedric Benson. But when Robinson considers the impressive stable of Longhorn ball carriers who have cracked the starting lineup, he is mainly looking to "follow in my father's footsteps." Derke's dad, Ronnie Robinson Jr., led the Longhorns in rushing (479 yards on 81 carries) while playing for the 1983 Southwest Conference champion team that finished 11-1.

Robinson said his father has exerted no pressure on him to attend his alma mater.

"He said he would be on my side no matter what," Derke said. "He said he would change colors if I had chosen another school."

Hebron head coach Brian Brazil told Inside Texas that nearly every college that saw Robinson's highlight reels made an offer. The list included Florida, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Kansas State, Arizona, Kansas and Iowa State, Robinson said.

"I'm still kind of looking," Robinson admits, "but Texas is where I've always wanted to go."

The 6-1, 203-pounder rushed for 1,485 yards on 161 attempts, including 23 TDs during his junior campaign to earn honorable mention all-state and district 9-4A co-offensive player of the year honors. He added 196 yards receiving, including two TDs, on 14 receptions. Robinson's best attributes include his work ethic, passions for the sport and his overall good character, according to his head coach.

"He absolutely loves to play the game," Brazil said. "That's the main thing. He plays hard. He has incredible ability. He's a very humble guy to be the type of player he is. He's very coachable. You can get after him -- and coaches are always getting after players -- but you can get after him and he doesn't pout like some sort of prima donna. I wish I could say that about every kid I coached."

Robinson also saw some action at linebacker last season, but Brazil said "he can really tote the mail, so you don't want to take too many chances with him on defense."

Robinson logged enough playing time as a sophomore, rotating every third offensive series with RB Tim Ball (a 2004 Duke signee), to rush for just more than 600 yards on the way to District 9-4A first-team honors.

"The thing that's so strong about him is that he's a great kid with outstanding character," Brazil said. "He's very hard working and always willing to do what the team needs."

Robinson runs a 4.6 in the 40 and said one of his primary goals this fall is to improve his speed. He met his positions coach Ken Rucker during Junior Days, as well as QB Vince Young, and other UT coaches, while touring the facilities. But football may not be as big of an emphasis as some might think when juniors drop by the Forty Acres during the spring.

"The focus was more on academics," Robinson reported. "They talked about what you have to do to try to stay (eligible) there and not slack off."

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