LB Robinson: Small school, big opportunity

Minnesota Vikings seventh-round draft pick Edmond Robinson made it from a college of 1,100 students to a league that will have nearly 3,000 players trying to make rosters this summer.

On draft weekend, especially in the later rounds, you learn that scouts beat the bushes, even at the smallest of college football programs. With their final pick in the 2015 draft, the Vikings selected linebacker Edmond Robinson of Newberry College in South Carolina – a school with just 1,100 students, fewer than a lot of city high schools.

How small is Newberry? It has a small-town atmosphere where you’re recognized if you’re a football player or a janitor.

“Everyone knows everyone,” Robinson said. “After the first day there, you’ll know everyone that’s on campus, so, after four years, everyone definitely knows who each individual is.

The problem was getting people from off-campus to notice him, but Robinson did his best to break new ground.

Robinson was the first player in school history ever to be invited to the Scouting Combine, so he knew that he had to make the most of an opportunity that no Wolf player before him ever had.

“It was a pretty big deal,” Robinson said. “There were a lot of guys that were excited and happy for me. I’m just glad that I did what I could at the Combine and East-West (Shrine) Game. Being the first to get drafted from Newberry in 46 years is an amazing feeling.”

Robinson and wide receiver Tello Luckett of Harding University were the only two Division II players invited to the Combine. It could have been an intimidating experience, but Robinson was out to prove that the size of the program may be different, but the size of the heart and the passion for the game isn’t.

“I just wanted to show the difference between D-I and D-II is the logo on the helmets,” Robinson said. “I’m not sure if any other D-II player was drafted, but I’m just excited to get the opportunity to go out there and show what I can do in front of the Vikings coaching staff.”

Robinson proved his point. He ran a faster 40 time (4.61 seconds) than Randy Gregory and along with Kentucky’s Bud Dupree was named as the two NFL Combine OLB All-Stars by the National Football Post.

That confidence has continued to grow and Robinson feels he can fit in just about any scheme, especially an attacking scheme like the one Mike Zimmer has brought to Minnesota.

“I think it fits in pretty well,” Robinson said. “I think I can fit in any defense and contribute to any position they want me to play. I’m just happy and excited to get the opportunity.”

As he prepares for next week’s rookie minicamp, Robinson will still remain a long shot despite his accomplishments. But he hasn’t believed those who have told him he can’t and he isn’t going to start now.

“I definitely have a chip on my shoulder,” Robinson said. “I’m happy that I got the opportunity, but I want to come in there and prove that I belong and I can do what I have to make this ball club.”

(Photos from USA TODAY Sports)

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