Henry Clay's Robinson keeps pact, signs with UK
On National Signing Day, Mark Stoops and staff inked 25 players, five from Kentucky, in what the coach calls his best recruiting class to date.
Of those five players from the Bluegrass state, one who hasn’t received nearly as much attention is Henry Clay cornerback Davonte Robinson.
“The SEC is the closest you get to playing in the NFL,” Robinson told WKYT. “The SEC is like a big dream. It’s every kid’s dream.”
Robinson (6-2, 180) is a former Kentucky high school track champion and used his speed to score seven touchdowns this past season (four rushing, two receiving and one 91-yard kickoff return).
Recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow remembers the first time he saw Robinson, at one of UK’s camps.
“Everybody was telling me about how fast he was supposed to be. I hand-timed him and I looked at the first time that he ran. I was like, ‘no, that’s not right,’ “ Marrow said. “I had him at like a 4.32. So he ran again and he ran a 4.36."
"I remember telling coach Stoops, ‘we better not let this time get out.’”
Word eventually did get out and more schools came after Robinson.
“After that, I had Notre Dame and Louisville offer me, like for weeks on end. More schools just kept coming after me after they heard my time and watched my film,” Robinson said.
Robinson didn't waiver on his commitment to the Wildcats.
“No, I was staying with UK.”
“UK was the first one there. They’ve been there forever,” he said. “When you commit, you’re making a pact. I just wanted to keep that. They believed in me and I believe in them.”
Much of the focus on this year's recruiting class has been on Drake Jackson, Landon Young and Kash Daniel. Mark Stoops said Robinson is equally significant to UK’s class, as is McCracken Co.’s Zy’Aire Hughes.
“He was arguably as important of a guy in this class as anyone,” Stoops said during his Signing Day address to the media.
“Anybody that watched him play said that he was a no-brainer. He could play just about anywhere in the country.”
The youngest of six boys, Robinson said he idolized Alabama’s Shaun Alexander.
“I was an Alabama fan for a pretty long time. I modeled after him when I was younger. I wore number 37 and played just like him,” Robinson said.
Unlike Alexander, Robinson flew under the radar, mainly because he didn’t attend some of the country’s biggest football camps.
He watched recently as Jackson, Young and Daniel participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, an all-star game that his future teammates and coaches agreed Robinson should have been invited to.
“That was my dream, to play in another game, but I had track, so that took up a lot of time.”
“It's so important to get those corners, to get those talented guys,” Stoops said. “Everybody comes after them and battles for those corners, to the very last second. Davonte, being in state, was not highly ranked, but it's just because he didn't go to all those camps.”
“He is a phenomenal football player.”