Kenny Robinson was given a chance to play early on in his career with the WVU football team. He may be progressing faster than the coaches had originally expected.
Playing in all three of the Mountaineers’ games to start the 2017 season, freshman Kenny Robinson is making his presence felt in the back end of the West Virginia defense.
In the most recent WVU football victory over Delaware State, Robinson was second on the team in tackles with six. That was as many as the leading tackler for the Hornets. Robinson was listed just behind Al-Rasheed Benton, who is the leader of the defense. Benton had eight tackles to lead the Mountaineers.
Robinson also had a tackle for a loss — which was a loss of 14 yards for Delaware State. Robinson’s quickness and mentality has allowed him to jolt up the depth chart and log some serious minutes despite being one of the youngest on the team.
WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson sang Robinson’s praises following the game against Delaware State. Gibson even stayed true to his promise a few days later.
This will actually be Robinson’s second career start as he was right there in the lineup from the first snap against Delaware State last week. Head coach Dana Holgorsen and Gibson obviously have the faith and respect to go with Robinson in the first true road game of the season. It also happens to be the first Big 12 contest of the season.
Even if it is against lowly Kansas, the opportunity to start right away is a cherished gift any up-and-coming Division I football player would covet. Robinson has to make the most of this and show that he deserves to stick in the rotation for the rest of the season.
The secondary is an area of weakness for the Mountaineers and that was shown again on Saturday as Delaware State scored on its first possession. The Hornets needed just one pass play to reach the end zone and they converted on an 81-yard completion. That type of big play wasn’t seen for the rest of the game, but to get burned like that is awfully embarrassing for a Division I unit.
Robinson was recently described as “fearless” by an article in the Charleston Gazette-Mail. Gibson told Mitch Vingle of the confidence Robinson possess for himself. He hasn’t backed down from any challenges, and that is evident by the way he has responded to his starting time.
"“He’s fearless. I like where he’s at and his mindset. That’s what I want for every DB and, really, every defensive guy. Kenny thinks he’s probably the best player on the field, which is a good thing.”"
Gibson and Robinson’s connection goes back to when the defensive coordinator was on the recruiting trail. He handles western Pennsylvania, a hotbed for prep talent. Robinson is a native of Wilkinsburg, just east of Downtown Pittsburgh.
He played for Imani Christian Academy, after transferring from University Prep of Pittsburgh Public Schools. Robinson did it all for Imani Christian, which is one of the best offensive small schools in the region. He played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back, which is his current position with the Mountaineers.
A Post-Gazette article said that Robinson was billed as a collegiate linebacker, though it seems Robinson is quite comfortable in his position in the secondary. The same Post-Gazette story, written by Brian Batko, said Robinson chose the Mountaineers over Pitt and Iowa State, while Virginia Tech and Toledo were also in the picture.
The WVU football team and Gibson were on Robinson since he was playing at University Prep. That is one of the reasons why he chose the Mountaineers. Robinson told Batko, ““It was just my relationship with the coaches.” So, that means Gibson proved to be the likable ace recruiter he has long been named.
It’s good to see their relationship flourish at the collegiate level. Robinson is making a nice impact as a freshman and it will be great to see that flourish, as well, as he progress through the WVU football system.