It was November 23rd. LSU was welcoming the Johnny Manziel-led Aggies to Tiger Stadium on a cold, rainy November day. Not only did LSU fans need to be nervous about Manziel’s usual heroics–although we knew that LSU’s John Chavis defense was more than up to the task after the 2012 domination–but the Tigers sported a pair of freshman cornerbacks who were tasked with covering what was regarded as the best receiver in college football.
The 6’5″ 225lb. receiver was held to just four catches and 51 total yards, one of his worst performances of the season in conference play. The reason was 6’1″ 163lb. corner Rashard Robinson. The freshman held Evans to just 3 grabs and 13 yards. The other 38 yards came once the game was in hand & substitutes had been brought in.
Robinson, who arrived to campus just days before the season due to eligibility issues, had only recently snuck his way into the regular lineup. Robinson got in Evans face & forced him out of his game. It was a stellar performance by a guy who gave up 60lbs. and 4 inches to his target.
This year, Robinson & fellow true sophomore Tre’Davious White will anchor one of the best young cornerback tandems in the Southeastern Conference. Robinson’s growth late in 2013 was nothing short of stellar. With such a short fall, there wasn’t much expected from the lanky freshman. But, by the end of the season he was playing every down on the outside opposite from White.
Now, with a full year under his belt (and more importantly an entire offseason in strength coach Tommy Moffitt’s program) Robinson could easily be the anchor in the Tiger secondary. While Tre’ White has garnered the preseason honors–deservedly so–Robinson could be the true breakout in the secondary.
With his already long frame, if Moffitt is able to add 15-20lbs. to it Robinson will be a force. Even though we had a limited view of him last year, rarely was he beaten on the deep ball.
The reason Robinson is our breakout player in the secondary is because of what we saw in that brief, bright window at the end of the season. With little to no practice & little playing time to date Robinson came in and shut down one of the best receivers in football, then followed it up with strong play through to the end of the season.
In most cases those circumstances add up to missed assignments & numerous deep burns. Robinson exhibited little of the problems a freshman in the best conference in football might have.
While we’re at it, Robinson also went to the same high school as the greatest cornerback to ever put on the Purple & Gold, Patrick Peterson.
The former 3-star recruit’s rise in the Tiger secondary has been almost meteoric to this point, given the circumstances. If the trajectory continues the next defensive star to come from DBU could very well be Robinson. Unfortunately, the secondary’s now-vaunted No. 7 isn’t available for him, but I’m sure No. 21 will work just fine.