August 8, 2009

Countdown to kickoff: No. 19 Keenan Robinson

Name: Keenan Robinson

Position: Linebacker

Classification: Sophomore

Prep credentials: The former Plano East star was a four-star prospect (5.9) and was ranked as the nation's No.4 outside linebacker/No.97 overall player by Rivals. McGee was ranked as the state's No.5 overall prospect by Lone Star Recruiting and the No.13 player in the state by Rivals.

Click here to see Robinson's high school film

2008 stats: Robinson played in 12 games last year as a back-up linebacker and starting special teams performer, as he racked up 24 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and a pass break-up.

2008 Honors: None

Career stats: Robinson has 24 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and a pass break-up in 12 career games.

Best game in 2008: In a little bit of extended action against Arkansas back in September, Robinson was able to flash his athletic upside on a number of occasions, as he finished with a career-high four tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack.

Scouting Report: If you're looking for a sleeper on the defensive side of the ball to emerge as an impact performer in 2009, look no further than this 6-3, 232-pound third-year linebacker. After arriving at Texas in the fall of 2007, Robinson has added 20+ pounds of muscle to his frame and he's finally ready to take on a heavier load as a player.

With Sergio Kindle's move to defensive end this spring, Robinson is the favorite to emerge as the starter at strong-side linebacker and he'll give the defense a lot of the same type of pass-rush upside that Kindle gave them last season. Although he's not quite as strong or physical as Kindle, Robinson's burst off the ball might be as good as any player in the Texas program. He's already offered flashes of his pass-rush skill, but he still needs to prove that he can be more than a one-trick pony off the edge.

One of the differences between Robinson and Kindle is that Robinson moves better laterally and while dropping back into coverage. This is a kid that possesses a very high football IQ and does a good job of getting off of blockers and playing with traffic near his feet. He's also improving in pass coverage and the reports from this summer's 7-on-7 workouts indicated that he was among the best at the linebacker position against the pass, along with Roddrick Muckelroy and Emmanuel Acho.

Robinson probably could have emerged as an impact player at some point last season with more playing time, but Kindle's presence at SAM cut off his path to playing time. That certainly won't be the case this season and Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has indicated that he's excited to see what he can do after another season of development.

The big hope… He's more than a strong situational player and emerges as the type of impact all-around linebacker he was projected to become when he was recruited.

The big worry… His inexperience keeps him from reaching his full potential so soon, which limits him to situational-player status.

Did you know? Robinson served as a mentor at local middle schools as part of the Brothers and Sisters program.

NFL Scouting report:"I don't know much about him, but Muschamp really talked him up this spring according to another member of our staff. The word I've received is that he really likes his young linebackers - him and the (Emmanuel) Acho kid."

The bottom line: Robinson's talent just seems to ooze onto the playing field whenever he's playing and now that there's been some turnover at the linebacker position, the path to playing time is wide open. This is the moment Robinson has been waiting his entire life for and it's up to him to cash in those chips.


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