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April 27, 2011

Robinson reflects on rookie year

When Damien Robinson's senior season began at Olive Branch High School he was considered the top player in Mississippi and one of the best offensive lineman prospects in the nation.

The former four-star prospect's offer sheet read like a who's who among college football but Robinson decided to remain close to home and chose Mississippi State.

Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida State, LSU, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Tennessee and UAB were just some of the programs that extended offers to Robinson during his recruitment.

"I'm pretty happy with Mississippi State because I could have went wherever," Robinson said. "But I took my visits and I came to State. Everybody said that it wasn't the best program but I came here and just felt at home. I felt (Dan) Mullen, (John) Hevesy and (Matt) Balis, those are folks I can look up to. I just felt at home and felt I could become a great man here someday."

But Robinson was not the only Conquistador offensive lineman that signed with MSU in 2010. His teammate Eric Lawson made a signing day switch from Texas Tech to join him in the trenches for the Bulldogs.

"(Lawson coming) made it a little easier," Robinson said. "I was going to come here with or without Eric but it was easier knowing I had a brother."

While at the prep level Robinson not only got to test his skills out in the Class 6A ranks in Mississippi but also played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic and the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

But even Robinson admits that playing at the prep level cannot compare to the level of competition he saw in his first year in college.

"It's still a big jump," Robinson said. "The high school level and college level are nothing alike. If you're in high school you're going 10 miles per hour and in college you're going about 1,000 miles per hour. You've just got to learn to keep up."

Robinson had the luxury of redshirting his freshman season in Starkville and is glad that he did after sustaining an injury that required his knee being scoped in early September.

"I think redshirting helped me a lot considering I did hurt myself back in the fall," Robinson said. "Coming in here I thought I was going to do pretty good but I learned the hard way that in SEC and college football that I might need to sit back here and learn. It helped me out a whole lot."

The massive Robinson spent his rookie season in maroon and white learning a new position. The former left tackle made the move inside to left guard and has advanced to the Bulldogs second unit by the end of spring.

"It started off hard because I'm used to playing tackle," Robinson said. "I'm used to being out there by myself on an island. Playing at guard I just had to learn calls and help out a lot. It's not a real hard job."

Robinson is still absorbing in his new guard spot but hopes to build off his successful spring and earn playing time for State this fall.

"Spring went better than I planned on it being," Robinson said. "I just went out there and tried to do my job trying to learn from Coach Hevesy, Quentin Saulsberry and Gabe Jackson. I'm just trying to learn my role and try to get playing time next year and hopefully start some or get in the rotation."


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