UCF Helped Prepare Robinson for the Next Level

March 28, 2012

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By John Denton, Knights Insider

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Josh Robinson came to UCF three years ago as a highly touted cornerback recruit and he immediately lived up to the hype by recording the most interceptions by any freshman in the country.

And Robinson certainly didn't stop there, shutting down All-American wide receiver A.J. Green in UCF's biggest win ever and recording nearly as many pass breakups last season as the rest of his teammates combined.

Now, after blowing away scouts at the NFL Combine with his blazing speed and remarkable athleticism, Robinson says he wouldn't be in the position he is today without his experiences in the UCF football program. The 5-foot-10, 192-pound cornerback could be selected as high as the first round of the NFL Draft, but he shudders to think where he'd be without all of the growth he made over the past three years at UCF.

``I thank (UCF) Coach (George) O'Leary and his staff for helping me get to this point over the last three years,'' Robinson said. ``Without them, I couldn't have done this. I'm just grateful for it all.''

Robinson's awesome physical gifts will be on display again today when UCF conducts its annual Pro Day. Robinson and fellow Knights Adam Nissley, Nick Pieschel, Josh Linam, Darius Nall and A.J. Guyton are just a part of the group which will perform in front of scouts from most of the NFL's 32 teams. The session will start in the weight room for strength testing and then move to the field for speed measurements and football drills.

Robinson said he'll stand on the 4.33-second time that he ran earlier this month in Indianapolis, the fastest 40-yard dash of any athlete to compete in the NFL Combine. That time undoubtedly opened the eyes of several teams and caused his stock to shoot up dramatically from the fourth-to-seventh round projections he got originally. Now, he has a legitimate shot to be the highest drafted Knight ever. Defensive tackle Torell Troup was taken with the 41st overall pick in 2010, while Jah Reid was a third-round selection last year.

Robinson said his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has gotten several requests from teams to have him in for private workouts since posting his blazing 40-yard dash time. Because UCF's Pro Day is later than most, Robinson decided to wait and work out individually for teams after Wednesday's session on campus. But he's already accomplished part of his goal which was to get scouts buzzing about his off-the-charts skills and abilities as a play-making cornerback.

``That was the plan all along. I wanted to get to that combine and have a successful session and I think I did that,'' Robinson said. ``Now, it's out of my hands. I have to do what I can on Wednesday and I've just been trying to get ready for that.''

Robinson was fourth on UCF's squad in tackles last season with 48 total stops. But it's what he did in the pass game that was once again the most impressive. He broke up 15 passes, grabbed two interceptions and forced a fumble.

That performance came on the heels of a sophomore season where Robinson proved to the rest of the football world that he was an elite cornerback. In UCF's Liberty Bowl defeat of Georgia, Robinson limited Green to 77 yards receiving and kept him out of the end zone in the game. Green proved himself to be one of the NFL's most promising wide outs this past season, earning first-team All-Rookie status in the NFL.

Robinson said he initially struggled with the decision of whether to turn pro or return for his senior season at UCF. But his confidence in his abilities led to his pursuing his dream of playing professionall. Now, that dream is close to becoming a reality.

``It's a great feeling of having that mindset that you've had this goal your whole life and it finally feels like it's coming true. I've definitely got my eyes on making this happen,'' he said. ``It was a very tough decision, but I was very confident that I could get it done (on the NFL level). I felt I had the skills to make it on the next level, so that motivated me to go ahead and make that decision.''

Robinson attended a UCF spring practice last Saturday and he's still in contact with several of the Knights players on the squad. His message to the team has been to keep working because it eventually pays off. Again, Robinson said he wouldn't be in this position of being a high NFL draft pick were it not for his experiences in the UCF football program.

``One of the things I keep telling all of the guys out here is to keep working because there is nobody that works like us here at UCF,'' Robinson said. ``We train the hardest of anybody and this (draft status) is proof. I've talked to some of the other guys on other teams and they never do some of the things that we do. I know we work hard here and UCF is a school that has prepared me to be my best.''

John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFAthletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at jdenton@athletics.ucf.edu.