Robinson may have to address NFL future soon
With the numbers he’s putting up for a second straight year and his impressive all-around skills, Allen Robinson soon will have to start thinking about whether he will give up his final season at Penn State and enter the NFL draft.
There’s still a lot of time left since he has half of his junior season remaining, but Nittany Lion fans should enjoy Robinson’s exploits while they can because No. 8 very well might not be around next year to carry the offense as he’s done so far this year.
“That’s something I’m not even thinking about right now,” Robinson said of leaving early for the NFL.
Pro scouts have thought about it, and they rate Robinson highly among receiving targets for the 2014 draft. Here’s how some draft sites see Robinson:
n No. 4 receiving prospect and projected second-round pick by nfldraftscout.com
n No. 6 receiving prospected and projected second-round pick by CBSSports.com
n No. 13 receiving prospect and projected second- to fourth-round pick by walterfootball.com
That last projection would be a bit scary to Robinson since dropping all the way to the fourth round wouldn’t be worth leaving school early. But if he’s widely viewed as a second-round pick, Robinson might not be able to pass that up.
“I definitely feel like he’s playing better than he was last year,” PSU safety Malcolm Willis said.
Robinson has 38 catches for 621 yards and five TDs through five games, putting him well ahead of pace to surpass last year’s totals of 77 catches, 1,013 yards and 11 TDs.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder has the size, speed, athleticism and route-running ability that should allow him to step in and be a factor in the NFL right away, whenever he decides to turn pro.
“His expectations for himself are greater than anybody else’s,” Willis said. “He’s definitely performing at a high level.”
Robinson got a scare in Saturday’s loss at Indiana when he fell hard on his back trying to make a catch in the end zone and was on the ground for a minute.
“Just a little sore; nothing too drastic,” he said.
Robinson has a lot to look forward to this week against Michigan since he’s a native of that state.
“They really didn’t have too much interest in me,” he said of the Wolverines during the recruiting process.
One of his high school teammates, sophomore linebacker James Ross III, plays for Michigan, and Robinson knows several members of the Wolverines.
“I’m good friends with James, but that’s not something I’m going to get too caught up into,” he said.
There are other things he can get caught up in, including trying to help the Lions bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Hoosiers.
“We have a lot of leadership on the team, so just trying to make sure we have extra focus on some of the things we didn’t do too well [last week],” he said.
This is the kind of week, after a disappointing loss, where team leadership is vital. Willis said there hasn’t been a lot of yelling or anything like that for extra motivation.
“Nobody likes to lose, and it’s not that we’ve been hitting harder or practicing any harder than what we have,” Willis said. “We know as a team we need to do much better, and we go into practice every day knowing that’s what we need to do.”
One way Willis, a senior, tries to lead the younger players in the secondary is to pull them aside individually.
“I just take them to the side and tell them, ‘You have to have a short memory,'” he said.
Willis said he attended a Penn State-Michigan game at Beaver Stadium when he was being recruited and recalled how “it definitely impacts a young kid like I was, and it definitely stays with you a long time.”
“Penn State versus Michigan has always been a big-time game,” he added, “and I’d be lying to you to tell you that it wasn’t.”