Robinson keeping tabs on Michigan QB race


Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Michigan fans everywhere are itching for any morsels of information about the team's ongoing quarterback competition, and no one is more captivated than a certain high school senior in Deerfield Beach, Fla.

As Nick Sheridan, Tate Forcier and David Cone compete for the top job in spring practice, a fourth candidate is monitoring the Ann Arbor arms race from afar.

"I'm always keeping an eye on what's going on up there," Denard Robinson said.

Robinson is finishing his senior year at Deerfield Beach High School, where he starred as a quarterback and cornerback. He expects to join his new teammates at Michigan immediately after graduation.

Although the other three quarterbacks get a head start in the competition this spring, coach Rich Rodriguez has no plans to name a starter until well into preseason camp. Robinson will arrive a bit late to the party, but his pedigree and skill set might put him in the spotlight very soon.

If fellow true freshman Forcier doesn't create some distance with a strong spring, Robinson could close the gap in a hurry.

"The whole time, they've been telling me the same thing," Robinson said, "that I have a real good chance to contend."

For now, he remains clued into the competition through Wolverines quarterbacks coach Rod Smith, with whom he talks every other day, and Michigan slot receiver Justin Feagin, a fellow Floridian who started off as a quarterback last year before making the switch. Smith updated Robinson on Michigan's first spring workouts when the two spoke Monday night.

"Going over it with coach already, I think I'll be able to catch up fast, real fast," Robinson said. "I'm just going up there to handle business."

Despite a smallish frame (6-foot, 180 pounds), Robinson boasts top-end speed and the ability to freelance with his feet, keeping plays alive and gashing defenses for big gains. He hopes his playmaking skills match those of quarterbacks like Shaun King and Pat White, who starred in Rodriguez's offense at Tulane and West Virginia.

Robinson kept close tabs on White the last few seasons.

"He had a pretty good, strong arm, but nobody really recognized it because he didn't have so many good receivers," Robinson said. "Me going to Michigan, they've got good receivers like [Greg] Mathews and [Martavious] Odoms, so it's going to be a good thing. Then we've got Je'Ron [Stokes] coming in. I think I'm going to have a good receiving corps, and I could probably do better things than Pat White did because I have those wide receivers."

Robinson watched Michigan's offense sputter last season, as the Wolverines finished 109th nationally in total offense, 108th in passing and 99th in scoring. But he wasn't discouraged by what he saw.

Quite frankly, Robinson thought he could do better than the men taking snaps in 2008.

Soon enough, he'll get the chance to prove it.

"I love competition," he said. "That's what I live for. That's why I play the game of football, for competition. I guess it boosts my confidence. It makes me play better."