Former Doherty High standout Noah Robinson committed to the University of Memphis last Tuesday, solidifying yet another out-of-nowhere recruiting story that seems to be occurring annually in Massachusetts.
After registering 125 tackles and five sacks his senior season at Doherty last fall, helping the Highlanders reach the MIAA Division 2 Central Semifinals, the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder had just one Division scholarship offer to show for it -- a partial offer from FCS program Sacred Heart. UConn, Maryland, Boston College and UMass had shown varying degrees of interest, but no offers.
Robinson enrolled at the Dawsonville, Ga.-based Atlanta Sports Academy this fall, where in seven games he registered 88 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, three blocked extra points, an interception and 39 hurries. That opened up a flood of Division 1 FBS interest, with Memphis, UConn and Old Dominion offering scholarships while Tennessee, Clemson, Rutgers Cincinnati, Middle Tennessee, and Tulane had also been in contact.
Now at a playing weight of 235 pounds, Robinson took his official visit to Memphis last weekend, and is expected to sign with the Tigers on Wednesday as a spring semester enrollee.
Back home again in Worcester this week, Robinson spoke to ESPNBoston.com this afternoon to discuss his sudden fortunes:
How does someone make such a big leap? "Hard work. I went down there, I had a nice chip on my shoulder, and I wanted to go D1 so I knew I had to play as hard as I could. I had the help of good coaches down there at Atlanta Sports Academy -- coach [Rahim] Abdullah, he was my position coach and defensive coordinator, and [head] coach [Damon] Dawson really helped with my recruiting.
"Honestly, I think I'm a completely different player now. It really helped me out this prep year, it really changed my game. I went down there and got a lot bigger and a lot faster, and I just learned the game in a different way, that I just didn’t have knowledge of in high school. This prep year really helped out, and I hope it's gonna help out going into my freshman year."
Does Worcester talent get overlooked? "Yes, definitely. I think there's a lot of talent that people just overlook in the Worcester area. I got a chance to play against [Doherty running back] Jahkari Carpenter last year when he was at North, he was all we were worried about all week. To see him come here and win a state championship was great to see, from down here in my prep year. [Doherty receiver] Alfred Adarkwah definitely should be able to go somewhere D1 with the stats he put up.
"There's definitely a lot of talent in Central Mass. that just gets overlooked. I think schools are starting to realize there's talent up in Massachusetts. Hopefully kids start getting more offers from me and Isaac [Yiadom, a Boston College commit from Doherty High] getting notice, you see kids up here that schools should come up here to give them a chance."
On committing to Memphis: "I really felt like they really love me down there. They were one of the first schools to offer me. I just love the facilities down there. The coaching staff is amazing. I really think they are taking the right steps to success, and I wanna help them get to be a top program in Division 1 football."
His anticipated role in the Memphis defense: "I'll probably be an outside linebacker in their 3-4, like a hybrid coming off the edge. They like my height and I guess my lankiness. Being able to come off the edge, they were really impressed with that. They like my speed coming off the edge, my ability to drop back into coverage and cover some ground in the passing game as well, that’s what they like I guess."