Notre Dame Football: David Robinson

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Brian Kelly wants more out of all of them, because that's just the way the head coach is wired. Mike Denbrock is not displeased with any of them, because six practices into spring ball would be an awfully early time for the offensive coordinator to heap any significant praise on a green group.

If Notre Dame's offense is going to break out in the fashion all expect now that it has a proven, dynamic quarterback in Everett Golson, it's going to need its receivers to take the next step. And these final three weeks of spring practice will probably go a long way in determining whether such a leap can occur, especially with headliner DaVaris Daniels exiled until the summer because of an academic matter.

"Now, it's kind of been funny, when I have a question, I have to figure it out as opposed to last fall," Corey Robinson said. "DaVaris played 'W' a lot -- whenever I had an issue, I'd go to him and he'd help me out, or I'd go to TJ [Jones]. Now I have to figure it out, and some of the younger guys who didn't play last year are coming to me and asking me what to do. That's really forced my hand -- and I know it's the same for Breezy (Chris Brown) and C.J. (Prosise). We have to know the offense better and it kind of puts pressure on us to do that so when questions are asked we can help out."

Robinson has raised eyebrows for the second spring in a row, this time for more than just his frame. The 6-foot-4.5, 205-pound son of hoops Hall of Famer David Robinson has asserted himself more after a nine-catch, 157-yard, one-touchdown rookie campaign, with Kelly saying the sophomore has pleased him more than anyone else at the position.

"He does exactly what I ask him to do all the time," Kelly said, loud and deliberately. "And he does it right. Now he may screw it up the first time, but you coach him and he does it right the second time. I love that kid.”

"They try to do it right," Kelly later added of the others when asked. "They all try to do it right. He does it right the second time. He's fun to coach."

Denbrock said the experience of Brown has made him the steadiest of the bunch, as his junior status and 17 career grabs for 265 yards and a score are all tops on the current roster.

It helps that youngsters like Robinson and
Will Fuller
(six catches, 160 yards, TD) got their feet wet last season as freshmen, but there are still projects in spring enrollee Justin Brent and Torii Hunter Jr., who redshirted last season while recovering from a broken left leg suffered in high school.

"If you look at those other guys, it’s still new to them," Denbrock said. "We’re really working hard at all positions on offense because of our youth and gaining that type of consistency play in and play out that you need to control the game from the offensive side of the ball."

Irish lunch links

October, 31, 2013
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Congrats, Boston. And Happy Halloween to all!

Planning for success: Notre Dame

October, 31, 2013
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Corey Robinson and his dad never talk football. Dad doesn't know anything about the sport, Corey said, and Corey feels as if he himself still has a lot to learn about the game despite playing it every day.

Saturday will nonetheless present quite the family conflict for the Robinsons when Corey takes the field for No. 25 Notre Dame against Navy, his father's alma mater. It was with the Midshipmen that his father, a pretty tall guy by the name of David RobinsonDavid, helped set himself up to be taken No. 1 overall by the San Antonio Spurs and win two championships during a 14-year Hall of Fame NBA career.

[+] EnlargeCorey Robinson
AP Photo/Michael ConroyCorey Robinson knows his dad, David, made a name for himself at Navy before embarking on a Hall of Fame NBA career, but he hopes to get him to support Notre Dame when the Irish play the Midshipmen.
"I need to talk to my dad about this, make sure he's wearing my jersey or wearing Notre Dame something as opposed to Navy," Corey Robinson said of this weekend's matchup. "But I think my grandpa who also served in the Navy might be wearing Navy. I don't know. There's a lot of Navy happening right now. I need to change that."

A freshman receiver with the Irish, Robinson reached the end zone for the first time this past Saturday against Air Force, hauling in a 35-yard pass from Tommy Rees for Notre Dame's first touchdown. He has five catches for 101 yards through eight games after enrolling this past spring.

He would always visit his father's old campus in Annapolis, Md., for older reunions and such, but Notre Dame's offer sent him in another direction when choosing a college out of San Antonio Christian High.

"I think he was happy, because he was telling me horror stories," Robinson said of his dad. "I think he was trying to scare me out of it. He was all like, ‘You have to wake up at 5 in the morning, and all the PT we had to do in addition to basketball and football.' He said he didn't get any sleep the whole time. He's a smart guy, and he told me he got some bad grades his first couple years. And I was like, ‘Hmm, I don't know if that's for me or not.’ I think he was actually happy when I told him I wanted to go somewhere else."

The 6-foot-4.5, 205-pound Robinson will probably never reach his father's height of 7-1. David Robinson has been a fixture at Irish games so far, gestures that Corey appreciates, though he gives off little sign that he is a son with a famous father.

"He's a very easy-going guy, it seems like he never really gets riled up, never really seen him get upset or anything like that," Rees said. "He's extremely competitive and you can tell the way that he grew up there's a lot of structure, a lot of different -- this is how you work, this is what's expected of you. And he does a great job of coming in every day eager to learn and eager to get better."

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, the weight of the game had yet to dawn upon Robinson. Right now it is another military academy and another option-offense that stands in the way of the Irish extending their winning streak to four in a row as they make a late run toward a BCS-bowl berth.

That sentiment probably does not run throughout the family, though.

"So far it's another game. I think for my dad, it means a little more to him," Robinson said. "I'm excited to play Navy. But at the end of the day, we've got to get the win. it doesn't matter who we're playing. I respect them and I respect what they do and I'm excited to go play a school that I wanted to go to for a very long time, that my dad's helped out a lot. But we have to get the W."
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Cole Luke is a true freshman from Arizona. Corey Robinson is a rookie from Texas. Both have seen extended playing time in their first five games at Notre Dame, and both will be part of reunions of sorts on Saturday when the Irish face Arizona State in Arlington, Texas, though both have tempered any excitement about the familiarity of the weekend.

[+] EnlargeCorey Robinson
AP Photo/Michael ConroyCorey Robinson returns to his home state of Texas when Notre Dame plays Arizona State in Arlington on Saturday.
"Honestly, I'm going to treat it like every other game," Luke said. "Trying to do the regular stuff that I do against any other team -- Oklahoma, Michigan State, so it doesn't really matter who I play, I'm just going to do the same stuff that I always do."

That role has increased for Luke in recent weeks, with the 5-foot-11, 184-pounder jumping from nickelback to the next-guy-in at corner behind starters Bennett Jackson and KeiVarae Russell, tallying three tackles, one break-up and one pass defended in the process.

Luke, who will face a pair of buddies in Sun Devil starters D.J. Foster and Jaxon Hood — the latter of whom was his prep teammate at Chandler High — never really gave ASU much consideration because he was set on leaving the state.

Robinson, the Irish offense's 6-4.5, 205-pound target, had more hesitation leaving Texas, though the academics, tradition and "mystique" of Notre Dame convinced him to get out of the Lone Star State.

"My older brother goes to [Texas], so I was thinking about staying in Texas, being around my family going to see Spurs games," said Robinson, the son of former NBA great David Robinson. "That's a really big thing for me. My whole life I grew up in the stadium and in the arena."

Robinson has four catches for 66 yards this season. He is also a skilled ukulele player, as he and defensive linemen Kona Schwenke demonstrated after interviews Wednesday for television cameras in town to film a special on the Irish program.

The San Antonio native enrolled this past January, allowing him to adapt to the learning curve and get thrown into the fire early.

"Before it was just like a whole new playbook, and then they'll just throw you right in, especially coming in the winter, so it was just trying to stay alive," Robinson said. "And then now it's like actually understanding some of this stuff. Before it was just like: 'What is it? What is it? What is it?' And now it's kind of slowing down and I'll be like, 'Oh, that makes sense now,' because it's conceptual and I'm starting to understand everything."
Notre Dame has landed consecutive top-10 recruiting classes. Which players from those groups have the best chances of making an impact as first-year players this fall?

[+] EnlargeNotre Dame's C.J. Prosise
Matt Cashore/USA TODAY SportsC.J. Prosise had a 35-yard touchdown reception during the Blue-Gold Game this spring.
C.J. Prosise, WR: The 6-foot-2, 208-pound Prosise redshirted a safety last season. He switched to the offensive side of the ball before spring practices this year, and the early returns have been positive. The Petersburg, Va., native had a long touchdown catch in the open field during an open scrimmage this spring, and his 35-yard touchdown reception in the Blue-Gold game marked the only time the Irish offense reached the end zone in the spring contest. With the spring transfers of second-year receivers Davonte Neal and Justin Ferguson, the opportunity is wide open for Prosise to seize the vacant slot position. He will likely enter camp as the leading candidate to bolster Notre Dame's struggling punt return unit, too.

Greg Bryant, RB: Bryant will not officially enroll at Notre Dame until June 17, but he has the potential to become an immediate contributor to the Irish offense. The ESPN150 prospect form Delray Beach, Fla., was ranked second nationally among running backs, making him one of the top running back recruits Notre Dame has landed in recent memory. The 5-foot-11, 197-pound Oklahoma de-commit should get a chance to compete in a deep but untested backfield after the departures of Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood.

Malik Zaire, QB: The early enrollee drew rave reviews from the staff this spring and figures to have a shot to play this fall after the suspension of Everett Golson. The southpaw is a dual-threat signal caller from Archbishop Alter in Kettering, Ohio. ESPN rated Zaire No. 6 among quarterbacks from the Class of 2013, and coach Brian Kelly said that he will get an opportunity to compete like everyone else in camp for the starting spot.

Corey Robinson/James Onwualu, WR: Both players enrolled this spring and found themselves getting plenty of time all over the field after Neal and Ferguson left the program. The 6-foot-4.5, 197-pound Robinson, the son of hoops Hall of Famer David, has the size and speed to go up and get anything in sight on the outside, as evidenced by a deep, diving, juggling catch he made during an open scrimmage. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Onwualu should also get a chance to contribute inside immediately after displaying flashes of athleticism early.
The already-crowded Notre Dame famous parents section will have to make room for one more.

ESPN 150 receiver Torii Hunter Jr. (Prosper, Texas/Prosper) committed to the Irish following their primetime home win over Michigan, our Damon Sayles writes, making him the school's 21st commitment for the Class of 2013.

Hunter Jr. is the son of the MLB All-Star of the same name, and he joins the nephew of Dodgers manager Don Mattingly (Danny) and the son of pro basketball Hall of Famer David Robinson (Corey) as Irish 2013 commitments looking to make their own names.

Hunter Jr. raved about Saturday's atmosphere to Sayles, an obvious strong sign for a program that has been looking to make its game day scene a little bit more electric. Coach Brian Kelly has said that will come with winning. And, as he found out by landing Sayles, Notre Dame can benefit beyond the scoreboard because of it, too.

Hunter Jr. is ESPN's 50th overall prospect, the No. 6 player in Texas and the No. 8 receiver in the nation.

Here is a breakdown of the Irish's 21-man 2013 recruiting class, which features 17 four-star prospects, six ESPN150 commits (*) and 12 ESPN300 commits (**)
The combination of Don Mattingly and David Robinson could make the family section the most popular spot in Notre Dame Stadium in the coming years.

For now, the Irish will revel in commitment No. 15, three-star athlete Danny Mattingly (Spokane, Wash./Mead), who is the nephew of the former Yankees star and current Dodgers manager. Much more importantly, he is the second linebacker commit for Notre Dame, having recorded 62 tackles and four interceptions last season while also hauling in six scores as a tight end.

A Catholic with Indiana roots, Mattingly reportedly had his eyes on Notre Dame for some time, with his high school coach, Sean Carty, telling colleague Erik McKinney that "it's something he's been thinking about his whole life." Insider

Here's a breakdown of the Irish's 15-man 2013 recruiting class, which is composed of three four-star prospects, four ESPN150 commits (*) and nine ESPN300 commits (**)

Irish recruiting roundup

June, 21, 2012
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Playoffs?! We only talk about one subject in this post.
Receiver Corey Robinson (San Antonio/San Antonio Christian), son of basketball Hall of Famer David Robinson, committed to Notre Dame late Tuesday, becoming the Irish's ninth commitment for the class of 2013 and, more importantly, their sixth since Saturday.

"On the trip, I felt it myself. I felt the connection," David Robinson told our Damon Sayles. "I felt this could be a place where I could leave my son and feel good about it. The decision wasn't all mine, so I wanted him to be sure, too."

How quickly things have changed. Notre Dame entered the spring on the heels of Tee Shepard's de-commitment, the school's fifth from the 2012 class. Momentum was gone and then, with a strong Junior Day showing this past weekend, it suddenly shifted back in Notre Dame's favor.

To recap the past four days ...
  • Saturday: Offensive tackles Colin McGovern (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West) and Hunter Bivin (Owensboro, Ky./Apollo), the latter a Watch List member, commit to the Irish following Junior Day.
  • Sunday: ESPNU 150 Watch List quarterback Malik Zaire (Kettering, Ohio/Archbishop Alter) and Watch List offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey (Philadelphia/William Penn) commit to Notre Dame, giving the Irish four commits in a two-day span after entering the weekend with a three-man class.
  • Monday: Athlete Rashad Kinlaw (Galloway, N.J./Absegami) commits, giving the Irish their first cornerback in the last two classes.
  • Tuesday: Robinson commits following a trip to Wake Forest.

Watch List tight end Jacob Matuska (Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Hartley,) athlete James Onwualu (Saint Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham) and Watch List offensive tackle Steve Elmer (Midland, Mich./Midland) are the Irish's other commitments.

Notes from a busy weekend

March, 26, 2012
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Busy weekend, no?

Notre Dame more than doubled the size of its 2013 recruiting class, picking up commitments Sunday from ESPNU 150 Watch List quarterback Malik Zaire (Kettering, Ohio/Archbishop Alter) and Watch List offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey (Philadelphia/William Penn). On Saturday, offensive tackles Colin McGovern (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West) and Watch List member Hunter Bivin (Owensboro, Ky./Apollo) pledged their allegiance to Brian Kelly and the Irish.

Notre Dame also invited us in for the last half-hour or so of its first padded spring practice Saturday, with Kelly holding court for a few minutes afterward before we interviewed all four quarterbacks for the first time this spring.

You can read about Gunner Kiel's first session with reports here. I have to say, the kid was very impressive and candid given the circumstances.

You will also be seeing four different stories today on the quarterbacks, including another one on Kiel, this one focusing on him being, as Chuck Martin called it, "overexuberant" since arriving in January.

As for practice, former NBA star David Robinson was the first person to stand out upon entrance, as the 7-foot-1 Hall of Famer was chatting it up with Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick. Robinson's son, Corey, was visiting for Junior Day.
“We were going to throw some to you, but your son said you didn't have good feet,” Kelly said to Robinson after practice.

DaVaris Daniels (leg) did not participate in the mini-scrimmage when we were viewing, but Kelly said he was expected back at practice Wednesday. Cierre Wood (quad) was held out at the end as well, but Kelly said he went live in the rodeo drill.

Irish recruiting roundup

March, 15, 2012
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Notre Dame gained a 2013 commitment today and lost a 2012 one. Weird, huh?

Irish Lunch Links

March, 14, 2012
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Dwight Howard's still talking?

A strong junior season has put San Antonio Christian receiver Corey Robinson on the map of elite colleges.

Notre Dame was the first to offer Robinson, a month ago, following the 6-foot-4, roughly 200-pounder's 42-catch, 660-yard, 10-touchdown campaign.

You may have heard of his father, David, who is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame after a lengthy career with the San Antonio Spurs.
"I don't know if I'm the type of player my dad was, where I can go somewhere and bring them to national prominence like he did with Navy basketball," Corey said. "I want to go somewhere where I love the coaches and the atmosphere and where I feel comfortable. I'll be spending eight months there. I want to have a shot at going to the highest level of football.

"Sure, there's pressure, but the pressure's nice because it makes me work harder. I'm David Robinson's kid, and people don't really know me as Corey right now. That gives me reason to work. I want to be the best, and if I'm going to be the best, I don't want to be in the shadow."

To read more on the Robinsons, check out Damon Sayles' story.

Irish lunch links

February, 15, 2012
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