- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Denard Robinson said he would be more open than he had ever been, that those in attendance at the Big Ten Football Kickoff Luncheon would learn more about him than he ever shared.
It was all part of his desire to share more of himself, to be more open about his life. After a speech lasting a little more than eight minutes Friday afternoon in front of about 2,000 people, he accomplished that and more.
In a speech revolving around the theme of the choices you make, Robinson revealed one of his siblings died when Robinson was 10 years old and that when he had recruiting visits as a prospect he held them at his grandparents' house because he was self-conscious about his own surroundings.
"Where I came from, it was easy to do the wrong thing, quit school, do drugs, live the street life. It's tough to do the right things," Robinson told the crowd. "You may not know my freshman year of high school I was ineligible to play spring football because of my grades. It would have been easy for me to give up and fall into what all the other students were doing.
"But it was my choice to be different. To be uncommon."
He stressed to his peers the necessity to make good decisions and to realize that no matter what they might think, others view them as role models. He stressed trying to make a difference in the lives of others every day.
Robinson asked Michigan sports information director Justin Dickens if he could be the player to speak on behalf of his peers a few months ago. He had long ago decided he needed to stop being the shy quarterback he had been in the past and saw this as a way to overcome a fear of public speaking while also sharing his story and his message: "Be uncommon."
"My motto is: It's my goal to make somebody's day every day," Robinson said. "With this platform, we have that opportunity, an opportunity to make a difference."
Michigan mostly healthy
Coach Brady Hoke said Friday that his team is mostly healthy entering the start of training camp next week with one exception.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Antonio Poole, who looked like he had been climbing the depth chart during the spring, will not be available for the start of camp.
Hoke would not disclose Poole's injury or give a timetable for how long he might be sidelined.
Freshmen learning curve
While Hoke didn't have too much insight on the incoming freshmen he has yet to work with, he did say they have a lot of potential.
One in particular, defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins, could push for playing time early in his career and has been working to drop his weight significantly.
"Probably about 320 right now and he's working on that," Hoke said. "For all those guys, everything is so much accelerated, the intensity of how you lift, the intensity of how you go to school, the intensity of the expectations and how you act. It's all those things.
"It takes a little time and some get it sooner than others. I can't tell you who that is that is going to get it, but as a class they seem very close and are hard-working and have taken a lot of pride in what they are doing."
17hPat McManamon and Jeremy Fowler