May 9, 2008

Memphis defender lands first two SEC offers

Gene Robinson won't forget Tuesday afternoon for a long time.

The cornerback from Memphis (Whitehaven), Tenn., picked up a pair of Southeastern Conference offers, one right after the other, in a short period of time. In so doing, the 5-foot-11, 175-pounder saw his stock rise and his profile expand in the relative blink of an eye.

First, Alabama defensive coordinator Kevin Steele presented Robinson with an offer to sign with the Crimson Tide in February. Shortly thereafter, Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix and running backs coach Derrick Nix brought forward a scholarship offer for Robinson to join the Rebels in Oxford in time for the 2009 season.

"It was a dream come true," Robinson said. "I was equally excited."

Robinson now has offers from Ole Miss, Alabama, Memphis and Middle Tennessee State, and while he's claiming no leader at this point, it's clear the two SEC Western Division programs are at the top of his list right now.

"I was offered by Ole Miss during my sophomore year," Robinson said. "I've been to Ole Miss a lot. I just have to get to know the new staff and go from there. Derrick Nix, who's recruiting me, is a pretty cool coach."

Robinson was in Tuscaloosa for the first time last weekend, attending the NIKE Combine on the Alabama campus.

"From what I saw, I liked it," Robinson said. "It was nice. I want to go back on an unofficial visit."

Those summer trips to Oxford and Tuscaloosa will be critical, for Robinson plans to make a commitment prior to the start of his senior season.

"I'll pick later this summer," Robinson said. "I want to get it out of the way."

Ole Miss is recruiting Robinson strictly as a cornerback. Alabama "loved my highlight film at safety, but Coach (Nick) Saban said cornerbacks are hard to find and if I signed with Alabama, they'd try me there also. I'd have to gain a lot of weight to play safety (in college), so that's not a bad idea."

Robinson talked to Saban Wednesday, noting that he liked how the Crimson Tide coaches were "quick on their feet. I felt wanted."

He expects to talk to Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt soon.

"I'm really looking forward to that," Robinson said.


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