July 18, 2013

Coach: 'No doubt' about Robinson's athleticism

It's hard to argue against Gelen Robinson's athleticism.

He has the pedigree, with his dad Glenn being a basketball All-American at Purdue, and NBA No. 1 draft pick, and his brother, Glenn Jr., being a budding star for Michigan.

But Gelen Robinson's high school résumé is solid, too. A four-star Rivals.com recruit, Robinson had 47 tackles for loss for Lake Central last season, with 13 sacks and five forced fumbles. He was a state champion in wrestling, going 49-0 at 220-pounds and he finished runner-up in the state in shot put and discus.

"There's no doubt, he's a phenomenal athlete," Lake Central coach Brett St. Germaine said. "When you look at what he's done in high school, not only in football but in wrestling and track, I think there's still a very high ceiling for Gelen once his focus is completely on football. No doubt he's a phenomenal athlete; no doubt he's going to get better.

"Talking to the (Purdue) coaches, for the lack of a better description, they sort of see Gelen as a face of the 2014 recruiting class. So I think gives you an idea of how the coaches feel about Gelen and where he fits in the grand scheme of things. He's a great athlete."

Robinson committed to the Boilermakers earlier this month, choosing Purdue over offers from Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Indiana and others. Although he might have been a Purdue lean for months, a couple of trips during the camp season in June, including one in which he went through a personal workout with Marcus Freeman, solidified his stand.

"I don't think that Gelen decided on Purdue because his dad went there and his dad is a legend," St. Germaine said. "It could played a small part of it. And dad speaking very highly of the school, and his mom was also a student there, I just think that at the end of the day, you have to give kudos to the staff. He felt extremely comfortable with the coaching staff and it all just fit right for him. It's relatively close to home, not that that was necessarily a factor but it does make life a little easier for family and friends and the fact that his perfect fit happens to be an hour down the road."

Purdue is recruiting Robinson to play middle linebacker, a bit of a move from his days at Lake Central. But perhaps not a huge one. Robinson plays outside linebacker in St. Germaine's 3-4 scheme after having played defensive end a couple years ago in a 4-3.

But the 3-4 allows Robinson a chance to shine.

"He's an edge rusher and can overwhelm people with his power and speed," St. Germaine said. "He just has that kind of thing going on, whether it's a speed move or a power bull rush, he's been extremely successful for us getting to the quarterback and making plays behind the line of scrimmage.

"Statistically it's off the charts type of stuff. The tackles for loss, I think last year, was 47. So just statistically, and watching the film, he's doing things for us that makes him a major disruptive force on defense."

St. Germaine thinks the middle will fit Robinson's skills well, but also knows that his star could move, if he hits a growth spurt and grows a couple inches.

"But right now, he's lucky to be 6-2 and I think a lot of people would pull him aside and say 'Well, what is he?' They were trying to figure out if he was going to grow three or four inches," St. Germaine said. "But Purdue was kind of committed to the idea that he was going to be a Mike linebacker, knowing that could change. But right now that's where they see him. I don't think there's any question he can handle that, based on what they've seen on film and the stuff he does in term of power and the success of being a wrestler and in track."

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