Penn State Football: McGloin Believes Allen Robinson Will Remain Loyal to the Program
Ever since tailback Bill Belton suffered a high ankle sprain in the third quarter of the opening game of the season, wide receiver Allen Robinson has been the Penn State offense’s only legitimate playmaker.
He had nine catches against Ohio, a career-high 10 at Virginia and he added five more Saturday, to go along with career highs of 136 yards and three touchdowns, as Penn State sank Navy, 34-7, on Military Appreciation Day at Beaver Stadium.
Robinson, a 6-foot-3, 201-pound sophomore from Southfield, Mich., was the offensive star of the game for Penn State for the third consecutive week, even though fifth-year senior quarterback Matt McGloin tied his career-high with four touchdown passes.
“It’s early, but he’s off to a great start,” wide receivers coach Stan Hixon said softly, when asked about Robinson.
Robinson had touchdown receptions of 45, 2 and 25 yards. He owes a big assist to freshman receiver Trevor Williams on the final score after the ball bounced off Williams’ hands and into Robinson’s tummy in the end zone.
He had another 45-yard reception that helped set up freshman tight end Jesse James' first career touchdown, a 2-yarder, on the opening series of the game.
Robinson leads the Nittany Lion receivers with 24 catches for 322 yards and four touchdowns. He is averaging 107.3 yards receiving per game and 13.4 yards per catch.
“He’s a really good young receiver that works extremely hard and studies the game,” said Bill O’Brien, who secured his first victory as Penn State's coach after two tough losses. “Always has a smile on his face and enjoys playing here.
“He's a fun guy to coach like a lot of these guys, and Allen's had a very solid year to this point. But we all know he can get better, and that starts Monday.”
Robinson’s impressive start has many worried that multiple major college programs will aggressively pursue him, which is understandable.
Remember, Robinson, like many of his Penn State teammates who are playing now, basically become free agents at the end of the season.
As a result of the harsh NCAA sanctions, once the final regular-season game of 2012 is played, any player can transfer to another school without penalty and be eligible to play immediately, as long as they do so prior to the first preseason practice of 2013.
While it may seem grossly unfair, that is the reality of the situation.
“I don’t think we have to worry about that now,” McGloin told me after Saturday’s game. “We still have nine games left. There’s a lot of football to be played from now until the end of the season.
“To be honest, Allen is very loyal to this program and very loyal to coach O’Brien. He loves playing here at Beaver Stadium. He’s a real team guy. I just can’t see him going anywhere.”
Said O'Brien: "There’s nothing we can do about the NCAA. All we can do is play under the rules they say to play under. But this group of kids in that locker room right now are a high-character group of kids that have come together. It’s one win and hopefully we can build on it.”
Robinson has greatly benefitted from the departures of receivers Devon Smith (Marshall) and Justin Brown (Oklahoma). A year ago as a freshman, Robinson managed just three catches for 29 yards. He appeared in 12 games, but was on the field for just 93 plays all season.
On Saturday, he became the first Penn State receiver to produce three touchdown catches in a game since Graham Zug turned the trick against Michigan in 2009.
Robinson, among six sophomore players who dub themselves as the "Supa Six," has quickly become McGloin’s go-to-guy now that Derek Moye has graduated.
“He isn’t the fastest guy in the world, but his routes are so perfect, so on,” McGloin said of Robinson. “It makes him a hard guy to cover.”
O’Brien said he’s not surprised by Robinson’s emergence in his pro-style offense. But, now that Shawney Kersey has been dismissed from the team, Alex Kenney is the only other receiver on the roster with at least five catches.
“You'd like to spread it around a little bit more,” O’Brien said. “We had a bunch of guys with one or two catches, but (Allen’s) a guy that plays in a position in a formation that he can be singled up and that's part of the read.
“Allen knows that and Matt knows that, but it's a part of the read. He's done a really good job of catching the football and making some plays.”
For now at least, Robinson insists he will remain in Happy Valley.
“I definitely want to be with coach O’Brien at Penn State,” he said. “This is the place I want to be.”
Even so, you can be sure other schools will try to snag Robinson once the season wraps up in November.
He is, after all, quite a catch.