COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 05: Matt Robinson #40 of the Maryland Terrapins celebrates during the closing moments of the Terrapins 32-24 win over the Miami Hurricanes at Byrd Stadium on September 5, 2011 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
A recurring series where we will profile every player on Maryland's roster, counting down to kick-off against William & Mary on September 1. Thanks to OBNUG for the idea.
Today we profile Maryland's starting strong safety.
Matt Robinson, Sophomore (RS), Safety, #40
Major: Criminal Justice
Collegiate Stats: 65 tackles (23 assisted), two for a loss, two fumbles forced, two pass breakups
High School Stats (Senior Year): 75 tackles, four sacks, one interception, one fumble recovery for a touchdown, one blocked punt, 39 catches for 792 yards and ten touchdowns
Recruiting Ratings: Three stars by Rivals, ESPN (#151 athlete), two stars by Scout (#60 tight end)
High School: Atholton
Hometown: Columbia, Md.
High School Highlights:
How'd He Get to College Park?
Robinson was very much an under-the-radar prospect coming out of Atholton, where he played for former Terp lineman Kyle Schmitt and assisted in a seven-win turnaround in the new coach's first season with the Raiders. He was a star football and basketball player at Atholton - he made all-county teams in both sports - and was named first team all-Met by the Sun and the Post, was a consensus all-state selection, and was named the Howard County Times defensive player of the year.
Maryland was the only FBS school to offer Robinson a scholarship, although Boston College, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Pittsburgh all expressed interest.
As a true freshman, Robinson was an unlikely contributor - coming from a low-profile recruiting background to play in all 13 games, starting in one. He was second among reserve players with 29 tackles, and forced two fumbles on the year, setting him up for a promising sophomore campaign.
Robinson's sophomore year started out pretty well, with ten tackles against Miami and 13 apiece against West Virginia and Temple. A shoulder injury then sidelined him for the rest of the season, but he was able to secure a medical redshirt. In those three games, Robinson was able to continue to showcase his playmaking skills - he forced two more fumbles.
If the high school (Atholton) sounds familiar to you for non-Robinson reasons, you're either a Nationals fan or just know a lot about former Terp walk-ons. National utility guy Steve Lombardozzi and former Maryland defensive back Kalvin Seamonson (who left the program with his dad, Al) both went to Atholton.
Matt "Matty Boh" Robinson
The 13 tackle games against West Virginia and Temple.
The shoulder injury that cost him the rest of the season.
Robinson comes back strong, ranking in the top three on the team in tackles and forcing at least five turnovers.
Robinson struggles to regain his old form, as the shoulder still bothers him and he can't lay down as forceful of a hit as he used to.
Assuming he's healthy, Matt Robinson is the automatic starter at strong safety for the Terps. He's big, he's very strong, and he hits harder than any secondary player on the team. Despite Maryland's secondary struggles last season, he and Franklin form a pretty solid safety duo - a younger guy who hits extremely hard and compiles tackles with an older guy who is good in coverage and gets interceptions.
The obvious concern is the shoulder injury. It was a serious one that sidelined Robinson for months, and we honestly can't know if he'll hit the same way he used to until the first game of the season.
Behind Robinson on the spring depth chart is A.J. Hendy, but he's moving to cornerback. It's likely that if anything happens to Robinson, Hendy will still take over as the starter, but in a situation where Robinson might need a quick break and Maryland needs multiple corners, walk-on Clarence Claiborne is likely the guy to back him up at strong safety.
Robinson is a talented player and local kid who seemingly came out of nowhere to become one of the best players on Maryland's defense. A lot will depend on his shoulder, but if he's healthy, the Terps' secondary suddenly looks a whole lot better.
Our next player went to the same high school as Torrey Smith.