Canton defensive end Darius Robinson plans to take his time before making his decision on where he will play college football next fall.
Robinson, like Clemson-bound Ruke Orhorhoro of River Rouge, played high school ball for the first time his junior year and impressed college coaches with his play and potential, helping Canton to a 10-2 record and a district title with an upset win over No. 1 Belleville.
“Last year was my first year playing football, so I didn’t get offers until after my junior year,” said Robinson, who has 20 offers, one coming from Michigan State. “I played football from (kindergarten) through sixth grade, but then stopped to play basketball. I realized it’s much harder to go D1 in basketball than football. I just felt like my possible potential in football was better, so I transferred to Canton High School and it just took off from there.”
Robinson attended and played basketball his freshman and sophomore years at Canton Prep before transferring to Canton High.
Robinson learned a lot from head coach Tim Baechler, who guided Canton to 17 state playoff appearances in 20 years before retiring last winter.
“I learned practice is the most important thing because you get all the repetitions, and he preached going hard every play at practice because it really pays off in the game,” Robinson said. “When you watch film, you realized that all the things you do in practice over and over again really helps in the game.”
Robinson played at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds last season, getting in on 48 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss, three of them sacks.
Robinson has put a lot of time in the weight room since last season when he could bench just 205 pounds. He will play at 6-6 and 265 pounds this season, benching 290 and feeling much stronger and quicker, entering his senior year as a three-star recruit.
“I’m more toned and muscular, just more in shape,” Robinson said. “Over the offseason I just really rebuilt my body. I didn’t really lift weights when I first transferred. This is the best I’ve ever felt, just faster and stronger than ever and can’t wait for the season to begin.
“Our new head coach, Coach (Andy) Lafata is a great coach, real young and real passionate about this team since he played here before (for Baechler). I’m excited to see where this team is going to go with him leading us. I want to break the 11-sack record at Canton, have 60-plus tackles, earn a spot on the Dream Team and go 14-and-0 and win the state championship and be Mr. Michigan.”
Yes, Robinson has some lofty goals before moving on to play college football.
Robinson says he plans to start taking official visits in the fall.
“I haven’t taken any official visits yet; I’ll start taking them in the fall," Robinson said. “I plan to take them at Syracuse, Michigan State, Maryland, Rutgers and Colorado.
“Growing up I was a fan of Michigan State, just knowing that they always beat Michigan. They have great coaches up there and it’s a good environment to be around. I know a lot of their 2019 commits.”
Robinson and Canton will open the season Aug. 24 when it hosts Livonia Churchill in a rematch of last year’s Kensington Lakes Activities Association championship game won by Canton, 35-21.