UH’s Robinson holding his own at cornerback
In high school, cornerback Jamal Robinson did it all for his team at Clements High School. Besides playing corner, he was a receiver, a kick and punt returner and even threw a few passes as quarterback for the Buffaloes.
“I played everything,” Robinson said.
Now, Robinson is just a specialist in the secondary. Before coming to UH, Robinson said he always looked forward to the chance to be a defensive back when he made it to the collegiate level.
“I wanted to be a cornerback going into college. That’s what I wanted to play,” Robinson said. “UH gave me an opportunity to be a corner, and I embraced it.”
Robinson’s passion for his position has been a benefit to the team. Last season he had 13 deflected passes, 58 tackles and one forced fumble. He led the team in interceptions with five, including one he ran back for a touchdown, confirming the Cougar’s upset over Oklahoma State.
Like many athletes, Robinson is an adrenaline junkie who lives for the big moment. He said the imminence that the ball will be thrown his way is what fuels his love for the game.
“I like the pressure, being a playmaker, being that person on the field where it’s like, ‘Hey man, the ball’s going to come this way and you have to make a play.’ I really like that,” Robinson said.
Robinson’s toughest opponents are the receivers he faces off against in practice. James Cleveland led the team in receiving yards last season; Patrick Edwards is an elusive runner, as is Tyron Carrier, a member of the track team.
He said it helps keep practices competitive, which assists him on the field.
“I love it,” he said. “Going against James, Pat and Tyron everyday. They’re some of the fastest people in the nation. When the games come around it really slows the game down a lot going against other receivers.”
With the switch to a 3-4 defense, Robinson said he has not had to make any adjustments, and that it gives him and his teammates more chances to make big plays.
“I like the switch to the 3-4. It gives us a lot more opportunities to make plays, just a great defense — period,” he said. “Coach Stewart is a great defensive coordinator. He brings a lot to the defense, a lot of knowledge. We’re just getting it down and are ready to execute this Saturday.”
Along with football, Robinson was an all-city basketball player in high school and was awarded with most valuable player for both squads. He said he misses his time on the hardwood.
“I miss basketball everyday. I always tell everybody if I could do anything else right now it would be to play basketball,” he said.
Robinson is from Schertz, a small town about 20 miles away from San Antonio. He was also recruited by the University of Colorado and the University of Texas. When his playing days are over, he said that he hopes to use a degree in psychology to advise future generations of student-athletes.
“I want to be a sports psychologist. I want to help players, especially incoming freshman adapt to life at the college level. It’s not such an easy thing,” he said.