TCU

Why one of nation’s top QB recruits wanted to play for TCU

When he arrives at TCU in January, Shawn Robinson knows what will happen: He will be seen as the next Trevone Boykin.

And why not? He has the same big arm, escapability and size that made Boykin a record-setting quarterback at TCU.

Enrolling in January as the highest-rated quarterback recruit ever in Fort Worth, Robinson not only fits the profile, he will work with the same coach in the same offense that turned Boykin into a Heisman candidate.

But Robinson has his own idea of the kind of quarterback he can be.

“The dual-threat label is cool, but I really want to eventually just become that pocket-passer type of quarterback that can create, buy time and run when he wants to,” he said. “I really just want to sit in the pocket and just throw. That’s really a big part of why I chose TCU. I’m trying to fully develop as a passer.”

Robinson, 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, is coming off a 16-0 season at DeSoto, throwing for 3,416 yards and 28 touchdowns and rushing for 1,439 yards and 19 touchdowns in leading the Eagles to their first state championship.

He could have gone a lot of places to become a pocket passer. He held offers from USC, UCLA, Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and more.

In the end, he said he most seriously considered only USC, Ohio State and TCU. And TCU, despite a home “disadvantage,” eventually had an edge with quarterbacks coach Sonny Cumbie.

“I tried my hardest not to go to TCU,” Robinson said with a smile during an interview in the DeSoto High School football offices two weeks ago. “I wanted to go far away from home. But they recruited me so hard. I just couldn’t turn them down. My family can come see me play.

“Coach Cumbie was the real deal. I could tell he genuinely believed in me. I trust that he’ll develop me into a passer, just get all the potential out of me. So I’m going to try to learn everything, all his secrets, to be the best I can be. It was a win-win.”

Staying home

In Tarrant County, Robinson will be more than close to home. He’ll actually be home.

Born in Plano, he was raised in Fort Worth while his mother, Andrea Robinson, coached the Fort Worth Dunbar girls basketball team to state championships in 2005 and 2007, and he played quarterback at Saginaw Chisholm Trail as a ninth-grader.

He spent his sophomore and junior seasons at Denton Guyer, where his father, Othell Robinson, had taken an assistant coaching position on the football staff.

Last April, when his mother became the girls basketball coach at DeSoto, Robinson transferred in.

And DeSoto, already one of the state’s top football powers, immediately became a state-championship favorite with one of the state’s top recruits in the fold.

“He wasn’t just given the job,” coach Todd Peterman said. “He earned it, because his backup’s pretty good, too. He wasn’t expecting to be given anything.”

Robinson authored the storybook ending to his high school career Saturday with a 38-29 victory against Cibolo Steele in the Class 6A Division II championship game at AT&T Stadium, despite a hip injury in the fourth quarter that had him limping at the end of the game.

“I finished with a lot of pain,” Robinson said. “But it doesn’t matter. I’m going to lay my body on the line for my team, regardless.”

Hardly anyone in DeSoto knew what they were getting with Robinson. By the end, they could all tell the same story.

“A brother. Hard worker. Motivator,” receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. said. “Really, everything you could ask.”

To his coaches at DeSoto, Robinson appears more than ready for an early start on the next level.

“Shawn’s very level-headed,” Peterman said. “Calm demeanor, but still has the fiery instincts of a great quarterback. He’ll be fine.”

Coaching surroundings

At TCU, Robinson will be around another familiar face: graduate assistant J.W. Walsh, a former Oklahoma State quarterback and the the son of Guyer head coach John Walsh, whom Robinson played for in 2014 and 2015.

“Coach Walsh’s dad knows me real well,” Robinson said. “It’s just wonderful to be around those people again.”

With Walsh, Cumbie and co-offensive coordinator Doug Meacham, TCU believes it is putting strong coaching around quarterback recruits. Former TCU receiver David Porter, an assistant coach at DeSoto, says Robinson’s growth in one season at DeSoto puts him in position to take advantage of it.

“He’s grown up a lot. Matured a lot. He’s just gotten a lot better,” Porter said. “He’s gotten smarter on the field. He’s gotten more aware of what’s going on. He’s going to transition well to the next level.”

Could Robinson play as a true freshman?

“Possibly. If he goes in, picks it up fast enough, he could get a shot,” Porter said. “But it’s on him. Him getting in early is going to help him out. He loves Coach Cumbie. They’re going to have a good connection.”

Robinson is a dynamic player, yet knows what he’s missing.

“I feel like I can make all the throws, but I definitely have a lot of things I need to work on,” he said. “But I feel I’m getting better and better each week. I’m just trying to be the best in every aspect of passing — knowing coverages, accuracy, touch, all of that.”

The plan

Robinson said he expects to redshirt in 2017, and that he would be fine with that. He said he wants to add muscle and spend the time necessary to gain a complete understanding of the Air Raid, which Cumbie operated at Texas Tech.

Enrolling in January became a necessity in his mind.

“It’s real beneficial. Very beneficial,” he said. “That’s why it’s not bothering me to redshirt, to get a year under my belt, get acclimated, get bigger, faster, stronger. Coach Cumbie has a good plan on how he’s going to teach me to play. He said I should have the whole offense down by spring. I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to it.”

The incumbent starter at TCU is Kenny Hill. The backup is veteran Foster Sawyer.

But the Horned Frogs did not get the production out of the quarterback position they expected. What if the job comes open for competition?

“I’m really not worried about that,” Robinson said. “If I redshirt, I redshirt. If they want to put me on the field, that’s fine with me. Whatever happens, happens. I’m just going to go in there and work my butt off.”

January remains weeks away. Spring practice is even further out. Then there’s a long summer before the start of fall practices in August.

Whatever happens has a long time to happen.

“The plan was to redshirt. They said I was going to redshirt,” Robinson said. “But I’m not sure. They haven’t said it in a while. But we’ll see.”

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

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