UT gets big, versatile athlete in Robinson

A'Shawn Robinson is the definition of a gentle giant.

He’s as soft spoken a person as you’ll find off the field, sometimes even coming across inaudible if you’re standing right next to him.

But don’t mistake his coy demeanor for weakness. The 6-foot-4, 310-pound junior is a completely different person on the field, one that you’d be wise to stay away from if given the opportunity.

That will be hard to do for Longhorns opponents beginning with the 2013 season, particularly for those on the offensive line.

Robinson gave Texas his non-binding verbal commitment on Thursday afternoon. He’s well-versed on both sides of the ball but said that the Longhorns have told him he could play defensive tackle.

“It was 50-50 on schools wanting me on offense and defense,” Robinson said. “But I like defense because I like to take my anger out on people. I let the anger build up over a period of time and then I let it out on the field.”

Texas defensive tackles coach Bo Davis was a big reason why Robinson opted to choose Texas over offers from Alabama, Arkansas, LSU and TCU.

“He was very influential,” Robinson said. “I have seen how good of a coach he is and how good he makes players. He was really influential.”

Texas’ decision to recruit Robinson as a defensive tackle comes as a surprise to many who viewed him as one of the nation’s elite offensive tackle prospects. But it does make sense.

For one, he’s one of the best players in the state regardless of position. So getting him on board was the No. 1 key first and foremost. If a position switch is needed for the betterment of the program once he gets to campus, Robinson should oblige without a problem. He wants to win.

“I want to help Texas become a national championship team,” he said. “I think they have the talent to do that.”

As defensive tackles go, the Longhorns lost one to eligibility in Kheeston Randall in 2011 and were docked one more when Calvin Howell decided to transfer a few weeks ago.

So entering 2012, Texas will return Ashton Dorsey (Jr.), Chris Whaley (Jr.), Desmond Jackson (Soph.), and Greg Daniels (Soph.), and will bring in junior college transfer Brandon Moore, who has three years to play two, and freshmen Malcom Brown, Alex Norman and Paul Boyette Jr.

That would leave the Longhorns with three seniors in 2013 (Dorsey, Whaley and Moore), and then there’s the possibility that Brown could leave early for the NFL if his career pans out like most expect. So Texas needs to start adding depth in 2013.

The Longhorns appear to be in much better shape from an offensive line standpoint. They’ll have players like Dominic Espinosa, Josh Cochran, Sedric Flowers, Garrett Greenlea, Marcus Hutchins and Taylor Doyle with at least two years of eligibility remaining in 2013.

Plus, the state of Texas is littered with so many talented offensive linemen for 2013 (Darius James, Kent Perkins, Ishmael Wilson, J.J. Gustafson, Ja’Braylin Thomas, Patrick Morris) that it can afford to take someone like Robinson as a DT without having to fret about meeting its quota for offensive linemen.

The Longhorns recruitment of Jake Raulerson, their first commitment of 2013, was very similar to Robinson. Raulerson was being recruited as an offensive lineman as well but chose Texas in part because he could be a defensive end. Robinson said he spoke to Raulerson on Sunday when he was offered during Texas’ junior day, and that the two have been close friends for a while.

Those are two potential ESPNU 150 members that Texas now has to build around in the coming seasons.