Vandy a backup to UNC for QB Robinette

Last week will be a time that Patton Robinette will never forget.

The quarterback from Maryville (Tenn.) High School was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Tennessee early in the week then won a state title on Saturday evening.

“Last week was a great week,” the three-star quarterback said. “The state championship is always a fun week with all the fun stuff you get to do as a team. The Gatorade award was out of the blue. I knew I was a finalist. It was really and truly an honor to be the recipient of that. Then to culminate it with a state championship against an amazingly physical and fast Whitehaven team, it was a heck of a week.”

Now Robinette will turn to school and recruiting. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder has long been committed to North Carolina, a decision he's had to reevaluate in light of the Tar Heels' NCAA issues and uncertain coaching situation.

Robinette said he receives information on both topics from the current coaching staff, one he firmly endorses. North Carolina is currently evaluating whether to retain interim coach Everett Withers or search for another coach.

“What little that does reach me is from the coaches that are there right now,” Robinette said of the information he receives from Chapel Hill. “They're still hoping that they get another shot for another season. I'd like that. That would be a good thing but I think the administration is trying to figure out what they're trying to do. We'll see what happens.”

Robinette visited Vanderbilt last month. The Commodores have held a scholarship for Robinette even while he was committed to North Carolina. Robinette has also visited Stanford, who hasn't offered a scholarship yet because they have several quarterbacks on the roster.

“I've got two great options no matter what the coaching situation is, at Vanderbilt and North Carolina,” Robinette said. “I'm not too nervous about it. Obviously it's something that I'd like to take care of but I want to make a well-informed decision.”

Vanderbilt recently hosted four-star quarterback Gunner Kiel from Columbus (Ind.) East for an official visit. Robinette said that he wouldn't shy away from Vandy even if Kiel committed.

“There's always going to be competition no matter where you go,” Robinette said. “To play, you're going to have to prove yourself to be better.”

Like so many other prospects, the Commodores have impressed Robinette, who has taken note of head coach James Franklin's recent contract extension and plans to upgrade Vandy's athletic facilities.

“They're talking about changing the culture and they've been doing it,” Robinette said. “They make a bowl game their first year. That coaching staff is impressive.”

Robinette plans to enroll at his chosen school in January, but he's not going to spend the coming weeks dwelling on his pending decision. There's not much he can do until he receives some hard news from the Tar Heels. So for now, he'll focus on school and perhaps relish his legacy as a two-time state champion.

“I hope to be remembered as a team player, somebody that put the team first and realized that it's not just about individual awards and individual numbers,” he said. “It's about the win/loss column and being there and doing your job for your teammates. I hope to be remembered as a leader too, somebody that could bring the team together for that common goal of winning a state championship.

“(Now) I'm going to focus on finishing off my academic career at Maryville High School as I have my athletic career.”