UK Football

Late recruiting push by SEC powers did not lure Davonte Robinson from UK

Henry Clay’s Davonte Robinson, left, ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown as Henry Clay hosted Tates Creek on Sept. 11, 2015.
Henry Clay’s Davonte Robinson, left, ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown as Henry Clay hosted Tates Creek on Sept. 11, 2015. Herald-Leader

Even though Davonte Robinson grew up in Lexington, Alabama was his favorite college football team.

So it created some stress for the Henry Clay High School defensive back — who committed to play college football for the Kentucky Wildcats during his junior season — when the Crimson Tide showed some late recruiting interest in him.

But Alabama had not offered Robinson a scholarship by the time Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart was hired as Georgia head coach. Smart brought Bama defensive backs coach Mel Tucker with him to Athens as defensive coordinator.

Then, rather than Alabama trying to pry Robinson away from UK, it was Georgia.

Once Smart and Tucker were in place, the Bulldogs offered the 6-foot-1, 189-pound Robinson a scholarship.

“They wanted him to come down for a (official recruiting) visit two weekends ago,” Derek Robinson, Davonte’s father, said of Georgia. “But I think (Davonte) just thought it was too late in the process. By that point, he was ready for (recruiting) to be over.”

Some of Robinson’s classmates among UK’s 2016 signees are already enrolled at Kentucky and will be able to go through spring practice.

That was not an option for Robinson. A track star at Henry Clay, he has unfinished business.

As a sophomore, Robinson won the 3A state championship in the 100-meter dash. But last year, even though he helped the Blue Devils to the 3A team state title, he finished third in the 100.

This year, Robinson’s goal is to get the 100 meters state crown back. “Win the 100, and hopefully break the (state) record,” Robinson said.

He says Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops has agreed to let him run track at UK, too.

Even if his childhood dream school, Alabama, had come through with a late football scholarship, Robinson says it would not have trumped the allegiance he felt for Kentucky because it offered him first.

“UK was there,” he said. “(Alabama) came in so last minute; I would be more appreciative to go to UK than go there.”

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