Q&A with Gerell Robinson

Q&A with Gerell Robinson

Gerell Robinson may the most heralded recruit in ASU's 2008 class, and judging by his performance thus far in fall camp it's easy to see why. In this exclusive Devils Digest interview, the wide receiver talks about his first week of Sun Devil practices, life as n ASU freshman, and what kind of reception he expects in Tucson when the Sun Devils play the Wildcats later this year.

Devils Digest: How do you enjoy campus life at ASU so far?

Gerell Robinson: "It's fun. Three days after I graduated (high school) I enrolled (at ASU) and moved in here. Campus life is cool, I'm on my own, and there are more responsibilities so it shows I'm growing up. "

DD: What is it like to have your family be able to attend practices and games?

GR: "It's always good to see my mom and dad on a regular basis at practice during the week, because I don't get to drive to Chandler too often so it makes me feel happy that I decided to stay in-state (for college)."

DD: What were some of the main factors that made you decide to attend ASU?

GR: "There were a lot of things, mainly (head) Coach (Dennis) Erickson, (wide receivers) Coach (Eric) Yarber. It was the best place for me. I could have gone to Notre Dame, Oregon or USC but it would have been just because of the glitz and glamour but this was the best decision for me."

DD: In your view, what will be expected of you at ASU?

GR: "There are a lot of expectations. From my background in high school, I know that he (Erickson) expects a lot out of me, the other coaches expect a lot out of me and all the players do, too. I expect a lot out of myself and I'm just living up to it day by day. I'm learning from (the coaches) in film sessions and being a complete student of the game so day by day I'm getting better."

DD: Why did you choose to exclusively play wide receiver in college?

GR: "To work hands-on with Coach Yarber is the number one thing. He's coached Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and look where they are today. He sees me in the same realm as them, so you can't go wrong if he says it."

DD: Describe your relationship with Coach Yarber.

GR: "He's a great guy; I look to him for everything. Any question I have, he'll tell me, whether it's personal or sports-related or even school-related. He's like a second father-figure to me."

DD: What do you feel are some of your strengths as a wide receiver?

GR: "My size is a big factor; I would say I have strong hands. I always expect to make the catch and if I don't, I'll do what I have to so I can make it work the next time, so I don't expect to drop too many balls; I expect to me dependable."

DD: Which player(s) have you learned the most from since arriving to ASU?

GR: "Since I've been here, I've learned a lot from Rudy (Carpenter). He's really taken me under his wing and told me step-by-step what to do. I've known him since I was 12, so he expects a lot out of me. He says I can be one of his go-to guys this year, so I'm just trying to live up to that role."

DD: Describe your relationship with Rudy Carpenter and how you got to know him.

GR: "His dad played high school football with my step-dad, so when he was coming out of high school I had already met him, when he was being recruited to ASU during his senior year of high school. It's a good relationship, we go to the gym and lift together, and we play basketball together and work out together."

DD: What is it like competing among a highly-talented group of wide receivers?

GR: "We all push each other. They're already one step ahead of me by being older and being in the system. I'm gradually getting there, there's a lot of talented competition but we're like a brotherhood. We always look out for each other and its good-spirited competition."

DD: From a player's perspective, how important is it for ASU to continue to dominate in-state recruiting?

GR: "It's very important. If we have a solid season like we did last year, I don't think it'll even be an issue. Year-in and year-out (the state of Arizona) has one or two Top-100 (recruits) and we have some this year. If we have a solid season, everything will fall into place and we'll keep the train rolling."

DD: What's it like to have several players at ASU who also attended your high school alma mater, Hamilton High School?

GR: "It's always good, when players start jawing about their old high schools and stuff like that; I can always find at least one player within the room that we can talk about ‘Hamilton did this, did that'."

DD: What are your expectations for the 2008 season?

GR: "To win. Definitely to win, that's the first thing. Winning solves everything. I also want to make it to a BCS bowl and to be Pac-10 champs, the whole works."

DD: What personal expectations do you have for your freshman year?

GR: "Just to make a solid impact and to be known to be dependable as a freshman, regardless of my year, just to be a dependable receiver that (Rudy Carpenter) can look to when he's escaping the pocket or just looking to check down."

DD: What kind of ribbing have you received from upper-classmen in your early days at ASU?

GR: "It's all in good fun, there's no malice about it; they chant ‘All-American'. Just recently we were in a film session and coach (Yarber) had a diagram up, when he clicked off of it, on the computer there was a big picture with ‘All-American' underneath it and it was my picture. It's all in good fun; he said that everybody's been up there (on the diagram). I did the same with younger players when I was in high school so I don't expect anything different."

DD: Throughout your first week of practice, how do you feel you've played?

GR: "I've exceeded even my own expectations. The first day I was out here, my head was somewhat spinning because I've been out here most of the summer but they've thrown a lot of stuff at me and Coach Yarber has taken me in the film room and sat down with me and showed me what I was doing wrong, he's been working with me a lot. Now, I'm at the point where I feel like one of the guys although I still have some little things to work on."

DD: What expectations do you want to accomplish during your ASU career?

GR: "I expect to be Pac-10 Champions and also to beat U of A the next few years that I'm here, because they're not the best school in the state. Also, I want to go to BCS bowl and to be national title contenders year-in and year-out and always have the national spotlight on Arizona State." DD: How do you expect to be treated when you travel to Tucson to face Arizona on Dec. 6?

GR: "I expect a little something. Last time I was there, I was on their side of the stands (as an Arizona recruit) but I expect it to be a heated rivalry. I look forward to it. I look forward to the signs and chants and I look forward to beating them, too."

Joe Healey is a 2006 graduate of Arizona State University and a guest contributor to Devils Digest. He is also a feature writer each month in Maroon and Gold Illustrated and has contributed to ASU media guides, press releases and other official athletic publications. He can be contacted by email at josephwhealey@hotmail.com.

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