Entering his freshman year at San Antonio Christian
, Corey Robinson
wanted to try out for football so he could play with his brother, David Robinson Jr., who had played wide receiver the previous year as a sophomore.
Corey, who is the middle son of former NBA superstar David Robinson Sr., told MaxPreps, "I used to throw with him and go to his games. It was a chance to play with him. I went to tryouts, but my older brother wasn't there. I came home and asked him where he was. He said, 'I don't like the game and I'm not going to play anymore.' I was stuck."
Actually, Corey wasn't stuck. He was just on his way to making a name in a sport other than basketball, which enabled his famous father to fashion a Hall of Fame career.
Corey pointed out, "He (his brother) kept quiet. He knew I could catch the ball. I would not have played for sure (if he had known he wouldn't be playing with his brother)."
If he ever was going to quit football, Corey would have done it the first year. Playing on the JV team with freshmen and a couple sophomores, he took his lumps.
"That was brutal," he confessed. "We just got physically out-matched."
"God really blessed me to see potential in myself. I knew I was going to get bigger and faster. There are a couple more inches in me," added the 6-fioot-4, 195-pound junior wide receiver who runs 40 yards in 4.6 seconds and has a vertical leap of 31 inches.
He came into his own last fall, catching 42 passes for 660 yards and 10 touchdowns as his team posted a 10-3 record and reached the TAPPS state semifinals. He was rewarded with a first-team All-State berth.
Though he is the top substitute on the basketball team and also plays tennis, Corey realized last week that football is his true path to the future because he received scholarship offers from Notre Dame and Iowa on back-to-back days.
"I was really amazed," Corey said. "Over the past year I've really grown to love football. Basketball, I've tried my hand at it, but right now I clearly enjoy football more. With my size in basketball I imagine I'd have to be very skilled. I have more equipment for football. I love that one-on-one matchup with the cornerback. On every play you get a chance. I love that."
Now Corey has to change his television habits. He admitted, "I never really followed football until this year. I used to only follow the Spurs (his dad's former team). So I need to start watching more football."
Lions coach Bryan Marmion revealed some of the reasons that Corey is blossoming into an outstanding football player.
"He can jump. He has a long wing span and big hands. For the first two years, he was just a sponge, just trying to learn. He has a 4.4 GPA and is very smart. He has asked so many questions. If I didn't know his family, I'd have wondered if this kid's family ever played sports.
"This year - in the middle part of the season - things really started clicking for him. He figured out, 'I am a big guy and I've got to start asking for the ball.' His upside is really incredible. He's not a blazer, but he's got a gift of going up and getting the ball. He's a great kid and has taught himself to play several instruments."
Surprisingly, it took a long time for Corey to realize how famous his 7-1 father is.
"I didn't even know he had such an impact on the game until the past year or two," he confessed. "I had to go find film on him myself. He didn't bring anything to me. He worked with me a lot on basketball because that's what he knows. In football it's more like ideas, concepts and being athletic. He came to all my games."
David Robinson never has pushed his boys to play sports.
He told MaxPreps, "If they show an interest we would work on things. I want them to grow up natural. I never want them to think they have to grow up to my legacy. I'm kind of a freak of nature (he grew 6 inches after high school). Nobody else in my family is 7-feet tall, but everybody in my family has athletic genes."
The elder Robinson is philosophical about his son's growing love for football.
He says, "The potential is there, but in basketball you have to play a lot. It's a skill sport. You must make moves and out-think people. In football they measure everything athletically. With his size and athleticism, they feel they can train him. He feels 6-5 is small. Corey is going to grow and get stronger and stronger. It's a blessing that he's fresh and excited."
David believes a major turning point for Corey was his participation in the U.S. Army underclass combine, which was held this winter in San Antonio.
"They (college recruiters) discovered, 'Oh, he actually can play.' That opened some eyes."
Still, he was surprised by the early offers from Notre Dame and Iowa, expecting them to start coming in the fall.
A proud father's favorite story about Corey was when he coached him as a third-grader in a church basketball league.
David related, "He was the point guard and he would never shoot the ball. He was a really good ballhandler and passer. He always played with such a joy. He never was intimidated. He's just built to be successful. He's fearless. When you're around him, you can't help but like him. He is a great teammate. I think he wants to be like his dad a little bit, because he always tries to do things the right way."
Corey realizes the Robinsons all are "late bloomers," so it's hard to tell how big he will be at full maturity.
That goes for younger brother Justin, a 14-year-old, 5-11 freshman, who some feel could some day approach his father's dominating height.
"His legs are so long - he's almost all legs," Corey noted. "They're only one or two inches shorter than mine."