Finally, one of Louisiana's best prospects for 2014 is able to simply play football.
Offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe) is already drawing praise as one of the state's -- if not the entire nation's -- top prospects in the Class of 2014. But for the past month, it has been completely unclear where, or if, he'd be playing his junior campaign.
This summer, Robinson withdrew from Ouachita Parish High School and transferred to West Monroe after his mother attained a job there.
The process that followed was a sticky one, with the Louisiana High School Athletics Association getting involved to investigate Robinson's eligibility. If it had been ruled that the junior transferred as the result of a recruitment effort, he would not have been eligible to play the season. The LHSAA's ruling came down last Friday, stating that West Monroe head coach Don Shows would be suspended two games and the school would be placed on a one-year probation and fined for "improprieties" -- such as Shows taking the Robinson family on a tour of West Monroe's facilities and two having West Monroe assistants driving Robinson to Alabama's spring game this past April.
Robinson, however, was declared eligible to play, starting with last Saturday's 38-14 win against C.E. Byrd. With the uncertainty behind him, Robinson said it was good to get back to the gridiron.
"It's just an excitement itself that the season is coming back around, and I'm excited to be playing and that everything worked out," he said.
Robinson's status was in limbo all through the Rebels' training camp this August, but that didn't stop the 6-foot-5, 330-pound tackle from getting his work in ahead of the season. Because of that, he said the transition back to playing games hasn't been a difficult one.
"It was a pretty smooth transition. I had been practicing with the team already, so I kind of, sort of had a good feel for the plays," Robinson said. "We were expecting a call (from the LHSAA) at any time, we just weren't sure of the exact date. When we got the call that everything was good to go, there wasn't any hesitation or anything."
The favorable ruling strengthens what is an already-impressive West Monroe squad. The Rebels are the defending Class 5A state champions after beating Carencro, 20-13, last December. The Rebels' defense was already formidable, and their running game just got a lot harder to stop; their quarterback a lot harder to sack.
Before his whirlwind of an August, Robinson also had a productive summer on the recruiting circuit. He took a visit to Texas, along with stops at familiar and nearby powerhouses in LSU and Alabama.
"It was real nice at all three schools," he said. "That was actually my first time visiting Texas, but I had been to LSU and Alabama plenty of times."
Robinson is very familiar with the staffs and setups in Baton Rouge and Tuscaloosa, but he said he was happy to get a feel for the Longhorns in his first trip.
"It was just nice to finally get to meet some of the coaches at Texas and see their facilities and their campus and everything," he said. "It went good and I had a nice time and all -- a real good camp."
With all that in mind, Robinson said those three power programs sit at the top of a long list of scholarship offers. After his camp visits, his recruiters -- Greg Studrawa at LSU, Mike Groh at Alabama and Stacy Searels at Texas -- kept in touch with him about his off-field issues.
"Coach Groh, and Coach Stud at LSU -- those were the main two that I was talking to," he said. "They just wanted to keep them updated on all the eligibility things and told me just to be patient."
The patience has paid off, as the Rebels prepare for their Week 2 game against Calvary Baptist on Saturday. The schedule will keep him busy, but Robinson said he has several plans to visit schools during the season this fall.
"I planned on going to LSU vs. North Texas, but our game at West Monroe was moved to Saturday because of the hurricane," he said. "I'll most definitely be at LSU vs. Alabama, and I think we're planning going to LSU vs. South Carolina, and maybe a couple of Bama games. I'm not sure yet."
Until then, Robinson is free to focus on football.