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Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Lions spotlight: S Neiko Robinson

By Josh Moyer

Every weekday until signing day, NittanyNation will break down a commitment from Penn State’s 2013 recruiting class. This is the final Lions spotlight.

Vitals: S Neiko Robinson, Bratt, Fla./Northview, 6-foot, 162 pounds.

Committed: June 4, 2012.

ESPN.com grade: 75. Three-star prospect.

ESPN.com rankings: No. 59 at position, No. 448 in region, No. 165 in state.

Picked Penn State over: Louisiana Tech, Minnesota, Purdue, UAB and others.

State of the position: Both Malcolm Willis and Stephen Obeng-Agyapong return as fifth-year starters, but the depth here is far from great. Ryan Keiser is the most experienced backup, and two second-year players -- Jordan Lucas and Jake Kiley -- could compete for playing time here or at cornerback. This position was a weak spot last year, but it should be much improved this season.

Pros: "This guy is a hitter and a punishing tackler. Good combination of size, strength and pursuit speed. Does a good job reading the quarterback and seeing routes develop in zone schemes. Gets into correct deep zone position to provide over the top support. Demonstrates good ball tracking skills. Shows very good breaking burst and plant and drive skill closing the cushion on underneath routes." -- ESPN scouting report

Cons: "He has the range and physicality of a BCS level safety but possesses a lean corner frame and lacks the elite speed of a top-level perimeter defender. ...Transitions cleanly playing the ball in front of him but could have difficulty in man-to-man schemes at the BCS level. Can be late on run reads ..." -- ESPN scouting report

Similar to/potential role: He can play cornerback, if needed, and might not be a bad option in zone schemes. He could also step up right away and contribute to special teams. But, with two of the starting safeties on their fifth and final year of eligibility, Robinson is a strong redshirt candidate so this team can better prepare for the future.

Expected impact: 2014. Robinson should compete for a starting job next season and could very well end his career as a four-year starter. He's fast, tough and tackles well -- and might be one of the more surprising three-star athletes of this class.