- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- When Gene Chizik and his staff were let go at Auburn, ESPN 300 wide receiver Earnest Robinson (Pinson, Ala./Pinson Valley) wanted to reopen his recruitment. The AU commit was close with the former staff, specifically assistant coaches Trooper Taylor and Tommy Thigpen.
“Me and Thigpen and Troop, we’re really close, so it really shocked me and everything,” Robinson said. “I had to think what I’m going to do now because I didn’t know what coaching staff was going to come in. I still had my options open.”
Enter Gus Malzahn.
The former Arkansas State head coach knew Robinson from his days as offensive coordinator at Auburn. So when Malzahn took the head coaching job at Auburn, the first in-home visit he made was with Robinson and his family. That’s when the in-state prospect knew he wanted to stay true to his commitment to the Tigers.
“We’ve got a good relationship,” Robinson said. “He recruited me since 10th grade, so we go way back. I know I’ve got a pretty good chance to start down there, so he wants me to take a leadership role and keep everybody on the team, help him with recruits.
“I just like how his offense is, and they want a deep-threat player, so I can be that guy.”
Robinson is already taking on that leadership role this week at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game. The Alabama squad features five Auburn commitments in all, and both Robinson and four-star quarterback Jeremy Johnson are making sure the class stays together.
“He knows we need to stick together because we’re the two leaders who can take over the Auburn team,” Robinson said.
Although his commitment is solid, Robinson said he still plans to take his visit in January before he signs his letter of intent. He’s considering trips to Florida State, Georgia, LSU and Mississippi State.