May 16, 2011

Quarterback a priority for Purdue

Tennessee quarterback Patton Robinette says he can tell that Purdue's made him a recruiting priority this spring.

And that stands to good reason, considering Danny Hope and Co., went the 2011 recruiting class without taking a quarterback, leaving them short that position for the first time in recent memory. But Robinette has an offer from the Boilermakers, giving him early options from Arkansas State, Memphis, Vanderbilt and Northwestern, along with Ivy League schools Harvard and Brown. He's also getting strong interest, he says, from North Carolina, Louisville and Syracuse, with offers perhaps coming soon from that trio.

Robinette, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound QB at Maryville High School, says he's heard a lot from Purdue.

"They're really trying to get me up there to see the place," he said, "and asking me to call often. They're definitely trying to get me up there so I can see what Purdue is all about."

Robinette says he plans to visit soon, probably either late this month or in early June. He says he just wants to get a feel for the Boilers and West Lafayette.

"I want to see what they're all about," he said, "the coaching staff, the players, facilities, everything like that. I've heard everything is really, really nice from talking to Coach Hope, Coach (Gary) Nord and (recruiting) Coach (Paul) Gonnella. I'm really looking forward to coming up there."

It will be one of several visits this summer that Robinette plans to make. He's been to Northwestern already and received his offer from the 'Cats on Saturday.

"I'm pretty excited about it," Robinette said Saturday evening. "I've visited up there and really liked it. I was very impressed with the staff and players and facilities and the school's new commitment. I'm definitely impressed and it's one I want to look at."

Although Robinette has about 10 schools now either having offered or showing strong interest, he says he's not yet ready to name any favorites. He's still trying to gather interest, particularly trying to learn how he'd be able to make an impact both athletically and academically at a school.

"I'm trying to stay open so I can make the best decision for me," he said.

A gifted student who scored a perfect 36 on his SAT, Robinette says academics will play a part in his decision, but they won't be Priority No. 1.

"Football is a big part of my life and a bulk of my decision is probably going to be about football and the best opportunity I get to play football," he said. "But academics are something I'm going to keep in mind as well."

As a junior on the football field, Robinette guided Maryville to a state 6A championship, throwing for 1,800 yards with 22 touchdowns and only one interception. He also rushed for 970 yards with 11 more scores.

Listed as a pro-style quarterback by Rivals, Robinette says he's a pocket passer who can run when the situation calls for it.

"We do some option stuff at our school and I've done that pretty successfully," he said. "I had a pretty good season rushing. People tell me I'm pretty mobile in the pocket with pressure and am good at avoiding that kind of stuff. Even though I'm probably a pro-style guy, I think I can run the type of stuff you need to to play quarterback at the next level."

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