Marc Robinson had to sit out last season after transferring from Heritage Hall to Millwood, so the closest he got to any varsity action was as a scout-team linebacker opposite the Falcons' group of stars, like Josh Turner, Kevonte Richardson, Brandon Swindall and others.
But sometimes, even that didn't work out.
“There would be days when we'd have to say, ‘Marc, go sit down,' because we couldn't do anything. We couldn't block him,” Millwood offensive coordinator Kevin Cox said. “He was knocking the heck out of Kevonte and those guys, so we'd just have to take him out.”
Robinson averaged double-digit tackles per game over his freshman and sophomore seasons at Heritage Hall, and among the Chargers' star-studded 2012 class, he was one of the first to emerge.
But the 5-foot-11, 220-pound linebacker slipped out of the recruiting forefront while sitting out last season, so he's working even harder now to get back.
“I wouldn't want it any other way, because now I'm being pushed,” said Robinson, who is No. 29 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 list of recruits for the 2012 class. “Now I'm pushing myself every day to get better.
“I feel like there's a ton for me to prove. I'm working out every day, running every day. I'm just ready for the season to get here.”
The season will be the key to Robinson's recruiting. He recently visited TCU, and he's had interest from programs like Colorado State, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Louisiana Tech and most of the Big 12 Conference.
But all of them want to see game tape, and the most recent clips Robinson has are from two years ago.
“A lot of them just want to see me play, so I can't wait,” he said.
And virtually every coach who recruits Robinson mentions his height — at 5-foot-11, he's not the prototypical linebacker prospect that Division I programs are looking for.
“At first, I didn't worry about it, but it's getting to the point where I wish I could just hit the 6-foot mark and just erase this,” Robinson said. “Everywhere I go, I know it's gonna be brought up. It's really annoying.
“I hope I can grow a couple more inches, but if not, I'll just have to show them that I'm really good at what I do.”
And he is. He has speed, power and quickness packed into his 220-pound frame, but his most valuable gift is inside his helmet.
“His physical nature is impressive. He's built real thick. He plays downhill, which is what you want with an inside linebacker,” Cox said. “But the thing that really separates him from good linebackers is how quick he diagnoses plays. Right from the snap, he recognizes it and picks it up.”
And the Millwood staff gives credit to Andy Bogert and his coaches at Heritage Hall as well.
“You could tell he was well-coached when he got to Millwood. He was as far along as some of our older guys when he got here,” Cox said. “He's a coachable kid. You know he's gonna come to work every day, and you know he's gonna do the right things.”
Oklahoman Super 30 No. 29 Marc Robinson School: Millwood Height: 5-11 Weight: 220 Position: Linebacker Offers: None yet, but interest from TCU, Nebraska, Colorado State and several Big 12 schools.