Saint John (Ind.) Lake Central junior defensive end prospect Gelen Robinson is physical specimen.
Over the last two seasons, Robinson has racked up 170 tackles with 73 stops coming for loss and 22 sacks. He’s also forced six fumbles.
However, just like Skee-Lo, he wouldn’t mind getting a little bit taller.
Already attracting attention from college coaches at schools such as Michigan, Illinois and Purdue, 247Sports ranks the 6-foot-2, 232-pound Robinson as the nation’s No. 15 strong-side defensive end in the country. Say he adds another three or four inches to his rocked-up frame, and Robinson could move up the rankings as one of the nation’s more touted players. He’ll also be fielding a lot more recruiting calls.
Growing is not out of the question for Robinson who has bucked the family trend. His father Glenn Robinson was a 6-foot-7 forward that came out of Gary, Ind. to become one of the best college basketball players ever at Purdue before a 12-year career in the NBA. He was the first overall selection in the 1994 draft. Gelen’s older brother Glenn Robinson III is a 6-foot-6 freshman forward already making an impact on the Michigan basketball team.
“It would be great to get some height but at the same time I think I can still be effective on the field at whatever height and weight I’m at,” Robinson said. “My brother has grown a lot. He grew a lot throughout high school so it’s possible I could get a growth spurt. My whole family is up there.”
While Robinson waits on a couple more inches, he’s excelling at the current size he’s at. Over the last two seasons, he’s racked up 170 tackles with 73 stops coming for loss and 22 sacks. He’s also forced six fumbles. Also a Division-I wrestling and track recruit, Robinson took 3rd place at the state finals in the 220-pound weight class during the winter, and then came out in the spring and took third in the discus and seventh in the shot put at the state meet. Besides the three Big Ten schools Robinson is building a personal relationship with, he’s receiving mail from all the top college football programs across the country.
“I think the big thing for Gelen right now, all these schools want to find out, they’re waiting to see if he grows height wise," Lake Central head coach Brett St. Germain said. "You look at his dad, you look at his brother, and if Gelen gets to that point, he’s really 6-1, he gets to that point where he’s 6-4, 6-5, then I think Gelen is going to be a kid at the next level that’s probably going to have his hand down and be a d-end in a 4-3 scheme. If he doesn’t get to that size, I think the question is then what is he? Is he a mike linebacker? Is he an outside linebacker? I think that’s why a lot of schools haven’t committed yet. They don’t exactly know what he’s going to be.”
St. Germain quickly knew Robinson was the future of his Lake Central program. When he was hired three years ago, he was taking over a team that had gone 7-49 since joining the Duneland Conference in 2003. With Robinson enrolled as a freshman, they went 2-8 his first season, but last year they rebounded to 8-2, and this year they were 8-3 which could have been better if Purdue running back commit David Yancey wouldn’t have went down with an injury in the last game of the regular season.
Robinson considered going to Chicago power Mount Carmel, home of big-time players like Donovan McNabb, but opted to stay local and go to Lake Central.
Outside of dominating on the football field on Friday nights, Robinson earned all-state honors in wrestling and track as a sophomore.
“I talked to his mom and said he would potentially become the face of the football program moving forward,” St. Germain said. “There is no doubt he’s done that. It’s a testament to him. In addition to everything he’s doing athletically, he’s a great kid.”
“I thought if I was good enough to play, I’d be recruited at either school,” Robinson added. “I had a feeling I should go here. I think I made the right decision. It’s great knowing I’ve helped turn the team around with coach.”
Even if Robinson doesn’t grow another inch, St. Germain says there is still a lot of untapped potential because he’s one of the few three-sport star athletes still out there.
“He has a lot of talents,” St. Germain stated. “Once he gets to the point where he can focus on just one aspect the sky is the limit.”
Michigan continues to monitor Robinson, and the Wolverines would be very tough to beat if they offered. Robinson has been a regular on the Ann Arbor campus to see his brother and he also camped in the summer and attended the Illinois game on Oct. 13.
“Everyone knows they’re a good program,” Robinson said. “They always have a good team. Great school, great tradition. I’ve been down there and seen everything and from personal experience I know and got a feel for how they do things around there and how they run their program.”
Robinson attended the Illinois-Penn State game in Champaign on Sept. 29, and if his schedule allows, would like to attend a Purdue home game before the end of the fall. With the family ties, West Lafayette feels like home every time he visits.
“Everyone down there, everyone knows my dad,” Robinson said. “It’s a good feeling to be down there knowing that they know him. They have a great school. They’re close to home and I know a lot of people that go there, especially from around (where I live). My Dad and a lot of family members have gone there.”
The elder Robinson lives in Atlanta but makes it back to Northwest Indiana frequently to see Gelen. Both parents will obviously play a big factor in Gelen’s college decision.
“They don’t push me to go towards any school more so than the other,” Gelen said. “They want me to go to where I possibly have the best chance at.”