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February 18, 2011In Thibodaux, La., if a high school football player is of Division I caliber, he is all but expected to become a Tiger.
A Bayou Bengal Tiger, that is.
However, offensive lineman Greg Robinson had other plans for himself.
Robinson, the nation's No. 2 offensive guard according to Rivals, inked with the Auburn Tigers Feb. 2. Since Auburn just graduated four of its five starting offensive linemen, Robinson's significant talent could be utilized early in his college career.
Early in the recruiting process, it appeared that Robinson was LSU's to lose. Articles published in December 2009 claim LSU was a front-runner for the Thibodaux High School then-junior.
However, when teammate Trovon Reed signed with Auburn in the 2010 signing class, the other Tigers got on Robinson's radar.
The first time Robinson visited the Plains was in late May. Auburn quickly found its way to the top of Robinson's list.
"Every time I went up there I had a good time," Robinson said. "And every time I knew in my heart that I was going to play there one day."
Receivers coach Trooper Taylor, a major reason why Reed decided to become an Auburn Tiger, was Robinson's lead recruiter.
Reed has often said that Taylor is like a father to him and even described him as "the greatest man he's ever known." It didn't take long for Robinson to feel the same way about him and the rest of the Auburn coaching staff.
"I know I can trust Coach Troop," Robinson said. "I trust them all. They're coaches that I really want to be coached by because I feel they can teach me how to become a man and just basically accomplish my goals. I like their personalities. They seem like they can play a fatherly role in my life. They're just a great group of coaches that I want to surround myself with for the next four years."
Even though Auburn was then his new front-runner, LSU was still pushing hard for his commitment. The situation wasn't unique since Reed had been in the same position the year before. Even though he was set on Auburn, Reed was forced to endure heavy pressure from the people close to him to sign with LSU.
Robinson told the Auburn staff he was going to to be a Tiger, but wanted to keep the LSU folks believing he would play his college ball in Baton Rouge.
"I told Coach Troop that I was going to come and they all got excited, but I said I didn't want to go public," Robinson said. "I wanted to commit under the table. LSU was still trying to get me, but I had to hang in there and stay focused on where I wanted to be."
Robinson's Auburn commitment was kept a secret for about three months before he went public Dec. 11.
According to Robinson, LSU was shocked.
"I was giving them so much attention," Robinson said. "I only did it because I didn't want them to keep pressuring me. I was acting like I was going to come, but deep down in my heart I knew where I wanted to go."
Not only did his plan work, but it also made him more confident about his decision to play for Auburn.
"I told [Coach Taylor] and I realized that my commitment wasn't getting out," Robinson said. "He's a man of his word. He told all the coaches, but no one said anything and it didn't get out. LSU kept going along with my plan to keep the pressure off and everything worked out."
Even though the two are former Thibodaux teammates and longtime friends, Reed said he never told Robinson he should come to Auburn. Instead, he wanted Robinson to make a decision that was right for himself and to ignore others' opinions.
However, Robinson said he knew all along that he wanted to play with Reed in college.
"Me and him growing up in the same neighborhood, I felt like he was someone I wanted to be around and be alongside playing football with," Robinson said. "He made a decision and it would be like unbrotherly to leave him hanging. I told him I was coming with him.
"It's like... both me and him got something to prove."
Off the field, Robinson is thrilled about having someone he already has a strong relationship with at Auburn.
"I know I have someone around me that's going to have my back and look out for me," Robinson said. "And when I'm down I can talk to him and when he's down he can talk to me."
Once at Auburn, Robinson will be playing under the direction of position coach Jeff Grimes. According to Robinson, Grimes has a laid back attitude, but is strict when it comes to making sure Robinson remains focused on school.
"He doesn't say much, but he's been on me about my grades, making sure they stay up," Robinson said. "But that's something I like, for a coach to be on me and try to push me while I'm pushing myself."
Robinson added that his grades are in good shape and he doesn't expect to have any academic issues when getting his paperwork into the NCAA.
Between now and when he plans to report in June, Robinson will be staying in shape by throwing the shot put and discus on his school's track and field team. He is also following the workout that was recently issued to the signees about a week ago.
"I'm trying to get stronger and faster," Robinson said.
For Robinson, his reporting day can't come soon enough. He wants to get started on the one thing he's looking forward to doing at Auburn.
"Making history," Robinson said.