Duce Robinson laughed at the question.
Duce, you’re the best athlete in the family, right?
“No. Not a chance. He’s probably third,” his father said.
“Yes, sir,” Robinson replied.
Checking in at 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, Robinson is a mountain of a tight end who looks and plays a lot like former five-star O.J. Howard – picturesque, physically elite, someone you cannot believe is still a teenager.
The debate about whether he’s the best athlete in his own family, though, is a good one. His father, Dominic, played football at Florida State. His mother, Mary Beth, swam at Florida.
The Phoenix (Ariz.) Pinnacle prospect is not only the nation’s No. 1 tight end and on the cusp of a five-star ranking but he’s also an elite baseball player who has the potential of being drafted into the majors.
“The goal is to be a (baseball) draft pick and hopefully if I can make that happen then we’d have another decision to make,” Robinson said.
Mary Beth Robinson said: “That’s the million-dollar question. A lot of it will depend on how this summer goes but that could be a different conversation down the road.”
There will be a time and place for that discussion.
As for his football recruitment, it’s going swimmingly. USC, Georgia, Texas and Alabama are basically his top four. He will visit USC in a couple weeks, Robinson will be at Alabama for the Texas A&M showdown and then he’s working on in-season trips to Athens and Austin as well.
“As of right now, I would probably say it’s USC, Georgia, Texas and ‘Bama are the ones I’ll probably take officials to and maybe one more,” Robinson said. “I’m not really sure what that one might be yet. There are a couple different ones. Those are the four I’m locked in on for the officials.
“I like scoring touchdowns and everything but at the same time I realize I’m going to be used if I am fortunate enough to make it to the next level after that they’re going to need me to do different things so however the school wants to use me I’ll do my best to make it happen.”
Robinson knows how to make it happen.
A HOUSE DIVIDED – SORT OF
Florida State gear is allowed in the Robinson house. Dominic Robinson makes sure of that. There’s a helmet on the living room television stand. The three Robinson boys have taken to the Seminoles over the Gators.
It’s the only way Dominic Robinson can find peace.
“I could handle it the way that it is and I couldn’t handle it the other way,” Dominic Robinson said. “My middle son had Gator socks and he didn’t wear them for a really long time and then he found them and he played well when he wore them so he kept cycling through them and it bothered me too much. I eventually caught them one day in the laundry and hid them.
“It turned out the only way it could be because I’d be out of the house if we had Gator stuff up around the house. We have some Seminole stuff, we have a Seminole helmet that sits on the TV stand in the living room. I get irritated when our boys wear orange and blue, just the colors even if it’s non-Gator related. It worked out the way that it could be. It’s good she doesn’t freak out about Seminole stuff the way I do about Gator stuff.”
For someone so dedicated to the garnet and gold, marital bliss trumped school allegiance. Mary Beth Robinson became best friends with a Florida State cheerleader when the two worked at the Orange Bowl together and then one of Dominic Robinson’s best friends was a Seminole dancer. Those two were sisters and introduced Dominic and Mary Beth. The rest is history.
It was that happiness and those choices – the pleasure both parents had in their decisions – that has allowed Robinson’s parents to be accommodating and accepting of the schools that interest their son the most instead of pushing him to Gainesville or Tallahassee.
“People think or they assume because I’m a coach or because of all this stuff that I’m going to take the reins and it’s going to be my deal and from the beginning people assume they need to recruit me,” Dominic Robinson said.
“From the beginning, I tell all these (coaches), ‘Listen, this isn’t my deal. I was recruited 20-something years ago and I don’t want to be recruited, my wife doesn’t want to be recruited, we had our time, we did our thing, this is his deal.’ He’s driving the process. We’re trying to help provide him the information he needs in order to make an informed decision but I tell people all the time and I tell him, we want him to feel about his school the way we feel about our school.
“If he has to go to school on the moon to find what I feel about Florida State then he can go to Moon University. I want him to be close to home and all this stuff, I’d love him to wear garnet and gold and be playing in Doak (Campbell Stadium) and go beat the Gators in The Swamp, I would love all that stuff, but I only want that because I want him to feel the same way I felt. If that has to happen at a different university then I will 100 percent support that.”
Robinson won’t have to play on the moon. But for someone of his ability in both baseball and football, the sky’s the limit.