The Michigan football program has been one that has no shortage of stars or icons when it comes to guys that have put on the pads and played in front of record crowds in the Big House.
Every era has their stars. In the 1980s, Anthony Carter and Jamie Morris were the ones. In the ’90s Michigan had two Heisman Trophy winners in Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson. The early 2000s gave us guys like Braylon Edwards, Chad Henne, and Mike Hart.
The latest name to be added to that list of greats is former quarterback Denard Robinson, who will forever be one of the greatest playmakers in school history. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars as an “offensive weapon,” which completely fits the bill if you have ever seen him play.
TBHR: Take us through what it was like to make the transition from Michigan to the Jacksonville Jaguars. How did the process go for you?
Robinson: As a native of Deerfield Beach, Fla., it was an honor and a blessing to be drafted by a team from my home state. Transitioning to the NFL is a difficult process, but it helps to have great leadership in place to help me along that journey. Head coach Gus Bradley and general manager Dave Caldwell have played a vital role in my progression and continue to push to me to get better.
Looking back, what was your favorite moment as a member of the Michigan football program?
Being a part of the long-standing tradition at Michigan is what will always stick out to me about the entire experience. Having the opportunity to put on the Maize and Blue and represent my school was an amazing experience. I was blessed to play alongside some truly incredible individuals and I owe much of my personal success to their involvement.
What do you miss most about Ann Arbor?
More than anything, I miss the people of Ann Arbor. The entire community is so heart-warming and motivating. Being the first in my family to graduate from a four-year university was one of the greatest moments of life, and getting to share that with my family in friends in that wonderful city made it even more special.
When people put a list together of all-time great players ever to wear the winged helmet, how does it feel to be mentioned in the same breath as guys like a Mike Hart, Tom Brady, Anthony Carter, etc.?
It’s a little surreal. These are guys that I grew up idolizing, and to be mentioned in the same breath as them is remarkable.
People will always remember you for the plays that you made at the quarterback position, but do you ever wish you played more of a role in college as you are right now with the Jaguars, a la the packages you ran with Devin Gardner at quarterback and you as an offensive weapon?
My mentality has, and always will be, that I am willing to play wherever the coaches ask me to. Playing quarterback for the University of Michigan was a dream come true and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. In my new role with the Jaguars, I’m going to continue pushing myself to be the best I can be at wherever they need me.
How do you think Doug Nussmeier will do as Michigan’s new offensive coordinator?
Coach Nussmeier brings some great experience to Michigan. His role in developing A.J. McCarron at the University of Alabama was impressive and I know he can get the most out of our guys in 2014.
Have you met anyone that you were absolutely honored or thrilled to meet since you’ve entered the NFL?
Playing for the Jaguars, it’s been great having Fred Taylor around to provide guidance. Fred led this organization in rushing yards for six straight seasons and gives great insight into the game of football. Also, sitting in the meeting room with Maurice Jones-Drew every day is an incredible experience. He is a true professional, always looking to coach up the young guys and make everyone better.
What are your goals for next year with the Jacksonville Jaguars?
With our culture here in Jacksonville, our goal is to improve every day and get better. It’s important to stay committed to this idea because you never want to lose sight of the mission. I’m really looking forward to getting back to work with the coaches and taking my game to the next level.