Football coach Al Golden has a strong personality. His optimistic attitude rubs off on those he’s around. His words are highly persuasive. And he has just one thing on his mind – winning.
That personality helped Golden persuade Daryl Robinson, a senior cornerback at Northeast Catholic, to attend Temple. Robinson gave the football team a verbal commitment earlier today, after initially committing to West Virginia last April. Robinson became the fourth recruit in the last eight days to commit to the Owls.
He also became the most prominent recruit to do so.
Scout.com ranks Robinson as the nation’s 15th best cornerback in the class of 2007.
That’s right. The nation.
And he’s coming to Temple, a program that hasn’t had a winning season since 1990 or appeared in a bowl game since 1979.
West Virginia won the Big East Conference (which gave Temple the boot after the 2004 season) last season and went on to Georgia 38-35 in the Sugar Bowl.
But West Virginia wasn’t the right fit for the 5-10, 160-pound Robinson, said Charlie Szydlik, his high school coach. Szydlik said Robinson realized a few days after giving the Mountaineers the OK that he had not properly weighed his options. Thus, he backed out and re-opened his recruitment doors.
The four-star recruit also received offers from Connecticut and Maryland.
Szydlik said the different histories of the programs didn’t weigh heavily into Robinson’s decision.
“I didn’t sense that,” Szydlik said. “When him and I spoke about this, he was extremely excited about being close to home where family can come and watch. He was excited about the Linc (Lincoln Financial Field).”
In Temple, Robinson found “a place that’s closer to home, a place to play right away,” Szydlik said. “I think he’s excited to come in with the new staff.”
In fact, it was Golden’s style that helped sway Robinson. Robinson loved Golden’s up-tempo practice routine and his “contagious” personality, Szydlik said.
“[Robinson] went up there and visited during spring practice,” Szydlik said. “He met Coach and [defensive backs] coach [Paul] Williams and felt very comfortable. … He took to coach Williams right away. He really liked him. Coach Williams is a straight-shooter and I think Daryl felt comfortable right away.”
The Mountaineers recruited Robinson to play running back and wait for his turn to shine. Szydlik said Robinson wanted to do neither.
Golden recruited Robinson as a defensive back and told the player he’d have a chance to win a starting job entering his freshman year, Szydlik said.
Robinson’s accomplishments certainly warrant such a chance.
Robinson notched 62 tackles and five interceptions for the Falcons last fall, his first full season as a defensive starter. He attended the United States Army National Combine last January, where Szydlik said Robinson faired well against the top players in the nation.
“I think what that does is it puts you up with your peers,” Szydlik said. “And you could see his confidence grow when he realized that he was as good as anybody that was there.
“Daryl’s a very talented athlete. His work ethic is second to none. … His leadership, he leads by example on the field.”
Robinson is one of four captains on the Falcons this season.
Though Robinson won’t be playing offense for the Owls, he rushed for 539 yards on 153 carries and caught 20 passes for 223 yards, according to TedSilary.com. He scored eight of the Falcons 12 touchdowns last fall.
NCAA guidelines prohibit Golden from speaking on recruits until they sign a National Letter of Intent, on National Signing Day.
John Kopp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.