TAMPA, Fl -- Throughout his four years at Michigan, senior captain Denard Robinson never clamored for exposure. The former Florida high school star never asked for a nationally televised interview and story on his choice to use velcro over the time consuming task of everyday life known as shoe tying. Robinson consistently pushed credit to his teammates and coaches, all the while enduring public criticism and blame for poor play or losses.
Heading into his final game as a member of Michigan's football team, an Outback Bowl matchup with a physical and talented South Carolina (10-2) team, the humble, opposite of a "spotlight hog" Robinson, is taking the same approach.
"We've been working hard," said Robinson. "This is a big game for us. This is a big game for the seniors. This is a big game for Michigan. It always feels good to come back winning the bowl game and I know how it felt last year. It felt great to win the bowl game. I want those guys to feel the same way I felt last year."
"You've been here for four years and you feel that love that you have for this school."
Unsure of how Robinson will impact the game on January 1st due to a lingering injury to his right elbow that caused him to miss two full games and never attempt a pass in the final four contests of the season, an opportunity for Robinson to showcase his game breaking ability lays in front of he and the Wolverines. Robinson could be the running back, slot receiver, occasional thrower, return man --- he could do it all and prove that when the NFL comes calling, he'll be able to be the versatile threat teams cherish at the next level.
But for Robinson, such talk of using this game for his own personal gain is a thought that doesn't come anywhere close to being underneath his distinct dreadlocks, a look Michigan coach Brady Hoke called a "distant cousin of Bob Marley."
Finishing in Florida
Starring at Deerfield Beach high school in Florida, Robinson is more than familiar with the sunshine state, having quite the following of family and friends, rarely able to see him juke a defender or runaway from an entire defense --- in person. That will all change Tuesday afternoon at 1pm as Robinson takes the field just three hours away from where it all began and in a stadium that was home to a team Robinson idolized as a kid.
"I'm a big time Buccaneers fan," said Robinson. "Growing up, that was always my team. When Coach Tony Dungy was there. I enjoy watching them. It's a dream come true to be able to play there."
Until then, Robinson is enjoying the sights, sounds, hospitality and feel of his warm home state that left one media member asking how he was ever allowed out of the state of Florida as a highly recruited athlete in the first place.
"Of course you love the weather," said Robinson. "You get to come back home, I'm from Florida so I enjoy being in Florida and just seeing the palm trees."
"When you look at Michigan, you come there and you look at the institution, you look at it school wise --- nothing can compare to that."
As Michigan's career leader in total yards with 10,669 and counting, not many can compare to Robinson's body of work as a Wolverine.
Robinson didn't provide much insight when asked how his throwing elbow is progressing in recent weeks but did say, “I felt comfortable passing today … It felt pretty good.”
To watch video of Robinson, press play below.