AUBURN, Ala. -- Brought in to a bunch of fanfare from recruiting sites, Auburn reserve left tackle Greg Robinson has not played in a game this season.
He will not play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Burning the freshman’s redshirt at this point for the bowl game would make no sense.
But Robinson emerged from bowl practices as a player the rest of the team is excited about putting on the field next season.
“He’s still young, but Greg is going to be an awesome player here,” starting left tackle A.J. Greene said. “Words can’t even explain what I believe is going to be here for that kid.”
Highly touted after coming out of Thibodaux, La., at 6-foot-5, 305 pounds with athleticism rarely seen in a body that big, Robinson was thought to be one of three freshman linemen -- along with center Reese Dismukes and guard Christian Westerman -- who some observers thought could play as true freshmen for Auburn this season.
Dismukes started every game at center and earned Freshman All-SEC.
For Robinson and Westerman, the transition took more time, but after Robinson started to feel comfortable on campus, his immense potential emerged.
“He’s really grown up a lot emotionally and mentally and learned how to play the game and how to work hard all the time,” Auburn offensive line coach Jeff Grimes said. “I think he’s recognized whatever work he does now is setting him up for next year.”
Both of Auburn’s starting tackles are seniors. Greene and Brandon Mosley are experienced players who have seen their fair share of talented linemen since arriving on campus at Auburn.
And both players said the way Robinson is playing in bowl practices, he is ready to play right now.
“Once he gains the experience I have, the athletic ability he’s capable of, it’s ridiculous,” Greene said.
A left tackle’s athleticism matters more than any other attribute. A player’s size and strength need to be prodigious to be sure, but, to protect the blind side, an SEC tackle has to have the quickness to battle players such as Georgia’s Jarvis Jones (Carver High) and Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw.
Robinson has those kind of tools.
“He’s got it all,” Grimes said. “He’s got the size, the feet, the strength. I think he’s got the right mentality, too.”
Now, Robinson just has to wait a little longer to get on the field.