ATHENS - Christian Robinson is transitioning straight from his playing to his coaching career.
Robinson, a senior at Georgia last season, announced that he is re-joining the football program as a graduate assistant. The former inside linebacker, who played in 51 games at Georgia and started 17 of them, will work with the defense this upcoming season.
Graduate assistants are allowed to work on the field with players, and while they cannot recruit, they can be involved in gameplanning and other coaching activities. So Robinson's presence could be a big help on a young defense, particularly at inside linebacker, where four freshmen will be on the team.
“That’s what I want to do,” Robinson said last year, as his senior year wound down. “I like the way the game works. I love the competitiveness of it. I love that if you can get your guys to do what you ask them to do at the right time, you can win. I like that.”
(Graduate assistants are allowed by NCAA rules to do a lot more than the quality-control assistants that many Georgia fans have clamored for their team to hire. Therefore the return of Robinson is probably an understated event, considering the attention that would have been given to the program hiring a quality-control assistant.)
The decision comes after some disappointment, as Robinson was undrafted and then didn't make the St. Louis Rams' camp roster. But the son of a former high school coach has consistently said he would like to become a coach once his playing career is over.
“My dad told me just to try (the pros). Just to give it a shot to play,” said Robinson, whose father Kenneth played at South Carolina and briefly in the NFL, and then coached at the high school level. “It doesn’t matter what happens, that is a dream of mine to play. But just having an opportunity will be good enough.”
Robinson said Monday night, via his Twitter account, that he had "decided to hang up my cleats for good," after consulting with his family. He thanked everyone who helped him "work for my dream."
But coaching is a dream too.
“Christian is the son of a coach. So he probably knew early on he wanted to be a coach," Georgia inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti said last year. "His role model has been coaches his whole life.”