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By LARRY VAUGHT
Two months ago freshman tight end Tyler Robinson was sure he would be redshirted at Kentucky this year. Instead, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s put himself in contention to be UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s starter when the Wildcats open the season Sept. 4 at Louisville and currently is No. 2 on the depth chart behind redshirt freshman Jordan Aumiller.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I would have thought that I would have been redshirted when I got here (in June). I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what to expect or how it would be. I just figured I would go out and get a couple of reps. I am so grateful to just be getting reps. It is so exciting, but I never thought it would happen,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Robinson.
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s from Alcoa, Tenn., and is a former teammate of UK junior Randall Cobb. When Robinson committed to UK, Cobb immediately said he thought Robinson would make an impact at Kentucky quicker than most imagined.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He was just talking good because he is my Alcoa brother and was just trying to hype me up I guess. I have a great opportunity,Ã¢â‚¬Â Robinson said.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s because junior Nick Melillo, UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s only experienced tight end, went down with an injury early in preseason practice.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I feel bad for him but you just have to try and make opportunities off other peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s misfortune. I know he will be back and he has been a great sport helping me every step of the way and I appreciate Nick a lot,Ã¢â‚¬Â Robinson said.
He thinks his physical play is what has impressed coaches the most.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The coaches strive on being physical. Every play I just try to go up and show that I can knock the defensive line off the ball and try to be physical. I like to hit people hard,Ã¢â‚¬Â Robinson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The hardest thing is just learning all the different plays. You have so many things to learn. We only had two weeks of camp to learn the plays and blocking schemes, and that was pretty hard to do.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Robinson, though, is not taking anything for granted about this season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If I do get to play, that will be different. I have not done anything on the field yet,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“My folks are excited. I am a big family man. I talk to them every day. They are always reading up on me and stuff. They are real happy and probably more excited than me.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Robinson was part of four straight state titles at Alcoa just like Cobb was. He admits Cobb had a big influence on him, and others, in Alcoa.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have been friends ever since he was a junior and I was a freshman. We had lockers next to each other,Ã¢â‚¬Â Robinson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Just knowing him in Alcoa was great. Even now when he comes back he is all friendly to everybody. He is someone that everyone looks up to, so he definitely had a big influence on my football and me coming here.Ã¢â‚¬Â