The whirlwind of Shawn Robinson’s recruitment didn’t last long, as the former four-star TCU quarterback visited Missouri last weekend and signed with the Tigers on Tuesday.
So what exactly can Missouri fans expect in Robinson?
We spoke with Matt Jennings, a writer for the TCU Rivals.com site and all-around great guy, about Robinson’s time in Fort Worth to get the low-down on what the Tigers are getting in their new quarterback.
What went down with Robinson and TCU that led to his transfer?
Matt Jennings: Things flipped really quickly on Robinson. He was the perceived quarterback of the future after three games this year, including some flashes of brilliance against Ohio State. Then he was on the bench five weeks later, and that was probably the beginning of his exit given TCU’s depth at the position going forward.
Robinson had struggled mightily with turnovers all season, giving the ball away 11 times (8 interceptions, 3 lost fumbles) in less than seven full games. The TCU coaches gave the sophomore a ton of slack, believing his talent would eventually win out, but they ultimately had to sit him in favor of Mike Collins against Oklahoma. A few days later, TCU announced Robinson would have season-ending surgery for a shoulder injury he had been playing with for a few weeks.
Even if Robinson had held onto the No. 1 spot until season’s end, he was going to have to fight off 2018 4-star signee Justin Rogers for the starting job in the spring, and the Frogs have another blue-chip quarterback signing this week in with 4-star Max Duggan. Given the fact Robinson had already lost his job before having to truly compete with that young talent, it made sense for him to move on if he wanted playing time.
What is the scouting report on Robinson? How is he best utilized?
Jennings: Let’s start with the good: Robinson is supremely talented. He has absurd arm strength that allows him to make unthinkable throws.
This is just beautiful. pic.twitter.com/30M5jeSYci— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) September 16, 2018
He’ll get stereotyped as a running quarterback, and he does have speed and power to pick up yards with his feet. But he’s actually very patient in the pocket. He wants to win with his arm first. He’s tough, playing through injury in pretty much every game this year, and he demonstrated a lot of confidence and leadership for just a sophomore.
The issue with that confidence was it led to some really irresponsible decisions. He often tried to do too much as a passer and as a runner, which led to those back-breaking turnovers. Additionally, he consistently held onto the ball too long, taking sacks when he could have thrown the ball away or scrambled for first downs.
The biggest problem with Robinson, however, was just a lack of accuracy. He seemed to have trouble regulating the velocity on his passes, so he routinely overthrew receivers or threw bullets in situations that required touch passes. TCU cut down its play-calling a lot to try and accommodate that, to the point where the Frogs were almost exclusively using screens, slants, and go routes. The rest of the route tree couldn’t be utilized because he couldn’t put the ball on his receivers.
The ideal situation for Robinson would be an offense that leans on the run game and allows him to exploit defenses with the read-option and play-action off that. Then the offense can introduce more other concepts as he continues to develop as a passer.
In your opinion, what is Robinson’s ceiling?
Jennings: Robinson’s ceiling is actually tremendously high, provided that he begins making progress with his accuracy. If defenses have to respect his ability to consistently hit receivers deep with his cannon of an arm, it will open up so many other things for the Missouri offense. The Tigers will be able to run the ball better as opposing safeties are forced to play deep, and Robinson will also have more room to complete passes underneath because defensive backs won’t be able to sit on the short and intermediate routes.
If he can’t do that, then Missouri could face a lot of the same frustrations TCU dealt with this season. It’ll be up to Derek Dooley to help Robinson make those strides.
Follow Matt on Twitter (@MattAJennings) and read his work at PurpleMenace.com.