Michigan junior quarterback Denard Robinson nearly stepped away from Michigan after former coach Rich Rodriguez was fired in January. Now he’s looking away again.
But only briefly, it seems.
Robinson submitted paperwork to the NFL draft advisory board, which will evaluate his prospects of being selected in the upcoming draft.
On Wednesday, Robinson told ESPN.com Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg that he applied to the advisory board but will “most likely” return to the Wolverines for his senior season in 2012.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke told reporters Thursday that Robinson was the only underclassmen to apply for feedback. Though he supports the decision, he expects to see Robinson back under center next season.
“We’ve talked about it and I think it’s smart to get an idea,” Hoke said. “I expect him to be back here, but we’ll find out what happens. I’m not going to live in hypothetics, but when we get the information we’ll proceed like we should.”
Any casual fan can note that Robinson is far from the prototypical NFL quarterback. But with his instinct and blazing speed, there could be a spot elsewhere on the field for Robinson at the highest level of football.
Though wide receiver or kick returner might be in his cards, Robinson has always been intent on pursuing his future as a quarterback. And Hoke thinks it’s in the realm of possibility.
“There’s some (quarterbacks) out there playing at the next level who have the same skill set,” Hoke said.
One such quarterback is former Virginia Tech quarterback and current Philadelphia Eagles star Michael Vick. In an ESPN ‘Sports Science’ feature on Thursday, the play styles of the two quarterbacks were compared.
Senior defensive tackle Mike Martin submitted paperwork to the draft advisory board last season, but returned for his senior season. He is not projected to be an early-round selection.
The last Michigan player to leave early for the NFL draft was cornerback Donovan Warren in 2010. Warren was projected to be a mid-round pick by the advisory board, but went undrafted and later signed with the New York Jets.
Robinson completed his first year under offensive coordinator Al Borges and the quasi-pro-style offense with two brilliant performances in victories over ranked Nebraska and Ohio State.
Another season with Borges — after a pair of seasons under Rodriguez’s spread offense — could significantly boost Robinson’s draft prospects.
“A year under my belt is going to help me a lot,” Robinson told ESPN. “I think I can do some special things next year.”