P-T Defensive Player of the Year: Lake Central’s Gelen Robinson
By Tom Wyatt Post-Tribune correspondent November 17, 2011 11:10PM
Lake Central sophomore, Gelen Robinson, is the Post-Tribune Defensive Player of the Year. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 30, 2012 9:21PM
Just imagine Brett St. Germain’s first day of practice as the new Lake Central football coach in the summer of 2010. He sees a player on the field who is big, fast and agile. And he’s a freshman.
If you’re St. Germain, the man at the time tasked with turning around a struggling program, you’re grateful for the fact this player is yours for the next four years.
Less than two years later, Gelen Robinson has gone from being a promising freshman to a game-changing player who has St. Germain and others wondering just how good this kid can be some day.
Such a force as just a sophomore, Robinson is the Post-Tribune Defensive Player of the Year after posting monster numbers from his outside linebacker position for the Indians.
“The first day we had him, you could see he wasn’t out of place one bit,” St. Germain said. “As a freshman, we brought him up to varsity, and he was comfortable right away. We knew that Gelen was going to be a really good player. And we still think he has a lot to learn.”
Here’s the skinny on Robinson’s numbers: He had 75 tackles, including 26 for a loss and nine sacks. He also had 28 quarterback hurries, four pass deflections, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries, one pass broken up, and one blocked kick.
But as they say on the TV infomercials, wait there’s more — except this is a legitimate deal. An integral player on special teams, Robinson had three blocked punts, two of which he scooped up and ran in for touchdowns. On one of them, Robinson decleated the blocker, his legs in the air as Robinson stuffed the punt, before picking up the football and scoring.
“I’m always looking to make a play,” Robinson said. “But I’m also just trying to do my job.”
Robinson is 6-foot-2 and weighs 220 pounds. And he has two and a half years left of high school.
“He had a big year,” St. Germain said. “We saw as the year went on that teams were starting to run away from him. That’s definitely a sign of respect for him. He was able to do a lot of things for us. We’re expecting him to do more and more.”
Robinson is the son of former Roosevelt star and NBA standout Glenn Robinson and the brother of Lake Central and Michigan-bound senior basketball star Glenn Robinson III. But make no mistake, this Robinson, Gelen, is a football player. He wrestles in the winter season and is part of the track and field team in the spring.
“I like football,” Gelen Robinson said. “Everyone is OK with that in my family — as long as I’m still doing something.”
Robinson played defensive end last year for Lake Central. He was moved to outside linebacker this year as the Indians changed their scheme a bit on defense. He still toed the line now and then as a defensive end would, but the move allowed him to roam more and cause more havoc for the opposing offense.
“He has the ability to do different things,” St. Germain said. “He’s beginning to mature and master the techniques of all the things we’re asking him to do. As he matures a bit and understands football more, he’s only going to get better.”
And don’t be surprised if Robinson takes on more of a role offensively next year, while continuing to shine on defense. He played a bit of offense this year as a blocking fullback, particularly in goal-line sets.
“I like being on offense and helping out the team,” Robinson said. “I got in there a bit and did some blocking this year. Hopefully, next year I’ll be able to help out the offense even more.”