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Lake Central’s Gelen Robinson commits to play football at Purdue

Lake Central's Gelen Robinstangles with Chesterton's Ryley Harlow third quarter Friday night Lake Central High School. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times

Lake Central's Gelen Robinson tangles with Chesterton's Ryley Harlow in the third quarter Friday night at Lake Central High School. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 8, 2013 9:14PM



Shantelle Clay, Gelen Robinson’s mother, admitted she had a soft spot for Illinois because it was one of the first schools to reach out to her son, an incredible high school football player who perhaps has been slightly under valued by Division I schools.

Robinson, the son of Roosevelt star Glenn Robinson and the brother of Michigan Wolverines basketball player Glenn Robinson III, is a classic tweener in the eyes of the scouts for college football.

At 6-1½, he is too short to play defensive end, his natural position in high school, and not quite big enough at 230 to play linebacker — or at least some schools see it that way.

Illinois was on him first, but Purdue made a hard charge for him and didn’t let up, winning him over when he visited for a June camp.

On Monday afternoon, via Twitter, Gelen made it official: He was following in his father’s footsteps and playing football for Purdue.

Gelen said the whole Purdue package was too much for him to pass up.

He likes the fact they have a new coach, Darrell Hazell, who has freshened up the program and brought a new perspective.

“He has brought a whole new vibe to the campus and the team,” Robinson said. “I think that gives them an edge after coming off a couple of seasons where they haven’t been that successful.”

Robinson also was swayed by Marcus Freeman, his new position coach at linebacker.

“He was a big part of it,” Robinson said of why he committed. “He worked hard at building a relationship with me.”

Robinson said he’s known since last month that he was probably going to commit to the Boilermakers.

He told Clay last week that he was going to commit Monday.

She didn’t believe it until it happened.

Robinson’s resume, which includes three sports, is impressive.

He was named the Post-Tribune defensive player of the year the last two seasons, finishing with 75 tackles, 26 for losses and nine sacks in 2012.

In wrestling, where he was also named the player of the year, he finished a perfect 49-0 and won the individual state title in the 220 pound weight class.

In track, Robinson finished second in state in both the discus and the shot put.

Robinson said when he told his father about the move, dad was excited. Glenn Jr. played for the Boilermakers from 1992-1994. He won the Naismith and John Wooden award in his last season with Purdue, leading them to a Big Ten title and the Sweet 16. He later played 12 seasons in the NBA, most of it with the Bucks.

“He was real happy,” Gelen said. “I just hope I can have the same impact in football that he did in basketball.”

Clay, who has been wearing Michigan colors while watching Glenn II play basketball, said she’ll have to buy a new wardrobe.



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