2017 Recruiting: Brad Robbins Comment Count

Brian August 21st, 2017 at 2:07 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles. S J'Marick Woods, S Jaylen Kelly-Powell, S Brad Hawkins, CB Ambry Thomas, CB Benjamin St-Juste, LB Drew Singleton, LB Jordan Anthony, LB Josh Ross, DE Kwity Paye, DE Luiji Vilain, DE Corey Malone-Hatcher, DE Deron Irving-Bey, DT Donovan Jeter, DT Phil Paea, DT James Hudson, DT Aubrey Solomon, C Cesar Ruiz, OT JaRaymond Hall, OT Joel Honigford, OT Andrew Stueber, OT Chuck Filiaga, WR Oliver Martin, WR Nico Collins, WR Tarik Black, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, FB Ben Mason, RB O'Maury Samuels, RB Kurt Taylor, QB Dylan McCaffrey.

Westerville, OH – 6'2", 180


Kornblue #1 P
Kohl's #4 P
Prokicker #3 P
ESPN 3*, NR overall
#14 P, #38 OH
Other Suitors Nevada, Illinois, Navy
Previously On MGoBlog Nothing. I mean… he's a punter who committed on Signing Day.
Notes Twitter.


90-yard TD? Yessir:

[Editor's note: since the major sites abdicate on kickers and there's now a diversity of specialist rankings we're using them above. Robbins was not ranked in any way by Scout or Rivals and was in the 3000s on 24/7. ESPN does not have a scouting report for him but I'm including their ranking anyway because I don't want to reformat the table.]

Brad Robbins is a punter, and he was acquired in the best way to acquire a punter: without anyone else on scholarship, after it was clear that Michigan would have a spare slot. Michigan offered at the 11th hour and flipped him from a Nevada commit, and now they've got a high-upside punter.

the "touchback" guy must be fun at parties

Probably, anyway. Specialist rankings are notoriously useless. The recent emergence of a cottage industry of specialist, er, specialists is welcome; those are still subject to things like showing up at camps. Even with that caveat Robbins seems worth the slot. Kornblue:

…top nationally ranked punter for the class of 2017… performance included punts of 5.06/46 yards & 5.04/54 yards. …At our Ohio Fab 50 Camp (July 2016), we charted Bradley on 10 punts. Best charted punt was 4.94/47 yards. 8/10 were 4.2+ hangtime. He averaged 4.37/41 yards (0-5 mph crosswind).

Earning our highest ranking includes strength, consistency, operation time, athleticism, and character. Brad has all these traits. His operation times and consistency improved after recent private training in Florida, where we shortened his steps and adjusted to more of a two-step approach.

41 yards an attempt doesn't sound too exciting but it appears that Robbins took that private training and used it to reach the proverbial next level. He had a late, post-senior season breakout:

[Robbins] burst onto the scene from his impressive performances on the camp circuit, especially in front of kicking guru, Brandon Kornblue at his camp in Florida in late December.

From there, his recruitment quickly took off.

“I walked up to (Kornblue's) camp and he had no idea who I was and by lunch time he was asking who the heck I was,” Robbins told The Michigan Insider. “At the end of this camp, he had me ranked second on his website and two days later, the special teams coach at Nevada gave me a call and a week later offered me a scholarship. I went out for a visit and loved the way they recruited me, so I committed to them.”

I know recruiting specialists is another world but that's late and odd even for them. It does explain why he's basically unranked on the mainstream sites. The niche kicking sites did pick up on it, with Kornblue elevating him to #1 and a couple others delivering wow experience scouting reports. Kohl's kicking:

…dominant showing at the 2017 Senior Showcase. He averaged over 5.0 seconds on his charts at camp and hit several 5.2+ second punts during the drill work and competitions. … He is D1 ready right now. Robbins had an impressive camp at the 2016 Eastern Winter Showcase. He won the punt competition and the punt charting at camp. Robbins has solid technical refinement and great power. He is explosive in his hips, the ball jumps off his foot and his repeatability in his catch/hold is probably his most impressive trait that he has.

The first video above is from their camp and features a nonstop parade of booming punts with an appreciative audience.

The Kicking Coach:

No brainer Division 1 scholarship punter. Tall and fast. Excellent mechanics and consistency. Has leg strength to hit 5.3 second hang times. Brad has charted multiple consecutive punts of over 5 seconds. He will likely compete for starting job immediately. Kicks off well. Mechanics need work. But he can already reach 70+ yards with good hang times.

Brandon Justice:

"He's, uh, really good."


"I think he is definitely up for the job and has the talent to do it and be not only a four-year starter but possibly one of the best ever."

There's always the question of objectivity since these specialist camps are a paid venture—special teams coaches gotta eat too—but the mainstream sites abdicating they're the best we've got. Robbins will hit a lot of boomers; whether he's merely good or great will depend on his consistency and touch.

Etc.: Hey man if you thought a recruiting profile extensively referencing "Smooth" was bad, it can always be worse:  

A visit to Illinois is in the works. If that happens, cue up "Closing Time" for the Illini.

Why Punters? He's gonna punt, I reckon. 

Guru Reliability: Zero as far as the regular sites go. Moderate for the specialist sites, because they seem to be going mostly or entirely off of camps with less sample size than you might like.

Variance: Low. Scholarship punters are consistently very good for Michigan.

Ceiling: High. Late-cycle version of this guy was hitting some serious boomers and getting rapt praise.

General Excitement Level: Moderate. Not Australian. I can get hype about an Australian punter only.

Projection: Will fight with Will Hart for the starting job and likely acquire it this fall. Scholarship punters don't often get beat out. Recent Harbaugh comments also support Robbins; those are more fully addressed in the season preview.



August 21st, 2017 at 2:43 PM ^

"his repeatability in his catch/hold is probably his most impressive trait that he has"

I am not entirely sure I understand what that means, but it sounds like the opposite of the thing that happened that one day in 2015.  So that's good.



August 21st, 2017 at 4:26 PM ^

That one day in 2015 haunts my soul.  I uttered profanities I did not know existed. :-(

* * *

The catch/hold thing is probably like the placekick holder -- catch the snap and place laces out in a way where the kicker never interrupts -- even for a split second -- his execution.  In the case of punters, it's just himself: he is both "holder" and kicker.  But the same applies -- avoid anything that causes a hitch or hesistation in execution.  A punter that hesitates, or stutter-steps, isn't going to get everything into the kick.  Or worse: shanks the punt, or panics and takes off running.


August 21st, 2017 at 2:44 PM ^

"41 yards an attempt doesn't sound too exciting"


I'd say a HS player having an average that would put him in the top 50% of D1 punters last year is not too bad.

Ginger Ninja

August 21st, 2017 at 3:20 PM ^

"Earning our highest ranking includes strength, consistency, operation time, athleticism, and character. Brad has all these traits..."

I'm good with the first four traits, but don't infect the ratings with character when it comes to your punter.

This guy has to stare down death in the form of a bunch of guys who look like X-men running at him seven times a game and we want to worry about character?  If he wants to run a side-hustle on the long snapper's girlfriend or cheat at cards, so be it.


August 21st, 2017 at 4:18 PM ^


(1) the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.

(2) for college football punters, the steely reserve needed to face down maniacal kick blockers and boom punts that leave the opposing team first and 10 on their own one yard line.

In context, character is good.


August 21st, 2017 at 3:45 PM ^

Kid obviously has a huge leg. Hitting the ball around 50 yards every time and averaging 5 seconds on the hang time is huge. Important to have this type of weapon that can flip the field position in a game for you. I think our punting duties are set for the next 4 years.


August 21st, 2017 at 4:28 PM ^

Hang time and distance are certainly the most important things, but what I found amazing about that O'Neill guy was his ability to pin teams deep with great pooch kicks and coffin corner shots.  I recall John Baxter saying something at a press conference to the effect that they would place trash cans out on the field and O'Neill could punt the ball into them from some distance.  I also understand there are various things punters can do these days to put english on the ball and make it more difficult to catch, less likely to bounce toward the end zone, etc.


August 22nd, 2017 at 2:36 AM ^

This is most likely something you are only going to see from an Aussie Rules player, since they grow up learning to kick, accurately, on the run, from almost anywhere on a playing field. 

Unless you have practiced that kind of thing for years, you just aren't going to have that kind of skill. 

Distance is nice, but this think this kid has that is most important IMO is his hang time.  Low line-drive kicks are IMO the biggest reason for big returns.  I'll take a 40-45 yard kick with a 5 second hang-time every time out.   Not many of those are going to get returned anywhere.