Prize freshman LB Robinson among rookies shining in training camp

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Kam Robinson (5) takes in some tips from fellow UVA linebacker Trey McDonald (16) during fall practice. (Photo: UVA Athletics)

Kam Robinson came to Virginia with a glowing reputation, and so far, after one week of training camp, the true-freshman linebacker from Tappahannock has caught the eye of Coach Tony Elliott.

Robinson, a 6-foot-2, 227-pound, 4-star from Essex High School, was the prize of UVA’s 2023 recruiting class. Ranked the No. 8 overall prospect in the state of Virginia and the No. 24 linebacker in the nation, Robinson was the center of an intense recruiting battle, ultimately shocking many experts by choosing Virginia over Florida State.

He has stood out thus far in the Cavaliers’ camp, along with several other freshmen who will battle for playing time this coming season.

“I think we all knew the caliber of player that [Robinson] is coming in the door,” Elliott said.

Asked if Robinson can push some of the returning linebackers, Elliott confirmed that notion.

“Athletically, there’s no question that he can, and I think everybody on our practice field has seen it and knows that,” Elliott said. “It’s going to be a function of can he pick up the scheme, because at that position, you’ve got to make so many calls, so many checks. You’ve got to have the ability to read the triangle. You’ve got different reads, different fits, all that kind of stuff. Formation, adjustments.

“It’s going to be a function of how much he can absorb and how far we can get him to the point to where he can function on his own, because at that position it’s tough to have your Mike ‘backer being told what to do … he’s got to tell everybody else what to do.”

Robinson is just one freshman that Elliott pointed out after Monday’s practice.

“KeAndre Walker (rotating with the twos at cornerback), Suderian Harrison (receiver), TyLyric Coleman (receiver) have shown some progress. Cole Surber (offensive lineman) is a guy up front, and that’s probably one of the tougher positions because so much is happening, but he’s shown some flashes. Jason Hammond (defensive tackle) is another one that has shown flashes.

“On the other side, Mekhi Buchanan (Bandit) has shown flashes, Devin Clark (defensive back), who can really, really move. All of those safeties are violent, aggressive so far in practice.

“Now they haven’t been fully turned loose because we won’t start full pads until Tuesday, but there’s several guys that have jumped [off the video]. Tuesday will be the real test when it’s 11-on-11 and it’s live work. We’ll find out how many of those guys are going to take the next step to show us more as we get really to fully evaluate them.”