In three seasons at Penn State, Allen Robinson became one of the greatest wide receivers in Nittany Lions history. He still sits second in program history with 177 catches, including one iconic grab that will live forever in Penn State lore.
But according to a story in Bleacher Report on Tuesday, Robinson nearly left Happy Valley before his Penn State career ever took off.
In the feature written by Tyler Dunne, the Jacksonville Jaguars wideout disclosed that he and six teammates considered transferring to Arizona State after Penn State was hit with NCAA sanctions in 2012 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Nittany Lions players were allowed to transfer anywhere and be eligible to play immediately following the sanctions. Multiple players did leave.
However, Robinson and his close teammates stuck around and helped Penn State win a combined 15 games in the 2012 and ’13 seasons.
Of course, his own dreams were nearly crushed for good in college. The memories remain vivid. News of Jerry Sandusky’s horrific child abuse broke, mobs of media flooded campus and pressed up against the fence at practice. Joe Paterno was fired. Severe sanctions were levied. And inside a living room, two weeks before training camp, seven Penn State teammates faced a life-changing decision.
All were considering transferring to Arizona State to start fresh. All decided to stay put in Happy Valley instead.
The story does not make clear which players almost departed, but Robinson had a tight bond with others in his recruiting class: TE Kyle Carter, DB Adrian Amos, RB Bill Belton, DE Deion Barnes and OT Donovan Smith. Each of those players left an imprint on Penn State’s 2012 season.
Robinson caught 174 balls for 2,450 yards and 17 touchdowns during from 2012-13, after catching just 3 balls as a freshman. He also hauled in a 36-yard pass that set up Penn State’s game-tying touchdown in what turned out to be a four-overtime win against Michigan in 2013.
Jacksonville selected Robinson in the second round in the 2014 NFL Draft. He has 2,831 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns in three seasons.