Penn State’s Chop Robinson looks to make a splash at defensive end

Chop Robinson saw what Arnold Ebiketi accomplished last year at Pennsylvania and felt he could make the same impact.

“I watched AK film when he was at Temple and then he transferred here,” Robinson said. “His development has just been crazy. Yes, I could definitely see myself in this. I feel like we’re the same player with the same build.”

Robinson transferred to Pennsylvania after one year at Maryland, where he played linebacker. He moved to defensive center for the Nittany Lions, who are hoping he can provide the same spark Ebiketi did last year.

“He just brings an element,” defensive line coach John Scott Jr. said. “You’ve heard the old saying that speed kills. He is fast. He is athletic. He is cruel. Anytime you can get a player that can do that added to your room, you get better.”

The 6-3, 242-pound four-star Robinson from Gaithersburg, Md., chose Maryland over Pennsylvania out of high school. On3, 247 Sports and ESPN named him the No. 1 player in Maryland and one of the top 50 recruits in the country in the 2021 class.

Penn State sophomore linebacker Chop Robinson had 19 tackles and two sacks last season for Maryland. (Photo by Mark Selders)

He played in every game last year for the Terrapins and had 19 tackles and two sacks. He had three tackles and one sack in their win over Virginia Tech in the Pinstripe Bowl. He was named to the ESPN Midseason Freshman All-American Team.

“I appreciate everything Maryland has done for me,” Robinson said, “but I felt like this was the best move for me. I’m glad to be here.”

Born Demeyun Robinson, he weighed 14 pounds at birth and quickly earned the nickname “Pork Chop” from his parents. As he got older, he shortened it to “Chop,” the name listed on Penn State’s official roster.

He helps fill the void left by two NFL Draft picks Ebiketi, a first-team All-Big Ten selection, and Jesse Lucketta. He strengthens a position already bolstered by the return of Addis Isaac, who missed last season with a torn Achilles. Returning starter Nick Tarburton, standout Smith Wilbert, Zuria Fisher and possibly freshman Dani Dennis-Sutton will also be in the lineup.

“We’re a different animal on the defensive end than where we were in the spring,” defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. “We are still far from where we want to go. Having Adisa and Chopo back in the program helped us.”

Robinson played last year against Penn State, which beat Maryland 31-14. Although he was not credited with a tackle, he impressed the Lions’ linemen and offensive line coaches.

“I talked to the offending guys and talked to them about how they were bothering him,” Scott said. “When we had the opportunity to get him, we said, ‘Oh, yeah, definitely.’ »

Ebicetti, who now plays for the Atlanta Falcons, told Robinson how Scott helped him make such dramatic improvements in the year since his transfer from Temple. Ebicetti finished first among Power Five conference defensive linemen with 17 tackles for loss. He also led the Big Ten with two blocked field goals, was second in tackles for loss and third with 9.5 sacks.

“He told me the coaches helped him with all the little things like his feet, his hands, his eyes, being on his keys,” Robinson said, “all the little things that help you with the big things. These were the same things I had to work on when I was in high school.

“We both have great exits. I would say that’s the main thing, but I have a lot of other things to work on.”

He is getting used to playing with his hand in the ground for the first time and learning to stop the run from a new position.

“With my speed and my ability to bend the corner,” he said, “I really feel like I can be a great passer here.”

Robinson has three years of eligibility left, which worries his coach.

“He’s been a great person to coach with his attitude and the way he shows up every day,” Scott said. “He’s practicing his tail. He is getting better every day. I am very happy about it. He showed a few in practice, which was very good.”

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