ND's Robinson in for busy San Antonio return

AP photoNotre Dame's Corey Robinson eyes the action upfield after making a catch during the 2015 season. Robinson has given up playing due to concussion issues, but remains busy with many interests.

As a graduate student, a Rhodes scholar candidate, a volunteer assistant football coach, a young man of deep faith, a gifted musician and, oh yeah, the Notre Dame student body president, Corey Robinson doesn't get the same lounge-around time many of his college classmates enjoy.

So when Robinson makes his homecoming this weekend to San Antonio, Texas, for Saturday's Shamrock Series game against Army, he again plans to be pulled in dozens of different directions during his stay, juggling several guest appearances around the city along with his duties on the sideline as a student wide receiver coach with the Irish.

College life as a politician, a football coach, an academic All-American and an all-around good guy leave Robinson no choice but to attack every day hour-by-hour and sometimes even minute-by-minute. Waste not, want not.

"How can I serve whomever in whatever environment I'm in?" Robinson said when asked what drives him to always stay entrenched and involved. "Whether I'm in the classroom, or on the football field, or being in the student government office, the central mission for me is to serve."

Wherever Robinson finds himself each day on campus, his story is made more interesting because he is actually still on campus.

Set to graduate a year early with a degree in liberal studies, Robinson made the decision after the Fiesta Bowl in January to pass on his senior football season and leave Notre Dame to enter the work world in the same way teammate Steve Elmer did in February when the Irish lineman took a job in Washington, D.C.

But when the opportunity arose for Robinson to come back to school and run for student body president, that pull to lead, study, serve and finish his football career at Notre Dame became irresistible.

"I wanted to make a difference on campus, and student government was the best way to affect change," Robinson said of his political aspirations.

As for football, with his 65 career catches and 896 yards in three seasons here, Robinson was the most experienced and productive returning Irish wide receiver when spring ball opened in March, and a second- or third-round NFL Draft pick in 2017 if projections held up.

But early during those spring workouts, Robinson suffered his third football concussion, an unfortunate moment that brought personal reflection on his future and an early retirement from football.

"The decision was how do I balance this idea of my personal health long-term versus short-term?" Robinson explained. "It was the toughest decision of my life but a decision that had to made."

With his playing days behind but a passion for football still strong, Robinson became a student-coach for Notre Dame, a position that allows him to complement the full-time Irish coaches with a different voice and perspective.

"He builds great relationships with the players," Irish head coach Brian Kelly said of Robinson's coaching contributions. "I know our players really enjoy having him, and I enjoy having him around."

And while football and politics command much of Robinson's time each day, there is so much more to this remarkable 21 year old.

Following the lead of his famous father — 10-time NBA All-Star David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs —  Corey carries a long and varied interest list, and a catalog of life experiences and lessons from which to draw.

Corey has studied in South Africa, Brazil and the Middle East. He is fluent in several languages and he loves making music, dabbling in piano, guitar, flute, mandolin, drums, saxophone, ukulele and even a pan flute he bought at a flea market in Costa Rica.

"Growing up around music just established the foundation and made me curious about it," said Corey, who recently shared a stage on campus with legendary rocker Todd Rundgren during a pep rally before the Duke game. "Music will always be a big part of my life."

But, Robinson admits, not nearly as big a part of his life as the four years he spent at Notre Dame because of the people he met and the opportunities that came with his time here: academically, athletically and politically.

"Notre Dame is filled with people who want to learn and want to make a difference," said Robinson, who is believed to be the first football player to become Notre Dame student body president in about 100 years. "And when you're around those types of people all the time, and you can call them your friends and family, that is a really special thing."

Todd Burlage is a freelance columnist covering Notre Dame sports.

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