FSU’s persistent pursuit made impression on hard-hitting Robinson

Jammie Robinson was in the transfer portal but wasn’t sure where he would land. Florida State kept calling — coach Mike Norvell, defensive coordinator Adam Fuller and defensive backs coach Marcus Woodson all made contact on day 1.

Despite some initial apprehension, Tallahassee became the South Carolina defensive back’s new home.

“At the time, I really wasn’t as interested,” Robinson said on Tuesday. “But then as the days went on, they kept calling, showing that they had interest in me. That’s what type of guy I am. I’m very big on loyalty. So once I first got in the portal, they just kept hitting my phone, calling me, checking in on me and talking to me and stuff. Just kept the relationship building and it just went from there.”

Robinson, who grew up less than two hours north of Tallahassee in Leesburg, Ga., thinks he will settle in at the nickel defensive back spot but could also play safety for the Seminoles in 2021. Robinson said Fuller told him “we were going to play full nickel the whole game,” and part of how he was sold on FSU was how the scheme is designed to fit his skill set.

“I’ll be the most physical nickel that y’all have ever seen at Florida State University,” Robinson said. “I feel like I can play in the box, I can cover, you can move me back to safety, I can play free. I just feel like I’m very interchangeable.”

Robinson, a sophomore who will turn 20 this weekend, is clearly not lacking in confidence. He will have a long way to go to prove he’s as good as a few FSU nickel backs from the past decade, a group that includes All-American Lamarcus Joyner.

But Robinson was a productive member of South Carolina’s defensive backfield for two seasons, starting 13 of 22 games and recording 136 tackles, 3.5 for loss, two interceptions, eight pass breakups and one forced fumble. In 2019, he earned second-team Freshman All-America honors from PFF and Freshman All-SEC acclaim.

With the coaching change at South Carolina — Will Muschamp was out and Shane Beamer was in — Robinson felt the timing was right for him to look for a new home.

“I honestly didn’t want to leave,” Robinson said. “But I just felt like with everything that was going on with COVID, with coaches changing, with just a lot of stuff at my school, I just felt like a lot of stuff was going on and I just didn’t want to be part of it. So I just had to branch out, find a better home for me and my family.

“And that’s why I chose Florida State, because I feel like that’s the best decision for me. And also home is only an hour and 40 minutes from here, so that’s another plus in me making this decision to come here.”

FSU struggled on defense in 2020 and could use a thumper in the secondary. Due in part to the lack of a pass rush, injuries and coverage breakdowns, the Seminoles ranked 98th in passing defense (allowing 257 passing yards per game) in 2020. Robinson definitely is not the solution but Norvell thinks he is part of it.

“Jammie is a dynamic playmaker who brings a hard-hitting style to the safety position,” Norvell said earlier this month. “We feel he has tremendous flexibility within our defense and we are excited about the experience he brings, his mentality and the passion with which he plays.”

Robinson hasn’t been on campus long but said he already feels a “family bond.” One aspect that was important was Fuller encouraging Robinson to go home and watch film with his new teammates.

“That’s important because at the end of the day you got to be around your brothers now and y’all gotta put in like numerous hours off the field, not just on the field,” Robinson said. “I feel like me coming here and getting around the guys and just hanging out and just creating a bond. I feel like here, that’s what it is. I love that.”

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