Growing up as the son of a famous athlete is never easy, but San Antonio Christian wide receiver Corey Robinson is handling the attention and expectations that have been hoisted on his shoulders with his father's characteristic aplomb.
The second of three sons born to Valerie and David Robinson, a Spurs legend and one of the greatest players in NBA history, Corey is making his own way on the football field and looking forward to taking the next step in his career at Notre Dame.
Robinson, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound senior, committed to the Irish in March and plans to graduate from San Antonio Christian in December and start classes at Notre Dame in January.
"I'm really excited about going up there," Robinson said this week. "I can't wait. I've recorded all of Notre Dame's games this year. This is the first year I've actually watched college football. I always thought it was kind of interesting, but since I've committed, I now have a true reason to watch. I love it."
After missing the previous week's game because of a sore right Achilles' tendon, Robinson bounced back Friday night with five receptions for 174 yards and two touchdowns in San Antonio Christian's 42-3 rout of Victoria St. Joseph in a TAPPS 3-II game.
Although he has played in only four games this season, Robinson already has surpassed his yardage total and equaled his TD total from last year. He has 32 catches for 708 yards, an average of 22 yards per catch, and 10 TDs.
Robinson finished his junior season, his first as a starter on the varsity, with 42 receptions for 660 yards and 10 TDs.
Father's example guides son on, off field
So what's it been like growing up as the son of an NBA icon?
"It's been cool," Robinson said. "I've met a lot of people and I've been to a lot of places. At the same time, there's that pressure to succeed that comes with it. I embrace that. It really drives me to do something great. I can't settle for anything ordinary because I'm David Robinson's son.
"So I'm trying to achieve excellence like he did. It's great to have that resource. Although it's not the same sport, at least the same principles and leadership qualities apply to both. I can ask him for advice in those areas and learn what makes great players great."
Robinson played basketball at San Antonio Christian last season, but will not be on the team this year.
David Robinson spoke about Corey before a Spurs playoff game this spring.
"I'm proud of him," he said. "He's really loves to play football. But what I'm proudest of is that he's growing up to be a good young man."
San Antonio Christian coach Bryan Marmion said Robinson "was just a sponge" as a freshman and sophomore, asking questions at every turn.
"He'd ask, 'How come we do it that way? Why do I step this way. Why not that way. What about this? How are we doing that?'" Marmion said, chuckling. "It's kind of funny because some of the stuff he'd ask, you're thinking, 'Dude, has anybody in your family ever played sports?'
"But he was just so thorough about wanting to know everything he could about it. By his junior year, you started seeing the body and the knowledge catching up with each other. He's kind of exploded since last spring where it's second nature to him. He's got a great understanding now of where he needs to be. He's got body control. He's got good hands. He catches the ball well. His upside is really, really good."
Robinson impressed with Notre Dame from get-go
Robinson's whirlwind recruitment by Notre Dame began after he participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl combine in January at the Alamodome. With his father looking on, Robinson caught the eye of college coaches with his raw athletic ability and potential.
About a month later, Notre Dame was the first school to offer Robinson a scholarship.
"Iowa offered two days later and then North Carolina, Kansas, Wake (Forest) and Navy offered after that, and then it kind of settled down," Robinson said. "I've always wanted to go to a place that balances academics and great football. I knew Notre Dame was on the rise. I love the way they play. I love what Coach (Brian) Kelly does there.
"So I knew that was a great option. After talking to my parents about it and praying about it, I visited Notre Dame and it was incredible. I fell in love with the school, the campus, my teammates and the players they're recruiting. And I love the coaches, so it just came together perfectly."
Robinson set foot on the Notre Dame campus for the first time last October, when he and his father watched the Irish play Navy.
"I even watched 'Rudy' before I went up there the first time," Corey said, referring to the movie about Rudy Ruettiger, a walk-on who played for the Irish in the mid-1970s and captured the hearts of Notre Dame fans with his grit. "I watched it before, like when I was 12 or 11, but I had to watch it again. Going up there the first time was just like the movie."
While Corey was taken by the Irish, there was no question about his father's loyalty.
Nicknamed "The Admiral," David Robinson was an All-America basketball player at Navy before being selected by the Spurs with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1987 NBA draft.
Robinson: Atmosphere for ND-Michigan game 'crazy'
After two years of active duty in the Navy, Robinson joined the Spurs in 1989 and spent his entire 14-year career in San Antonio. Teaming with Tim Duncan, Robinson played on NBA title teams in 1999 and 2003 and retired after winning his second championship ring.
But back to last October in South Bend, Ind.
"Walking into the stadium for the first time was exhilarating," Corey said. "It was incredible to see that many fans all into the football game. I've been to a couple of football games where it's like half the people are disinterested, but Notre Dame fans are always into the game. They love football.
"That was a great experience. We went up there to watch Navy play, but I ended up loving Notre Dame from a student's perspective And then when they offered me, I said, ' Let's go back up and look at it from the football perspective.'"
Robinson returned to the Notre Dame campus with his father in March for the Irish football program's Junior Day, and cemented his relationship with Kelly and his staff.
"I committed about four or five days later," he said.
Robinson made his official visit to Notre Dame two weekends ago when the Irish beat rival Michigan 13-6 in South Bend.
"That atmosphere was crazy," Robinson said, rolling his eyes. "It was a night game and everyone was hyped up for it. I loved that."
Robinson says mother provides stability in family
Robinson said he's looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead at Notre Dame.
"I want to be part of something great," he said. "Everybody that's being recruited by Notre Dame, we're all on the same page. We want to bring Notre Dame back to national prominence. We want to try to be that team. That's our No. 1 goal. That and getting an education."
While Robinson pondered his college choice earlier this year, his parents were there to help guide him through the process.
"They were trying to frame my mindset on what did I want from my college, and they helped me understand that from a football perspective and an academic perspective," Robinson said. "Once I had that down, it was up to me."
Robinson expressed gratitude to both his parents for the values they've instilled in him.
"My mother provides the stability in our family," he said. "She's the one who organizes everything. That helps me frame my mindset. What do I have to do? What are my goals, what are my plans? Just managing my time. She's just gives me that reassurance that everything is going to be all right. That's something I really took from my mom.
"The main thing that my dad instilled in me was trying to remain true to yourself in the face of public pressure and, really, in the eyes of the public. I've got to try to stay true to who I am, a Christian man who has values. I can't change that just because I'm in the spotlight now. It's also about trying to be a leader when necessary, whether that be action or words, and trying to lead by example."
Robinson's older brother, David Jr., is a sophomore at the University of Texas and his younger brother, Justin, is a sophomore basketball player at San Antonio Christian.
"My older brother is the best athlete in the family," Robinson said. "He was more of a track athlete and also played soccer."
With the way he's developing as a football player, Corey may wind up being the most talented athlete in David Robinson's family.