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February 6, 2014

Robinson brushed off the backlash

He's the biggest member of the 2014 class, literally and figuratively.

At 6-foot-6, 320 pounds, Cameron Robinson is a sight to behold. He's got long arms to keep defensive ends at bay, big feet that set up a steady base and the sheer size to envelope any who gets in his path.

Then there's what he represents to Alabama's 2014 class, the top-ranked offensive lineman in the country from a battleground recruiting state (Louisiana).

When Robinson chose Alabama over LSU it wasn't just his hometown of West Monroe that seemed to turn on him, it felt like the entire state. He shrugged off the detractors and put his desires over their wants.

"I experienced the most backlash I ever had in my life," Robinson said. "Leaving Louisiana to go play for not just any school but Alabama. You just got to let it roll off your shoulders. Just take it with a grain of salt. It wasn't that big of a deal."

So perhaps there's no one who understands better what Rashaan Evans is currently going through than Robinson. Evans grew up in Auburn, goes to Auburn High School and both of his parents attended Auburn University. Yet Evans spurned the hometown Tigers for Alabama.

"I know exactly how that feels to be in his shoes," Robinson said. "It was an extremely tough decision. But at the end of the day, you have to do what's best for you. You're going to be the one that has to spend the next three or four years here. So you can't make a decision based on what other people are going to think or what other people are going to say."

Robinson said the plan for him is to compete for a starting spot at left tackle.

"I need to work on everything. SEC man, with these defensive linemen, it's crazy," he said. "These guys are freak athletes. I'm working on everything I can to just get better over all."

To get there, Robinson knows he'll have to transform his body into one ready to compete in the Southeastern Conference. Step one in that process began in the offseason workouts with UA strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran.

"At the beginning, man, the workouts were painful," Robinson said. "Coach Cochran, he was killing us. We just had to get in and get used to it. Our bodies get adjusted to it. We've been rolling all, just working hard every day.

"Yeah (the veterans) warned us but I don't think you can actually put it into words about how it is, especially when you first get here. So they warned us, but I mean it didn't do it justice.

"The tempo. Like, in high school, you don't necessarily get tired of it. In the weight room, with coach Cochran, you're dog tired, trying to lift weights from running to each station, never sit still, jump rope, doing core work, ab work, cardio, something. Never standing still."


Reach Aaron Suttles at aaron.suttles@tuscaloosanews.com or 205.722.0229.

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