The Clemson Insider was able to catch up with the nation’s No. 1 tight end after he made a cross-country trip to The Valley for Saturday’s game against Florida State.
Pinnacle (Phoenix, AZ.) 2023 five-star tight end Duce Robinson took a red-eye flight early Saturday morning to make it to Memorial Stadium. He flew into Charlotte with his parents, they made their way down to Clemson and stayed in the hotel for an hour or two before heading to the game.
Robinson was running on pure adrenaline. The atmosphere in Death Valley certainly kept him awake.
“I really like it there,” Robinson said. “I love Coach Elliott and Coach Swinney. I love the entire coaching staff. It’s beautiful down there. The facilities are incredible. I got to spend time around the other recruits, guys that are being recruited, so it was a lot of fun.”
How would Robinson categorize his relationship with Tony Elliott?
“It’s been one of my best relationships with a coach,” he said of Clemson’s offensive coordinator/tight ends coach. ”We keep in communication every week. We call each other once a week just to check up and see how one another is doing. I feel like we have a really good relationship.”
Robinson had a chance to speak with most of Clemson’s coaching staff. He sat down with Swinney for about 10 minutes prior to the game. Their conversation barely touched the recruiting aspect of things, in fact, Robinson described it as a regular conversation, where Swinney wanted to catch up and check in on the highly-touted prospect.
“Everybody knows, but it just reinforces that Coach Swinney is a great person at heart too,” Robinson said. “Seeing how I’m doing instead of just talking about football.”
Robinson was down in Clemson at the end of June and took an unofficial visit. He got to take in the campus and facilities, but the overall game-day experience had to wait until this past Saturday.
“It’s a completely different atmosphere on game day,” Robinson said. “When we came here during the summer, it’s beautiful and we really liked it, but that game day is just different. Being able to see the Clemson fans, how much everybody loves football there, how invested they are. Then, the atmosphere is just such a great atmosphere. It was really cool.”
The highlight for Robinson came before the game even started. College football’s most exciting 25 seconds was a whole other experience for Robinson, who was very complimentary of the tradition and clearly blown away by what he saw.
Robinson was also impressed by how the tight end position was utilized during Clemson’s 30-20 win over FSU.
“It was really cool,” he said. “Seeing Davis Allen have that big catch, seeing that catch, it was pretty sweet. Being able to see how much the tight end position is moved around in their offense, seeing how they split out wide a lot, and then seeing that it’s a position where you’re put and you’re expected to make big plays in that offense, which I think is really cool.”
After the game, Robinson headed over to baseball and had an opportunity to talk with assistant coach Bradley LeCroy.
“Me and Coach LeCroy, we had talked before over the summer and me and him and I have a really good relationship too,” Robinson said. “We haven’t been able to keep in contact a lot, but we’ve talked a couple of times and they said I could play both (football and baseball) if it’s something I wanted to do.”
While Robinson didn’t really have a chance to talk with any Clemson players, he talked to some commits in the 2022 class and spent a considerable amount of time with Isidore Newman (New Orleans, La.) five-star quarterback Arch Manning and his family.
“Me and him, we actually spent most of the time together, our two families,” Robinson said. “That was really cool. I had met him before, but we didn’t really get to have a true conversation. Being able to sit with him for most of the game and talk with him for most of the game was really cool.”
Robinson doesn’t have a timeline as far as an eventual commitment is concerned. He wants to be able to take in some official visits before making any decisions.
In addition to Clemson, Robinson has been on visits this fall to the University of Oklahoma and Washington this fall.
He is currently tabbed by 247Sports as the No. 1 prospect in the Grand Canyon State, No. 1 tight end nationally and No. 35 overall prospect in the country for the 2023 class.
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