Back in 2018, then-West Virginia safety Kenny Robinson was one of the premier defenders in college football.
During that time, there were few defensive backs that had a propensity for finding the football the way he did. When it came to pure ball skills, Robinson was simply a natural.
In his two years with the Mountaineers, Robinson collected 123 tackles, seven interceptions, and seven passes defensed. His most notable performance came against Texas Tech in 2018, where he registered two interceptions and nine tackles. His rare combination of size and instincts made him one of the most productive defenders in his conference, earning him a First-team All-Big 12 honors.
Yet for Robinson, trials and tribulations would derail his football career. For starters, he was
expelled from West Virginia after violating the student code of conduct involving academic fraud. Then health issues plagued his mother, who would suffer two strokes after being diagnosed with colon cancer. For Robinson, helping his ailing mother was a greater priority than transferring to a different school. So he decided at that time to enter the XFL, where he would be drafted by the St. Louis BattleHawks.
Following a successful stint in the XFL, would be selected by the Carolina Panthers in the 5th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. With the Panthers, he would languish on the practice squad for over a season before being elevated to the active roster on October 14, 2021. This past season, Robinson spent much of his time again on the practice squad after being released.
Now with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Robinson may have the chance of realizing his true potential in 2023. Whether the team decides to add another defensive back through free agency or the draft, his unique abilities may make him the type of player that could make it hard to deny him a roster spot.