By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Led by college football’s next great quarterback, Southern Cal will be a trendy College Football Playoff pick heading into next season.
So then why did Tommie Robinson, the reigning Pac 12 Recruiter of the Year, decide to leave the glitz and immaculate climate of Los Angeles to make his first foray into the Southeastern Conference? How did Ed Orgeron convince Robinson to come join his staff at LSU?
“The sell was Coach O,” Robinson said at his introductory press conference Thursday morning. “At the end of the day, it was all about him.”
Orgeron hired Robinson this week as LSU’s new assistant coach, recruiting coordinator and running backs coach. Robinson and Mickey Johnson, LSU’s new wide receivers coach, were brought onto the staff less than a week after the dismissal of Dameyune Craig and reassignment of Jabbar Juluke.
For Robinson, the chance to be a recruiting coordinator under Orgeron was too good to pass up. Robinson was on staff at USC when Orgeron took over as an interim coach in 2013.The coach glowed remembering their first game together after Lane Kiffin’s infamous firing.
Orgeron permitted him the freedom to rotate five running backs into the game because Robinson felt all five were deserving of touches. Orgeron continued to allow position coaches full personnel control over their respective rotations during his interim stint at LSU.
“I’ve been coaching football for 32 years,” Robinson said. “In 2013, I had more fun than I’ve ever had with Coach Orgeron.”
Robinson will inherit one of the best backs in the country in Derrius Guice at LSU. He admittedly doesn’t know much about his new personnel, but that’s by design. Robinson said he tries to come into new jobs without preconceived notions in order to formulate his own opinions on players.
But this isn’t the first time he’s heard of LSU’s budding star. In fact, Orgeron tipped of Robinson, who was at Texas at the time, to come take a look at Guice during Orgeron’s year out of football prior to joining Les Miles’ staff as a defensive line coach.
Perhaps it’s a good thing he didn’t, or else Guice may be wearing burnt orange. Robinson finished No. 2 in the 247Sports Recruiter Rankings for 2017, helping the Trojans land a top-five haul on National Signing Day.
Simply put, Robinson knows how to identify and attract high-end talent. Now the Alabama native and former Troy State standout is coming back to his home region to do the same for the Tigers.
Robinson has recruited for some of the nation’s premier programs, including USC, Texas and Miami. He’s also made stops at Utah State, TCU, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech and Memphis. His philosophy to successfully mining talent is as simple as it gets.
“I don’t think there’s any utopias in the world,” Robinson said. “I don’t think anyone has the answers. My philosophy is work. There’s no secret dust. There’s no magic dust. It comes down to work.”
And LSU’s new assistant came to work on first day ready to do just that. He woke up at 5:30 a.m. Thursday and had already jumping into recruiting and offensive meetings. In fact, Robinson and his wife had dinner with Matt Canada and his wife on Wednesday night to get a head start on fitting in with the new offensive staff.