When Matt Glover arrived at Pinson Valley High School as the new football coach before the 2009 season, a small, but talented athlete stepped on the practice fields for tryouts. The freshman had played little league quarterback, but Glover knew that wouldn't be his high school home.
After brutal tryouts resulted in over 30 players quitting the team, Glover gave this youngster a shot at receiver. Glover watched as the freshman caught every pass thrown in his direction.
That freshman was Auburn commit, and the nation's No. 101 ranked prospect Earnest Robinson.
Robinson made a highlight catch in his first action against Clay-Chalkville that season and hasn't looked back. Robinson broke onto the big-time college football recruiting scene against Hartselle in the final game of his sophomore season. Robinson caught four touchdowns in the game.
When the next year's spring game rolled around, Robinson was at it again. Glover remembers Robinson making a one-handed catch that he described as "Top Ten SportsCenter" worthy. Former Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain were there to see it and offered Robinson a scholarship.
Almost one year later, Robinson took Auburn up on their scholarship offer and committed to the Tigers. Glover believes Auburn is getting a prospect that has elite abilities.
"He can take over a game when he wants to," Glover said. "As long as the quarterback puts the ball where it's supposed to be, it won't be intercepted. He's made some catches around here that are just freakish."
Robinson made plenty of catches the last two seasons with 69 receptions for over 1,200 yards and 22 total touchdowns. That was while only playing six games last fall due to an injury he suffered in the opening game.
Robinson, now 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, has all the tools to be a successful SEC receiver, with his super-sized hands being his biggest asset.
At last summer's Auburn mini-camp, Robinson wowed coaches and onlookers catching passes in traffic and with defenders draped over him. Glover remembers that trip vividly.
"When we were coming to that camp, he was telling me his gloves didn't fit anymore," Glover remarked. "I asked what size they were and he told me, '3 XL'. His hands just filled them up, he's got big hands for his size. Like a 6-foot-6 player."
Robinson's ability to catch the football headlines his resume, but it's his strength and potential to be a big-bodied receiver that has Glover excited about his future. Glover claims Robinson maxes out on bench at 305-pounds, squats 500-pounds, and power cleans 260-pounds. And that's without having a full offseason of workouts due to playing basketball.
"He can be a 6-foot-4, 220-pound receiver in college," said Glover.
Last Saturday, Robinson made the decision he wanted to take his talents to Auburn and called Glover to tell him the news. Robinson told him he was about to commit to Auburn head coach Gene Chizik and Glover just had a few words of wisdom.
"The only advice I told him is once you commit, you stick with your commitment as long as they stick with their commitment to you," Glover said. "I told him I didn't want him going somewhere next week and liking them and committing there. He said that's where he wanted to go and he's all pumped and excited."
So excited, that Glover saw something at school on Monday that he hasn't seen in three previous years of knowing and coaching Robinson.
"Monday was the first time I've seen him wearing a college football shirt, he had his Auburn shirt on," Glover said. "I've never seen him wear anything college related. He was very wide open."
Glover feels confident that Robinson will remain firm in his pledge, partly due to the Tigers depth chart and ability to make an early impact, but mainly due to the overwhelming interesting the Auburn coaching staff showed in Robinson from the start.
"The relationship, the interest the coaches showed in him, Coach Chizik in particular, bringing him in his office every time he went down there, that type stuff. That really appealed to Earnest," said Glover.
Robinson was also able to learn about the Auburn program from a former player under Glover at Moody High School, in Tigers' offensive lineman Chad Slade. All that added up to Auburn outworking the competition.
"I thought last year after the camps he was probably leaning towards Alabama a little more, but after that Alabama never really emphasized how much they wanted him," Glover said. "Auburn showed him how important he was to them."
Robinson joins Muscle Shoals (Ala.) defensive lineman and the nation's No. 42 overall prospect Dee Liner, as well as Dothan (Ala.) corner Kamryn Melton as in-state commits in Auburn's 2013 class.