HARRISONBURG — Rashad Robinson is ready to try his senior season again.
He took an unsuccessful crack at it last year when turf toe in training camp spoiled what should’ve been his last go-around at James Madison.
“I’m trying to take care of my body, for one,” the fifth-year cornerback said earlier this summer. “That’s really me maturing. Because as a young guy in the summer I used to just chill, workout and sleep. But I’m now I’m taking the liberty of trying to take care of my body. I’m in the training room 24/7 and that’s even though I’m not hurt. I’m making sure my legs are good and doing preventative stuff.”
Robinson, an FCS All-American in 2017, said he knows he must stay on the field this fall to help JMU achieve team success and for him to reach some of the lofty, but attainable personal goals he has — catching buddy and former teammate Jimmy Moreland’s all-time school interception record and making it two straight years that a Dukes cornerback is picked in the NFL Draft.
The group of Madison corners begins with Robinson. Here’s a closer look at Robinson and the rest of the position:
Returning Starters: r-senior Rashad Robinson
Other Returners On Roster: r-senior Charles Tutt, junior Taurus Carroll, junior Wesley McCormick, r-sophomore Jack Sroba, r-sophomore Michael Johnson, r-freshman Jamari Currence, r-freshman Gionni Terrell, r-freshman Willie Drew, r-freshman Rakeem Davis
Storyline: Robinson’s return to action means JMU can try to replace Moreland, a seventh-round pick of the Washington Redskins in April, with a player of the same caliber.
Going into last year, Robinson was actually the higher-rated pro prospect of the two.
“I talk to Jimmy all the time,” Robinson said. “He always tells me I got to keep it going, especially with the [interception] record. We were competing for the record up until last year when I got hurt. We had an inside competition, so he tells me to keep going and that he wants me to go get it.”
Robinson has 10 career interceptions and is eight off Moreland’s 18, but as long as Robinson stays healthy this fall, he’ll have plenty of opportunity to try to get reach that number.
For first-year defensive coordinator Corey Hetherman and cornerbacks coach Matt Birkett, Robinson is a lock to start. Figuring out who mans the opposite side of the field, fits in the nickel or can play as a reserve, are exactly what Hetherman and Birkett have to determine.
Like Robinson, Charles Tutt is trying to finish his career by staying on the field. Tutt worked his way back to make four starts and record his first career interception in the Dukes’ first round FCS playoff win over Delaware after suffering a season-ending ACL injury the year before.
Then there’s Taurus Carroll and Wesley McCormick, who each started games at different times last year. Carroll and McCormick are both juniors and in prime position to emerge and earn a regular starting job with a solid August training camp.
Beyond those two, Jamari Currence and Willie Drew will have chances to show they belong on the field this fall. During the spring, Currence acted as Robinson’s shadow, following whatever the senior did. Drew took advantage of the NCAA’s new redshirt rule last year, appeared in four games and recorded a tackle against William & Mary.