GCVI graduate Tavius Robinson decided to sell south of the border when Canadian college football season was canceled
What Tavius Robinson, a native of Guelph, did like a lark turned out to be one of the best things he could have done.
“When our (college football) season was canceled, I felt that it was definitely going to hinder my development from not having football for a year,” Robinson said in a telephone interview.
“I had made a highlights video about three months before our season was canceled just for a joke, but when our season was canceled, it went live and I sent it to the coaches (NCAA). As more and more coaches discovered me, it continued to climb.
During the first week of June, the national U Sports and provincial OUA sports associations canceled their sports programs until the end of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which means that will have more Ontario college football for the first time since 1945..
Most NCAA coaches have seen the 6-foot-8, 250-pound defensive lineman’s star roller.
“The number of coaches who contacted me was really surprising,” he said.
In the end, he chose the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss Rebels) where he thought he could see playing time this year due to the number of defensive players they had lost after graduation.
“I had a lot of calls with their coordinator and the D-line coach and all that and I thought it would be a good fit for me,” said Robinson. “The way they handle their defense and everything, I thought I would fit in well. “
In fact, the Rebels’ defensive line plan under new head coach Lane Kiffin, a former head coach of the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans, is similar to that used last season by the Gryphons.
“It’s pretty much going through quickly, getting on the field and being able to fall back into the blanket as well,” said Robinson. “It is similar to the type of things we have done here. “
The 2020 campaign would have been Robinson’s third with the Gryphons. He was a member of the OUA rookie all-star team in 2018 and the second all-star team last year. In his two seasons with his home team, Robinson has had 36 tackles, 10 sacks, 14 tackles for a loss and a fumble.
“All of my teammates (Gryphon) and coaches have been very supportive of this whole process,” he said. “They want the best for me and they are happy to see me go. I wouldn’t be in this situation without my teammates and my coaches. Their support shows me how much family there is in Guelph and with the Guelph program. “
Although nothing has been said as to whether NCAA football will take place this year, Ole Miss is scheduled to start her season on September 6 with a game against Baylor in Texas.
“They haven’t said anything about it yet. Either way, they play or they don’t play, I’m going to be in full force, “said Robinson. “At the moment everything is fine, but we will see what happens. “
There will be a bit of a learning curve for Robinson with the rebels. The only Canadian on the team, he will have to get used to the game of four and the lack of space between the offensive and defensive lines during the match. Canadian rules include three tries to win 10 meters and the defense must be one meter from the line of scrimmage when they line up for the game to begin.
“It’s going to be different,” said Robinson. “This is the best conference and I did it for a reason. I want to go out there and play with the best players to become one of the best players. It’s going to be a big jump, but I’m definitely ready to compete and see where I stand. If I want to follow my dreams and make my dreams come true, I have to play with the best players. It’s a big jump, but I’m sure for that.
“I don’t think any place on the line will help me. Obviously, with four downs, there is a little more racing involved, but I’m ready to go in and compete and learn. “
A member of the Southeast Conference, Ole Miss finished sixth in the seven-team West Division with a record of 2-6. Five of the 14 conference teams were ranked in the national top 15, including four in the top 10 – LSU first, Georgia fourth, Florida sixth, Alabama eighth and Auburn 14th.
The Ole Miss 2020 schedule includes games against division rivals LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Arkansas, as well as Florida and Vanderbilt of the East Division. The other games on their calendar are against Baylor, Southeast Missouri, UConn and Georgia Southern.
Playing with the Gryphons, Robinson’s professional goals would have been in the CFL. Joining the rebels also displaces his goals.
“This is what will bring the NFL into the equation where staying here was primarily the CFL,” he said. “Making the jump there will make the NFL more possible. “
Robinson will also change his educational orientation. He is studying landscape architecture at the University of Guelph, but will study business in Mississippi.
“Businesses will go with landscape architecture,” he said.
Although the Canadian college football season has been canceled, the players continued their own training without violating the province’s social distancing mandate.
“One of my teammates has a full gym in his hangar, so I go there every day and hit the local grass fields every day,” he said. “All the guys I live with work the same way we do.”
Robinson is one and five other Gryphon soccer players are roommates in a house near campus, which makes them eligible to continue working together.
The other five are expected to be looking for a new roommate after Robinson leaves for Ole Miss campus in Oxford, Miss.
“I live for the beginning of July, but it depends on the date on which the academic record will end and the transcripts will be sent and all that,” he said.
Until then, he will continue to work with his former teammates who will be soon.
“I will continue to work on my skills and my speed and weight training,” he said. “I’m going to keep doing what I did to keep getting stronger and faster. “