The huddle is a sacred place in football, one where the team and game are the only things that count. We’re going inside the huddle by talking to football players on the POWERADE FAB 50 teams to find out their most valuable lessons learned -- on or off the field -- that contribute to their success.
Senior quarterback Patton Robinette of Maryville (Maryville, Tenn.) discusses how he navigated the complicated recruiting process. A 6-foot-6, 205-pounder, Robinette chose the University of North Carolina over scholarship offers from Cincinnati, Memphis, Northwestern, Purdue, Southern Mississippi and the University of Central Florida.
The signal-caller led Maryville to last year's Class 6A state title with a mark of 14-1, and through 13 games his Rebels haven’t lost and are the No. 20 team in this week's POWERADE FAB 50 ESPNHS Team Rankings.
Finding the right fit for both a program and the college experience was paramount to Robinette. As far as electing to attend North Carolina?
"Three things did it for me," said Robinette, “the overall feel, the academics and the atmosphere."
"At the end of the day, if you don't like the feel of the place that you're going or the campus, the coaching staff and the people that you meet there, then it's just not going to work," he added. "You've got to go to the campus and be around the players. Make sure to visit classes and try to go through the college experience in its entirety to feel what's best for you."
Robinette is considering a major in the medical field. "Probably chemistry, and that fit really well with me, because I think North Carolina has a medical program that is ranked No. 4 in the nation," he said. "They do a lot of research medicine and sports medicine and those are things that I'm very interested in. That really appealed to me, because football is going to end sometime, and you need something to fall back on. There is nothing better to fall back on than a great degree from a top quality school."
Robinette also felt at ease with his campus surroundings at North Carolina, from the campus size to its general facilities and his teammates.
"You've got to like the people who are on the team and to get along with them and be able to interact with them positively," said Robinette. "Also, there are the guys who are coming in with you, so you've got to have a positive relationship with them as well."
Of course, none of that would have mattered to Robinette if he didn't feel as if he could contribute on the field.
"They do a lot of Pro-Style stuff with progression reads, and that appealed to me and the ball-control aspect of it," said Robinette. "North Carolina hasn't really been known for football for a while. It’s always been a basketball school. But they've started to move things in the right direction and they're not a program that you can overlook."
ROLE MODEL: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts "I've seen all the things that he's done for the University of Tennessee. That's all people talk about around here is what he's done. He puts his offense into the correct calls and knows how to make plays. He's definitely someone to look up to."