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Denard Robinson on why he stayed

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Denard Robinson heard the question from just about everyone after Michigan pink-slipped Rich Rodriguez and his staff.

Will you stay or will you go?

For several days, the Wolverines quarterback had no answer.

"I was pretty nervous because I did well in the spread [offense]," he said. "Everybody was like, 'What you gonna do? What you gonna do?' It was a lot of pressure. That was my main thing, asking my parents and my family, 'What should I do?' They led me to the conclusion that if I want to play at the next level, stay. But if you don't like it, then you've got options."

Having a chance to play in a system more tailored to the NFL game appealed to Robinson. But there were other reasons.

His teammates needed him, and vice versa.

"I was like, 'Man, I don't know if I could leave these guys,'" he said. "I didn't know if I could leave and get adjusted to other players. We worked hard all summer together two years in a row, so I was like, 'We're going to do some things this year.'"

While making his decision, Robinson also reached out to Rodriguez and his other former Michigan coaches. No player on the Wolverines' squad thrived more under the previous regime than Robinson, who set numerous records as a sophomore and earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors.

"They told me if I'm going to stay, buy into the system," Robinson recalled. "They said don't be rebelling because that's what happened when they came here. I don't know if that's true or not, but that's what they said."

Michigan's seniors had a similar message for Robinson while he was making his decision.

"They took me in and said, 'Man, look, we're not trying to have the team break up like it did our freshman year,'" Robinson said. "They said, 'We kind of rebelled and it was like whatever.' My teammates, they're like brothers to me, and they were like, 'Stick around. We need you to stay.'"

Michigan has avoided significant player turnover during the coaching transition. But Robinson's pledge to return had added significance.

"He jumped in with both feet, ready to go, ready to move forward," coach Brady Hoke said. "That obviously means something to his teammates, it means something to Michigan football, and it tells you something about Michigan. It tells you that the Michigan legacies and traditions are important."

By staying, Robinson can enhance his own legacy as a Wolverine.