Notre Dame's Corey Robinson excited for challenges ahead on, off field

Corey Robinson was sitting at home in San Antonio not long after Notre Dame's finale, contemplating his future on and off the field.

Was the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State his last game? Would he ever put his Fighting Irish helmet and pads on again? Would he run through the Notre Dame Stadium tunnel once more?

He leaned on his family, friends and teammates for advice. Ultimately, it was his father, former San Antonio Spurs center David Robinson, who told him to live in the present.

"'Look, you need to take advantage of the opportunities right in front of your face,'" Corey Robinson recalled David telling him. "And I almost let that slip by, so that would've been a tragic mistake on my part."

A day after being elected Notre Dame's student-body president and vice president, respectively, Corey Robinson and running mate Becca Blais spoke about the experience that led them to this platform, one that has never been held before by an Irish football player.

Yes, Robinson is returning for his senior year on the gridiron, a prospect that he admitted was fuzzy in the weeks following the Irish's 10-3 campaign.

With Robinson having now dived head-first into two huge campus roles entering his senior year, though, he and Blais had several things to talk about Friday.

They spoke of their five-pillar platform: Community Engagement, Health and Wellness, Sexual Assault, Diversity and Inclusion, and Sustainability.

They spoke of how they met -- one of Robinson's high school buddies had put the two in touch, leading to meal gatherings and volleyball outings.

They spoke of their extracurricular backgrounds -- Robinson with the student-athlete advisory committee (among others), Blais with elephant conservation research in Sri Lanka.

The idea to run together, they said, was Blais'. She first brought it up in the summer, then again in November.

"I kept bugging you about it," Blais joked to Robinson.

Robinson had thought of graduating early in May and exploring other opportunities, particularly becoming an ACE teaching fellow and volunteering in Brazil. When he decided he'd run for student-body president, he spoke with head coach Brian Kelly, position coach Mike Denbrock and several other Irish staffers to ensure he'd have their support.

"I think that they really see that, just like [athletic director] Jack Swarbrick, that we can have an innovative athletic piece, we can be one of the few schools in the country that have a student-body president that also plays football for a top-10 team in the country," Robinson said. "That's something that previously wasn't possible, but they are very forward-thinking and they trust me, and I really appreciate all their support."

In a weird way, Robinson will have less weight on his shoulders in his upcoming final season than he had in previous years; he will no longer be juggling seven or eight off-field activities and can instead focus on just two main priorities.

He hopes he has already dispelled the notion that he has one foot in and one foot out in several student activities, football among them, and he is looking forward to the challenge ahead.

"I think just the way I look at it is live in the present and really understand I have really big priorities trying to fill [outgoing senior receiver] Chris Brown's shoes here on the receiving corp and try to be a leader for the guys here right now, Team 128, and do the best we can to win a national championship and then also lead the student body," Robinson said. "And that's my best responsibility and my best capacity, to be honest with you, that's my main focus -- those are the only two things I'm worried about. And then after the season's over, I'll have some decisions to make but depending on how everything turns out."