Patton Robinette ends playing career

Vanderbilt quarterback Patton Robinette has decided to end his playing career, citing health concerns and his desire to enter medical school.

The redshirt junior told coach Derek Mason on Thursday and informed teammates about his decision Friday morning. Robinette, who started five of his 16 career games with the Commodores, threw for 1,096 yards with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions during two seasons of play. He also rushed for 277 yards and nine touchdowns during his career.

Robinette now plans to enter Vanderbilt School of Medicine this summer to study orthopedics.

According to the university, Robinette's decision was influenced by a history of injuries, including a knee sprain in last year's opener against Temple and a concussion he suffered against South Carolina on Sept. 20 that forced him to miss six weeks of action. Robinette played in just six games last season.

"This has been a very difficult decision to make," Robinette said in a statement through the school. "This team means the world to me and I love playing football more than anything. It's been tough coming to a decision that is right for my family and I, and protects my health and future.

"I've been very deliberate in coming to this decision. It's difficult but I'm really excited to move forward to the next chapter of my life and really to see what the field of medicine has in store for me."

Robinette was competing with three other quarterbacks -- sophomore Wade Freebeck, redshirt sophomore Johnny McCrary and redshirt freshman Shawn Stankavage -- to be Vanderbilt's starter this spring. The Commodores will continue to have a four-man battle at quarterback when freshman and ESPN 300 member Kyle Shurmur arrives on campus before the fall.

Robinette saw most of his success with the Commodores during the 2013 season, in which he helped lead the Commodores to a come-from-behind win over No. 15 Georgia and their first road win at Florida since World War II. He guided the Commodores to a win over Houston in the BBVA Compass Bowl and was also responsible for a game-winning fake jump pass that went for a 5-yard rushing touchdown in Vandy's 14-10 win over rival Tennessee in Knoxville.

"Patton Robinette is one of the most fierce competitors that I've ever had the pleasure to coach," Mason said. "He's been a winner on every level and a guy that others look to for leadership. Patton leaves this football team in good hands, and has done a fantastic job of helping to create a foundation for success.

"This has been tough on Patton and his family, but we support his decision and look forward to seeing what the future in medicine holds for such an outstanding young man."