Duce Robinson was the final ESPN 300 prospect from the 2023 class to announce his commitment after waiting beyond the December and February signing periods. He made his decision Thursday, choosing USC over Georgia and Texas.
Robinson, the No. 40 recruit overall, is a 6-foot-6, 235-pound tight end and wide receiver out of Pinnacle High School in Arizona.
He decided to wait because he was focused on building relationships with the coaching staffs and didn't want to put an arbitrary date on when he should decide his future. Ultimately, the Trojans and head coach Lincoln Riley came out on top.
"It kind of just felt like whichever one made the most sense, kind of came down to those three schools between Georgia, USC and Texas," Robinson said. "I had great relationships with all those staffs and I've been talking to all those staffs for multiple years now. But at the end of the day, we kind of just had to sit down and discuss the school that was going to make the most the most sense to us."
Robinson said USC plans to use him all over the offense, whether it's at receiver or pass-catching tight end. He broke his high school's single-season receiving record in 2022 with 75 receptions for 1,439 yards.
He is also a top-rated baseball prospect as an outfielder with a chance to hear his name called early in July's MLB draft. ESPN's Kiley McDaniel ranks Robinson as the No. 84 prospect overall, and the baseball side was always a part of his recruiting process, particularly letting coaches know he would be a two-sport athlete.
That aspect gave USC an advantage. At Oklahoma, Riley coached Kyler Murray, who played quarterback and was selected as the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft.
"Coach Riley has done this before with a guy at a super high level and he's all-in on it," Robinson said. "He knows what works, what doesn't work and it was probably harder to balance it with a quarterback, because it's such a unique position."
Robinson had the opportunity to meet Murray while on a visit to Oklahoma when Riley was still coaching the Sooners. Robinson and his mother sat down with Murray to ask about what it was like balancing both sports and got some insight into what it would be like to play for Riley.
"A bunch of their pro guys came back to campus and Kyler was there when we were," Robinson said. "He sat down with us for 20 to 30 minutes and just talked about what it was like for him. He talked about the challenges of playing both and what it takes to play both in college, so we were super grateful to have been able to sit down and talk with him."
Robinson has had other inspiration outside of Murray and Riley. Robinson is following in the footsteps of his father, Dominic Robinson, who played football and baseball at Florida State and went on to play in the NFL and get drafted by the Minnesota Twins. The two have been training in both sports since Robinson was a young child and he is now realizing his dream of playing football at the next level.
Robinson has drawn comparisons to Aaron Judge with his big frame and the tools to be an explosive batter. Robinson's baseball aspirations won't be determined by his decision, but rather by the choice of a major league organization and whoever decides to take a chance on him as a professional athlete.
The NCAA would allow him to keep his eligibility in football even if he signs a professional baseball contract, but then he wouldn't be eligible to play baseball in college for the Trojans.
Robinson will now prepare for what lies ahead in both football and baseball at the next level.
"We're just trying to get ready for the draft right now. We're ready for everything and hopefully I get drafted highly," Robinson said. "And then the goal from there would be to play college football and hopefully be able to sign a professional baseball contract so I could play both that way."