Duce Robinson-Georgia recruiting-UGA recruiting
5-star TE prospect Duce Robinson is also a pro and college baseball prospect. He's a priority remaining target for UGA in the class of 2023. (Jeff Sentell/ DawgNation)

Duce Robinson: Priority 5-star target shares his thoughts on any possible Todd Monken move and the next steps of his process

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep has the latest with 5-star TE prospect Duce Robinson. He ranks as the nation’s No. 1 TE and the No. 17 overall prospect for 2024 on the 247Sports Composite ratings.


PHOENIX, Ariz. -- A journey to the Valley of the Sun this week has yielded a few interesting discoveries.

The first revelation was that one potential piece of scenery for any 5-star Arizona football prospect rings true. There are loads of cacti (The Latin plural) lining the roadway next to the football field where Duce Robinson made quite the name for himself this fall.

The 5-star, with about 1.5 seasons worth of experience in his first three years of high school, came up with 84 catches for 1,614 yards and 14 TDs. Those receptions went for an average of 19.4 yards per catch.

That wasn’t all of it. What 6-foot-6 receiver-slash-tight end returns punts? This one did.

The one topic everyone will focus on here is it doesn’t seem likely that the priority 5-star Georgia target will sign on National Signing Day tomorrow with any school. That story - or better yet that expectation - has been widely reported by several national outlets today.

“I guess the only thing to say with that is we just don’t know yet,” Robinson told DawgNation on Tuesday. “We’re still figuring everything out.”

The expectation earlier this month was that the Robinson storyline would likely headline the traditional National Signing Day news cycle for Georgia football fans: Would the 5-star choose to sign with UGA? Or would USC sweep in at the last minute? What about Texas?

There have now been two recent workouts for Major League Baseball clubs that add to the intrigue here. This is not just a mere decision about which offensive scheme best suits his talents. Far from it.

And yet Robinson’s day on Tuesday began with a classroom test.

He had an academic challenge this morning before he stepped into the batting cage at Pinnacle High School and began barreling up baseballs. It’s important to note here that he’s still got his school on his mind, too.

Robinson might have had 30 minutes of swings to get away from it all.

Was his hip spilling out too much? Was he really in midseason form in the cage shooting that outside pitch the other way? That looked to be a steep advancement of his skills with the bat.

Especially when similar January sessions would have him just missing that pitch or getting under it.

This was the same just-turned-18-year-old kid that all of college football is wondering if he will sign anywhere tomorrow.

Or if he will sign this week. Or maybe even at all.

How strongly does the lure of pro baseball weigh on his mind? That’s another thing that has to be on his plate.

When his time in the cage was up, the 225-pounder had more academic work to maintain his 4.2 grade-point average.

He was also off to help coach a Powder Puff girls’ football team for his school. When those labors were over, he was set to hit the basketball court this evening to play a varsity game for Pinnacle High School.

And we all might think we have busy days and full weeks, right?

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What’s the latest with Duce Robinson and Georgia?

There was a day this month when Lincoln Riley and Kirby Smart came in for back-to-back home visits.

Robinson was just back from another practice for one and then hopped into the shower for the next one.

He saw the best pitch from both Riley and Smart that night. It will be quite the memory one day.

His thought process is also already muddied with so many variables. College football? College baseball? Pro baseball?

The fact that Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken is interviewing with multiple NFL teams is just another layer of intrigue here.

What would that mean if Monken left his post as the most successful offensive coordinator in college football these days to return to that Sunday league?

How much would that add to the degree of difficulty here for the ‘Dawgs?

“We love Coach Monken,” Robinson said. “We love his offense and we love what he does. But there are a lot of other things to love about Georgia, too. Whether he decides to stay or gets a job in the NFL, we love Georgia regardless.”

While rumors swirl about the lure of what happens if Robinson goes high in the next First-Year Player Draft, Duce continues to double down on his life’s ambition.

That will be to play pro baseball and pro football at the same time. He knows he cannot get to that Sunday league without first playing major college football.

“The plan is to play college football,” Robinson said. “The goal is obviously to get drafted in the MLB Draft but our plan is to play college football along with that.”

That’s an ambitious goal. Some might be skeptical, but spending some time around Robinson and the “we” that makeup Team Duce makes it all much more logical.

He was named because Duce Staley was running wild in the NFL when he was born 18 years ago. Not because of a well-thought-out plan to play both baseball and football at the highest levels of each sport.

We’ll have a lot to share about Robinson in the days to come. Perhaps the collection of evidence there will make it all seem less far-fetched.

His father, Dominic, played both college baseball and college football at FSU. He went on to play receiver and return punts in the NFL for the St. Louis Rams. When his playing days were up, he then spent some time coaching at the college level and then going into athletic training.

His company, 3D Sports Performance, works with elite athletes at both levels. He trains and coaches both baseball and football players.

Robinson was working out on Tuesday alongside 2022 Atlanta Braves first-round pick J.R. Ritchie. Ritchie, a right-handed pitcher, has been with 3D for years. He was the No. 35 overall pick in the 2022 First-Year Player Draft.

He’s known full well what Duce Robinson can do with a bat in his hands. Or what he might be in pro ball as a centerfielder.

That was back when he first met him at the age of 14. He thought that he was somebody in his peer group. Not the son of his trainer who had yet to play high school ball.

The 3D Sports client list will also include 5-star 2024 QB Dylan Raiola. Raiola, another major Georgia target, is the nation’s No. 1 overall college prospect for the upcoming cycle.

Robinson said he’s still juggling a group of teams in his mind. It has to be hard to separate college football powerhouses from professional baseball franchises at the same time here.

His recent workouts have helped his prospects of playing pro baseball coming out of high school.

“It is for sure a blessing,” Robinson said. “We’ve been in talks with a bunch of MLB teams before the workouts but just being able to go out there and be able to work out with them and in front of them and just be able to talk to them in a different setting was something. It wasn’t like at the house. It is a lot of fun. It has really been a really cool part of the journey. I’m just excited to see where it can take us.”

It is hard enough just to make a pure college football decision. That’s what his peers went through during the early signing period and a few more will also get to do this week.

“It’s definitely a challenge here,” Robinson said. “Obviously balancing both sports but then even as it pertains to the future. We want to make a decision that is going to support playing both sports to the highest level I possibly can. That has been a big factor of why we have waited so long [to make a decision] here, too.”

“A lot of times most guys like me are just dealing with the football aspect of it. That’s hard enough. Not just the baseball aspect of it. Or just the baseball aspect of it. To go pro or to play college baseball. But trying to figure out the right path for both has definitely been a challenge.”

What will Robinson do this week? It seems like the safest thing here is to just wait and see. This is an unprecedented situation when it comes to 5-star recruiting for the Georgia football program.

Maybe the biggest story of national signing day 2023 revolves around a player that does not sign this week. That’s on the table. Maybe Duce decides he’s finally ready? That is also on the table, too.

This decision will be left up to him.

When he’s ready, he will make it and one very fortunate college football fan base will have something special to look forward to offensively in the years to come.

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