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A Giant opportunity for Trey Robinson

Trey Robinson finished his Furman career with 264 tackles and six interceptions from the safety position after strictly playing quarterback while at Dorman. {FURMAN PHOTO}

The Dorman/Furman alum signed with New York in May and aims to make the NFL team’s 53-man roster.

There’s little room for getting star struck when you strongly believe you belong playing at the highest level.

But when Trey Robinson walked into the locker room for the first time as a member of the New York Giants and passed two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Eli Manning, it gave him some pause.

“I was 12 when he won his first Super Bowl, so that was definitely an adjustment seeing him,” Robinson said. “But it’s just like anything else, going from middle school to high school or then to college — you’re there now and teammates don’t want you being star struck. They know you’re there to help us win and you have to understand that every day.”

Robinson, a former Dorman and Furman star, was one of three players signed by the Giants after a two-day rookie camp in mid-May. The two-time All-Southern Conference Second-Team safety and FCS freshman All-American remained with the team for over a month before returning to Spartanburg.

Prior to the final day of the rookie mini-camp, all the unsigned players were told to be packed and leave their belongings on a bus, all ready for transport to the airport. Robinson was departing the field with mixed feelings of disappointment and accomplishment, thinking he was headed home, when a team assistant informed him he was being signed.

“My head was kind of down, thinking at least it was a good experience,” Robinson recalled. “I’ll go back home and just be ready when I get my next call. It was definitely the biggest job interview of my life. I knew I had a small window to prove what I could do and I left everything out on the table. I could’ve lived with (any result) at the end of the day and it worked out for me.”

Now he’s fully entrenched as a pro football player battling to make the 53-man roster or at least remain with the team’s practice squad. The Giants didn’t draft any defensive backs this spring, but there’s plenty of competition, including Clemson rookie safety Jadar Johnson. Robinson is back in Spartanburg and all business, dedicating every waking moment to being his best when he heads back for training camp later this month.

He acknowledged the slight difference returning as a signed team member after surviving the rookie tryout, but understands every day is still basically an audition, not only to make the squad, but to gain respect of coaches who could recommend him to other teams should the numbers not work out in N.Y.

“I still know it’s still essentially a tryout where I have to come in and prove myself day in and day out. It may not work out in this spot, but proving you can play and that you have the talent and can learn the system and be accountable, coaches will look out for you and help you get another opportunity.”

He finished his Furman career with 264 tackles, including a team-high 104 this past season, and six interceptions. He played safety all four college years after having not played defense since eighth grade. He was strictly a quarterback at Dorman.

Robinson is the fourth Dorman player currently on an NFL roster, joining wide receivers Adam Humphries (Tampa Bay) and Charone Peake (N.Y. Jets) and offensive lineman Brandon Thomas (Detroit). He’s been able to lean on his former teammates for some perspective, especially Humphries, who took the same route in making the Buccaneers as an undrafted rookie. He’s now beginning his third pro season.

“I was definitely able to ask them stuff and pick their brains,” Robinson said. “It was good just knowing I had the support of people like that. That whenever I needed someone to reach out to, there’s someone around this league who has my best interests at heart.”

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