It was a college football career that saw him compete on the same field as the likes of Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel.
But it’s a football career that’s officially over for one of the most successful Warren County High School athletes in recent memory as Cody Robinson has announced his retirement.
Robinson, a fifth-year senior, remains on scholarship for the Duke Blue Devils, but injuries have limited him to one game and 10 snaps this season. With his health not improving, Robinson says it’s time to walk away from the game.
“It’s pretty unfortunate having to end this way,” said Robinson during a phone interview last week. “But this is something I’ve been dealing with since May of 2013. The problem is my back. We managed it well, but it was getting to the point where I was doing more and more damage every time I went out and it was causing issues with my leg. I had no choice but to call it quits or risk more damage.”
Robinson earned a full athletic scholarship to Duke after a prestigious high school career at Warren County. The 6-foot-4, 300-pounder did not disappoint at Duke, grabbing the attention of coaches his first year. Even though he didn’t see game action as a freshman, Robinson earned the Iron Duke Award for his year-round commitment to the program.
He played in six games in 2012, played in every game in 2013, and was a key member of the Duke offensive line last year when he played in every game and earned one start.
Last year’s Duke offensive line was one of the best in college football as it ranked No. 1 in the nation in fewest tackles allowed for a loss and was first in the ACC in sacks allowed per game. Robinson was on the field for 376 snaps. It was a line that featured a first-round NFL draft pick in guard Laken Tomlinson.
“One of the things that will stick with me is I was able to compete at the college level against some of the best players, against some first-round draft picks,” said Robinson. “Probably the most rewarding thing is that I helped turn the program around. We won nine games last year and 10 games the year before that. We have a chance to be the winningest class in Duke football history. It’s been a great run.”
Robinson will leave Duke in the weight room record book as he owns school records for power clean lift (352 pounds) and bench press (480 pounds) by an offensive lineman.
As for his future, Robinson has already graduated from Duke with a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in education. He is currently working on a master’s degree in Christian studies.
He said he’s interested in going into coaching and has even gotten some pointers from one of the greatest of all time, none other than Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“I sat down with Coach K and got to pick his brain about coaching and leadership,” said Robinson. “It’s amazing what he has been able to accomplish. He’s won over 1,000 games in his career. That’s unbelievable.”
Robinson said the Duke campus was electric last year as the Blue Devils and Coach K marched to a national title.
“It seemed like everybody on campus, wherever you went, was really happy,” said Robinson.
Duke football is in the midst of a 6-5 season after a 42-34 loss to Virginia last Saturday in Charlottesville, the team’s fourth straight loss. The Blue Devils end their regular season this Saturday with a game against Wake Forest in Winston Salem, N.C.