Boys Varsity Football
Columbus North senior Landon Robbins had memorable weekend over the past few days.
First, the Bull Dogs’ linebacker made a pair of college visits. While on one of those visits, he learned he had been named Class 6A first-team Senior All-State by the Indiana Football Coaches Association. Finally, at the conclusion of the weekend, Robbins decided to continue his academic and athletic career at Valparaiso University.
Robbins committed to Crusaders head coach Landon Fox on Sunday (Dec. 8), then announced his decision to everyone on Monday (Dec. 9) after informing coaches of other schools that had been recruiting him.
“Once I got to Valparaiso, between the engineering program and the football program, something hit me to make me feel like it’s my place,” Robbins said. “It just felt like home. It felt like the place I am supposed to be for the next four or five years.”
The 6-0, 220-pound linebacker was named all-state and all-Conference Indiana after totaling a team-best 116 tackles, including 73 solo tackles. He also amassed nine tackles for loss, three sacks and one QB pressure. For his career, Robbins totaled 135 solo tackles, 15 shy of making the CN career top-five list in that category.
“The coaches told me that they are bringing me in as a linebacker and I will have the option redshirt as a freshman,” Robbins said. “Once school ends here, I will participate in (Valparaiso’s) summer workouts. At that point, they will evaluate my level and decide whether I should play (as a true freshman) or redshirt and play later.”
Robbins also considered Olivet Nazarene University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and the University of Indianapolis. He visited Olivet Nazarene last Thursday and Friday (Dec. 5-6) and followed by visiting Valparaiso on Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 7-8). By the time the weekend was over, he realized he had found his collegiate home.
At Valparaiso, Robbins will be joining a Crusaders’ program that went 1-11 overall and 1-7 in the Pioneer Football League. The Pioneer League is the nation’s only non-scholarship football-only NCAA Football Championship Subdivision conference. Other schools in the league are Butler, Davidson, Dayton, Drake, Jacksonville, Marist, Morehead State, San Diego and Stetson.
“Landon has been a role-model middle linebacker for us,” Bull Dogs coach Tim Bless said. “He has a great football IQ and was the verbal leader of our defense. He was a physical, in-the-box presence for us against the run and athletic enough to play sideline to sideline against passing teams. I think we will have a great career at Valpo.”
As a student, Robbins plans to study mechanical engineering. Robbins earlier had qualified to be an IFCA Academic All-State selection, holding a grade-point average higher than a 3.4 on a 4.0 scale and posting a score of 1110 or better on the SAT or a composite score of 24 or better on the ACT.
As for the IFCA All-State honor, Robbins said he had no idea that he would be recognized in that way.
“I started receiving congratulatory texts from people while I was on the (college) visits, and at first I didn’t know what it was about,” he said. “Then one of them explained that the all-state teams had been released, and it was quite a thrill. It’s such an honor, and it means that all my hard work has paid off.”
Robbins also expressed gratitude to his coaches and teammates for putting him in a position to succeed.
“I can’t thank my teammates, coach Bless and all our coaches enough for all they have done,” Robbins said. “I have had great teammates here, and the coaches, they have helped me throughout the entire recruiting process. More importantly, they have helped me become the person who I am.”
Robbins is the second Columbus North football senior to make a college commitment. Earlier, tight end/H-back Mitchel Collier announced his decision to attend Central Michigan University. Both players are expected to take part in a college-bound student-athlete ceremony at Columbus North, tentatively set for 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 18.
PHOTO: Columbus North senior Landon Robbins (46) takes a breath between plays against Franklin Central during the teams' sectional game on Nov. 1, 2019. Robbins announced his commitment to Valparaiso University on Monday (Dec. 9, 2019).