Elijah Robinson knew he would likely encounter some obstacles if he was going to reach the field as a freshman quarterback at Boston College. The hurdles he faced were, namely, sophomore starter Darius Wade and backups Troy Flutie, a sophomore, and Jeff Smith, a dynamic freshman.
Robinson, an athletic 6-foot-2-inch, 185-pound dual-threat quarterback from Montclair, N.J., knew he wouldn’t pose much of a threat this season standing on the sideline wearing a headset and charting plays on a clipboard.
After he arrived on campus in January as a midyear enrollee, Robinson knew a few weeks into preseason camp that his prospects of seeing the field as a quarterback were remote.
So he will help the Eagles this season by making a position switch to wide receiver.
“It was something I was completely on board with,’’ Robinson said. “Throughout the spring and throughout this fall camp, I was contemplating where I could fit best in this offense and where I could help out the most for this team, and wide receiver was a spot I was thinking about.
“I sat down and talked with all the coaches and they were on board with whatever I wanted to do and so I made the decision to make the switch.’’
It proved a fortuitous move, as the receiving ranks were thinned by injuries to freshmen Chris Garrison (hand) and Ben Glines (collarbone), both of whom will be out 6-8 weeks. Freshman Nolan Borgerson, another midyear enrollee, showed great promise during spring drills but never took a single snap in preseason camp because of a nagging leg injury.
“We moved Elijah out of it and put him into the wide receiver position, the ‘X’ position, and he’s looked fantastic,’’ said coach Steve Addazio, who also converted freshman defensive back Michael Walker to receiver.
“We’re very, very excited about [Robinson]. We were very, very excited, too, about Ben Glines and Chris Garrison. Those two guys would’ve played for us in Game 1 and we’re going to be missing those guys.’’
Robinson might be capable of filling the void. He stretched the field and got behind the secondary in the team’s final scrimmage of preseason camp last Saturday. He caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Flutie during a red zone drill and made a diving 44-yard catch of Smith’s deep throw down the sideline.
Addazio was so impressed that he was left to draw one conclusion.
“Obviously, Elijah Robinson, you’re going to see on the field,’’ he said at his Monday press luncheon.
“It’s a big pickup for the wide receiver group, and for the team as a whole,’’ said sophomore wide receiver Sherm Alston, another dynamic playmaker who roomed during preseason camp with Robinson and junior running back Myles Willis.
“He’s a great athlete, and it was just good to see him out there making plays for us.’’
It’s been that way for Robinson since high school, which was the last time he played at wide receiver before switching to quarterback, recording a 23-1 record and amassing 6,341 all-purpose yards and 84 touchdowns in two seasons. He helped Montclair High to three state titles and went 35-1 as a varsity player.
“I played receiver my sophomore year, but that year I never played on the offense, I just played on defense,’’ Robinson said. “I was only in there [at receiver] for trick plays.
“I was third-string quarterback my sophomore year and I came in, first game of the season, first play of the game, and threw a touchdown pass — at receiver.’’
Robinson was asked what contingencies were in place if his wide receiver gig didn’t pan out.
“They said if it didn’t work out I could go back [to quarterback],’’ he said. “But I think it’s working out.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.