Very few players in college football garner as much attention as quarterback Denard "Shoelace" Robinson.
As college football has progressed from a pro-style offense to the spread, many teams need a different type of quarterback to take full advantage of what the spread can bring to the table.
For those that don't know, most spread offenses require a mobile quarterback who's capable of not only throwing the football effectively, but also gaining significant yards on the ground as well.
By the time Rich Rodriguez was starting his second season as head coach of the Michigan Wolverines, he had two true freshmen to choose from to start at quarterback: Tate Forcier and of course, Denard Robinson.
While Forcier had some incredible moments as a true freshman (see his performance against Notre Dame), his problems in the classroom and apparent inability to get along with Rich Rodriguez forced Forcier to transfer from the school after his sophomore year.
So now that Forcier was transferring to San Jose St., "Shoelace" began his sophomore season as the unequivocal starting quarterback for the maize and blue.
And did Denard Robinson ever shine so brightly.
In 2010, Robinson threw for 2,570 yards in the air with a completion percentage of 62.5. He ran for an amazing 1,702 yards on the ground for a combined total of 4,272 yards altogether.
But Rich Rodriguez was fired after the 2010 season not because of the lack of offense; that is assured.
Both Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator, Al Borges, made sure that he would suit his offense to fit the new players he inherited.
"First and foremost, you want to make sure you're utilizing your personnel in the best way," Hoke said on WTKA. "You don't want to put a square peg in a round hole. Sometimes coaches make the mistake that 'I'm going to do what I need to do no matter what.' Sometimes you've got to step back from that. This is never going to be about the coaches; it's going to be about the guys who are playing. Who gives your program and your team the best opportunity to be successful."
The results for Denard Robinson in 2011 were mixed at best. While he did throw 20 touchdowns as opposed to 18 in 2010, many of his statistics dropped from his banner 2010 season.
He threw for 400 less yards in the air, over 500 less yards rushing, had more interceptions and his completion percentage plummeted from 62.5 to 55.0.
Many fans and coaches would critique that "Shoelace" needs to set his feet before throwing and not throw so many balls into double and triple coverage. Others would indicate this was his first season under the pro-style offense, so there's naturally a learning curve.
But few individuals would argue that most of the plays Michigan ran were from the spread last season, while some plays here and there were under center.
But there's time for Robinson to prove in his senior season that he can be a quarterback (rather than a wide receiver) at the next level. Many fans, including myself, can believe his dream will turn into a reality for the 2012 season.
Michael Vick, Denard Robinson's hero, played two seasons with Virginia Tech. Like "Shoelace," Vick also regressed from his first and second season as a starter. He also threw for 400 less yards, less passing touchdowns, more interceptions, but was able to rush the ball slightly more.
But despite Vick's regression, Mel Kiper Jr. and other NFL analysts weren't calling for him to be at any other position besides quarterback. Why should it be any different for Robinson?
Frame wise, Robinson and Vick are similar in size as they're both 6'0", but while Shoelace weighs approximately 195 pounds, Vick is 20 pounds heavier at 215 pounds. Unlike Vick, Shoelace will have one more season to add to his already impressive statistics at the college level.
Year two in Al Borges offense will be much more productive not only for Denard Robinson, but also the running backs, wide receivers and offensive line.
With all cylinders firing in sync, the excuses will be over and results will be expected on the football field.
And when the 2012 football season is over, we're all going to watch as one team from the NFL calls Denard "Shoelace" Robinson its next quarterback. The time for him to shine is now.