Robinson would have been a senior this fall, while Jones would have been a fifth-year player. In fact, some were even surprised that Jones was invited back for a fifth season in the first place.
Sure, he is on scholarship, but he has contributed very little over the last few years, and an invitation for a fifth year is usually something that has to be earned. Regardless, he wound up getting one—perhaps it was because of his play on special teams.
Robinson, on the other hand, wasn't expected to start this fall, but he was expected to at least contribute at safety. Michigan is still very thin at the position, so Robinson would have likely provided nice depth and veteran leadership.
In fact, he likely would have been the first safety in off the bench behind projected starters Thomas Gordon and Jarrod Wilson. That leaves a big hole in that spot now, as whoever fills it will have basically no game experience.
Redshirt freshman Jeremy Clark looks like the most likely to fill the void that Robinson left, but he has never played a snap in college.
Robinson's departure is even more of a shame when considering the hype that surrounded him out of high school. One of the very few solid prospects that Michigan brought in its 2010 class, Robinson was considered a huge get for Rich Rodriguez at the time.
The native of Eagle Lake, Florida was expected to basically be a star on Rodriguez's maligned defenses and a savior to the secondary. Unfortunately, it never played out that way.
Things did look bright for him under Hoke at the beginning of the 2011 season, as he was seeing lots of action, but injuries and off-the-field issues derailed that promising start.
He missed the rest of the season, didn't even travel with the team and never recovered from there. Still, there was always hope for him, evidenced by the fact of his expected contributions here in 2013.
Robinson's legacy at Michigan will likely be surrounded with a lot of "what if's?" The kid was filled with potential, but he just couldn't really put it all together, leaving behind a disappointing legacy.
Jones' story is a much shorter one, as he seldom contributed defensively here at Michigan. He was a regular on the special teams unit, though, often making his presence known with a big hit or two over the years.
Still, he was buried on the depth chart at linebacker and wasn't expected to even sniff the field this year. As mentioned above, some were surprised he was even invited back for a fifth season.
A positive to Jones' story, though, is that he has already graduated and should be eligible to play wherever he chooses to go next season.
This is probably the main reason why these two young men left the program: playing time. Honestly, you can't blame either one of them for it either.
Some naysayers are speculating that the school should be worried about the high number of players leaving the team in recent weeks, as if Hoke is doing something wrong, but that is downright absurd.
All of these departing kids have had nothing but good things to say about the school after they left, so there is obviously nothing strange going on. It's just folks out there trying to stir up some controversy.
It's too bad these two young men chose not to finish their senior seasons here at Michigan, but this was their decision and the fans should fully support them. We wish both Robinson and Jones nothing but the best at whichever school they wind up!