Austrian Robinson Tweets Top 4: Which Team Has Best Shot to Land Big DE Recruit?

Tyler Donohue@@TDsTakeNational Recruiting AnalystJanuary 14, 2015

Credit: 247Sports

Massive New York defensive end Austrian Robinson enjoyed a late rise on the 2015 recruiting trail and is working toward a decision as national signing day approaches. The 6'6", 255-pound prospect shared his top four choices Tuesday evening:

Robinson, a senior at Trinity-Pawling School, picked up several offers during recent months. Penn State extended a scholarship in late November, while Ohio State followed with an offer after the regular season. 

Despite an unofficial visit to Happy Valley and follow-up visits from the Nittany Lions coaching staff, Robinson left Penn State off his list of favorite options. 

Maryland was among the first programs to show significant interest in Robinson, who is rated 34th nationally among strong-side defensive ends in 247Sports' composite rankings. The Terrapins stepped up with an offer in February, eventually securing an official visit in December.

He's identified the team as his leader on multiple occasions, including late-season comments to Jeff Ermann of 247Sports. Maryland has done a nice job addressing its defensive front, highlighted by a flip from former Penn State tackle commit Adam McLean

Underrated Texas pass-rusher Mbi Tanyi provides a presence off the perimeter, but he's more of a developmental player at this point. Robinson would give Maryland a more stalwart physical presence who possesses a level of physicality this class currently lacks. 

Ohio State provided a compelling opportunity during the final stretch of his recruitment. The Buckeyes instantly became a big contender for Robinson's commitment.

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"I was really excited," he told Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com. "I had been talking to (defensive line coach Larry) Johnson for a while, but just to hear him say that I had a scholarship was great."

The freshly crowned national champions are in the market for another defensive lineman. 

Jashon Cornell, a 4-star talent from Minnesota, starred at end in high school but is expected to slide inside during his Buckeyes career. Committed Detroit defensive end Joshua Alabi is a prospect much in the mold of Robinson, standing 6'5" and 295 pounds.

The Buckeyes missed on top defensive line targets Josh Sweat (Florida State) and Neville Gallimore (Oklahoma) in recent weeks and have begun to explore other options with position slots still available in this cycle.

Ohio State is expected to host Robinson on campus Jan. 30, the final weekend of official visits. 

Miami remains in the hunt for 5-star California defensive tackle Rasheem Green, though he's expected to remain on the West Coast in college. The Hurricanes must gain a size upgrade along the defensive line and landed on Robinson's radar in August by extending a scholarship.

Al Golden and his staff are set to host him on campus for an official visit this upcoming weekend. The team enjoyed a strong start to recruiting in January, landing All-American wide receiver Lawrence Cager and local defensive back Robert Knowles.

Miami already has in-state defensive end Scott Patchan on campus as an early enrollee and holds another pair of incoming pledges at the position. Given Robinson's size, he's a candidate to transition into an interior role, where instant added depth is necessary.

Ole Miss will welcome Robinson to campus Jan. 23 between his trips to Miami and Columbus. His lone SEC favorite signed top-ranked junior college defensive tackle D.J. Jones in December but lacks commitments from top-tier high school defensive linemen. 

CeCe Jefferson, rated among the nation's top overall defensive ends, is strongly considering a career in Oxford. The Rebels could apply pressure on Robinson in an effort to land his commitment during the visit by citing a Jan. 30 visit from Kevin Scott, a late-rising California prospect with similar physical traits.

Robinson is expected to keep things open until perhaps signing day, so there's still significant time for coaches to make their final sales pitches. With three of his top four contenders preparing to spend time with him on campus, it's fair to say this race is wide open.

The allure of accepting a late offer from the national champs will weigh heavily on his mind, but Maryland is ultimately the clubhouse leader entering these final weeks.

The Terps have been in the mix since earliest phases of his recruitment, already provided a positive official visit and are an overwhelming favorite to sign Robinson in 247Sports' Crystal Ball, holding 62 percent of expert projections. The challenge for Maryland is to sustain that momentum for three more weeks.

Recruit information and ratings courtesy of 247Sports.