Meet Janarius Robinson, Accomplished Musician and 2016's No. 1 WDE

Damon Sayles@@DamonSaylesNational Recruiting AnalystMay 13, 2015

The nation's top-ranked weak-side defensive end, Janarius Robinson is equally talented with musical instruments as he is on the football field.
The nation's top-ranked weak-side defensive end, Janarius Robinson is equally talented with musical instruments as he is on the football field.Damon Sayles/Bleacher Report

Football has been very good to Panama City, Florida, defensive end Janarius Robinson. He's the nation's top-ranked weak-side defensive end, a top-35 player nationally, a Florida State commit and a player with more than 20 offers to choose from.

For someone who turned 17 last week, Robinson's already working with a pretty solid resume. And that doesn't include his musical talents.

As a 4-star athlete, Robinson is expected to dominate on the football field. He's a Florida State commit who has kept the door of his recruiting process ajar by taking unofficial visits during the spring. He's also planning to take several more visits in the upcoming weeks.

What may be more intriguing is that the 6'5.5", 250-pound, Bay High School football star loves to show off the talents many don't know he possesses. When he isn't honing his football skills to prepare for college, he's perfecting his craft as an all-around drummer and keyboardist.

And truth be told, he's pretty good with musical instruments. Good enough to open for a major gospel artist.

Those who follow gospel music know Tamela Mann and her powerful voice in the industry. Last summer, Robinson played drums for the group Jay Wade & 1AChord to open Mann's concert at the Marina Civic Center in Panama City.

"I remember finding out two days before we were supposed to do it," Robinson said. "I found out at rehearsal. It was crazy. To open up for a big person in gospel industry like that, it's mind-blowing. I was pretty nervous first off, but after I got into it, I was fine."

Robinson said Mann's promotion contacts were in touch of the manager of his group, and the group was chosen as an opening act. With that, one of Robinson's dreams became reality: He was performing in front of thousands of fans.

Expect the feeling he had to become commonplace the minute he steps out the tunnel of Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturdays. And expect him to turn nervousness into production, much like he did at the concert.

Janarius Robinson and his group opened for Tamela Mann, an award-winning gospel artist, last summer.
Janarius Robinson and his group opened for Tamela Mann, an award-winning gospel artist, last summer.Chris Pizzello/Associated Press

Music's in His Bones

Before he was an intimidating football player, he was a toddler with an unmistakable interest in musical instruments. Robinson's mother, Cherine Duncan, said when he was two, he would sit in church on the drummer's lap and play the drums every Sunday.

"That's how he got his beginning," Duncan said. "We would notice he'd go to the drums every Sunday. When he was three, we bought him a pee-wee drum set. He still has that drum set today."

Robinson began playing for the church around eight years old. He admits to playing the drums by ear. As he got older, however, he began learning to play the keyboard and organ. He also is a vocalist.

Getting the chance to open the Mann show, at 16, is something Robinson will never forget. He said he briefly met Mann backstage and hopes to get a second shot to open for a major group soon.

"She's pretty amazing in the gospel industry as far as her music goes," he said. "I don't really know her as a person, but she's a nice lady."

Duncan added: "I was nervous for him, but he did an excellent job. When the favor of God is on your life, he'll allow things to come for a reason. He had the opportunity to play for her, and she sang 'Take Me To The King.' It was awesome to see that."

Damon Sayles @DamonSayles

#FSU DL commit Janarius Robinson (@janariusD1) showing some #Noles love https://t.co/74t3Y1vOam

FSU: 'I Got a Certain Feel'

Learning music seemed to come natural for Robinsonโ€”as did playing football.

Robinson picked up his first offer in March 2014 from Tennessee. By the end of May 2014, he had double-digit offers.

Among the schools to offer: Florida State, which offered during an unofficial visit that April.

"When I first visited there, I got a certain feel," Robinson said of Florida State. "They just made me feel that's where I needed to be. I loved everything about it. The coaching staff, the campus, the players, everything was great."

Robinson made several trips to Tallahassee, Florida, that summer, and in September 2014, he gave coach Jimbo Fisher, defensive coordinator Charles Kelly and then-defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri his verbal commitment. He chose the Seminoles over offers from Tennessee, Clemson, South Carolina, Michigan and a few other programs.

J.Robinson @JanariusD1

From practice today ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿˆ๐Ÿ”ฅ @TomahawkNation @Noles247 @SportsRecruits @ToddHuberSS @Safid_Deen @FlaStateGameday @CNee247 http://t.co/ZEothNmQEK

Since his commitment, Robinson has put on 25 pounds and has emerged into one of the elite athletes of the 2016 class. He bench presses 350 pounds and power cleans 330. He also has run the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds.

Additionally, he's a U.S. Army All-American.

"Heโ€™s a beast out there," Duncan said. "He's a team player, and he's a beast. I'm so proud of him."

Janarius Robinson (left) with outside linebacker commit Josh Brown. The two committed to Florida State together.
Janarius Robinson (left) with outside linebacker commit Josh Brown. The two committed to Florida State together.Credit: 247Sports

Unofficial Visits Galore

Robinson consistently reiterates the fact that he's still committed to Florida State, but he enjoys taking unofficial visits to other campuses. He said he wants "to leave no table unturned" when it comes to his process, particularly with him committing as a sophomore.

For him, the experience of seeing something different is valuable. In April, Robinson made two trips to Alabama and individual trips to Florida and Tennessee, in addition to Florida State.

"I went (to Alabama) the first time for their scrimmage. The second time, I wanted to come back and see how the game environment was," Robinson said. "It was pretty awesome.

"With Tennessee, I like the vibe around the city. I like the fans and the coaches there. Florida has great coaches there, too. I really like Coach Mac [Jim McElwain]. He's a cool dude. I think I have a good connection with him."

Robinson has a busy schedule planned in the next couple of weeks. He wants to visit Auburn on May 30, Alabama again on May 31, Louisville on June 12 and Notre Dame on June 19. Robinson added that he wants to visit South Carolina and Clemson before the end of the summer.

Robinson is Florida State's to lose, but he said he is looking for the best fit. He is strong and elusive enough to play defensive line, yet quick and versatile enough to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 formation.

Education is important to Robinson, as well. He's uncertain about a major but said he wouldn't mind learning more about the inner workings of music production and sound technology.

"The main thing, I want him to enjoy football, enjoy life and stay focused," Duncan said. "I just want him to keep God first and keep his academics up. He's my only child, and I pray for him every day. I want him to look back one day and see all the hard work he's put in paying off."

Robinson, like most other elite football athletes, has aspirations to play in the NFL one day. If that doesn't happen, a career as a world-traveling musician wouldn't be a stretch.

Either way, he just wants to excel.

"I'm having a lot of fun with everything right now," he said. "Whatever I do, wherever I go, I'm making sure I'm doing what's best for me."

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles


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