In 2010, Nick Robinson was a focal point in Baldwinsville's run-first offense, helping to lead the Bees to a second straight Section III Class AA championship.
On August 31, 2013, as a redshirt sophomore, Robinson made his first career start as a right guard for the Syracuse Orange against Penn State. He joins fellow Central New York product and senior captain Macky MacPherson on the line, who graduated from Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse in 2009.
While he did play in some games for the Orange on special teams last season, Saturday's battle against Wagner will be Robinson's first start in the Carrier Dome, where he will play in front of his hometown crowd.
"A lot of guys say they're going to be coming to the game," he says. "All my friends from back home, my family's coming, I'm excited."
Growing into his 6-5, 297-pound frame, Robinson turned heads when he was just in middle school, and it was in his 7th-8th grade years when he caught Baldwinsville head football coach Carl Sanfilippo's eye.
"We've seen his progress since he was in 7th grade...we marked him in 7th grade," Sanfilippo says. "It's just great to see him grow and to become the man that he's become. He deserves this chance to start for the Orange and I know he's really excited about it."
Robinson says at one point, Sanfilippo told him he had the potential to be a great player, so he made it his dream to play football at a big college or university. Syracuse was in his back yard so he took the opportunity to play in front of his home fans. Since becoming a college athlete, he's served as an inspiration and role model for the young fans as well.
In the midst of his own preseason, Robinson made a stop at the Bees preseason football camp this summer, and spoke to the athletes about staying the course, and working through the tough times both on and off the football field.
"I was a nice experience to go back, " he says. "A lot of the guys think, 'oh this is too hard I can't be doing this.' You just have to go through it, and that's what I was telling them."
Sanfilippo thinks it's not only good for Baldwinsville and the rest of the Section 3 athletes to see Robinson's success at SU, but that it's also good for the program itself to have some local talent.
"In the long run it's great for SU," he says. "You get people to say, 'Hey, I saw the kid in high school and now I'm going to go up and watch him in the Carrier Dome'...and sell a ticket to another seat."
While the Bees play at Henninger this Friday night, Robinson will take the field as a starter in the Carrier Dome on Saturday against Wagner.