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D’antre Robinson settles on Florida after opting out with Texas

Once the smoke cleared on the speculation that D’antre Robinson was not going to the University of Texas, he emerged as a new member of the Florida Gators on Friday morning.

It was a whirlwind for Robinson, who was to have reported to the school in Austin, Texas, last week. The former Jones High defensive lineman, however, did not arrive on campus.

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He had changed his mind and on Tuesday Texas officials released him from his National Letter of Intent, which he signed Dec. 20, on National Signing Day. After some back-and-forth with different advisers and coaches, Robinson committed to the Gators.

Robinson, the No. 4 player in the Sentinel’s 2024 Central Florida Super60, said there were several reasons for opting out at Texas, one of which had to do with who recruited him — defensive line coach Bo Davis — taking a similar position at LSU. The other reason — Robinson called it the main reason — was being close to home.

“I can’t really say that it was because of Coach Bo,” Robinson said. “It’s just staying home and close to my mom.”

He said his mother, Shanell Robinson, helped him with his decision.

“It’s a lot going on right now. I just want to get started and get the work in at my new school,” Robinson told the Sentinel on Tuesday night. “I feel fine. I feel like everything is fine and God has a plan.

“My mom just said to keep my head up and everything will be fine, and I’m going to get everything situated.”

Robinson will be the first Jones player at UF since walk-on Austin Perry (2017-19). Perry returned a blocked extra point for a score in the ’18 opener against Charleston Southern. He is the son of former Gators fullback Darryl Perry, the main blocking back for Emmitt Smith (1987-89). Perry finished his career at Bryant College. Prior to Perry, the last Jones player at UF was defensive tackle Jaye Howard (2007-11), who was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in ’12. Jones coach Elijah Williams played at UF from 1994-97.

Florida recruited the 6-foot-4, 315-pound Robinson hard during his high school career. He took an official visit to UF last summer.

“It not that tough [of a decision],” Robinson said.

Robinson, an early graduate at Jones, enrolled at Florida this week.

He was, at one point, the top player in the Sentinel’s 2024 Central Florida Super60. During his senior season for 10-4 Jones, he had 79 tackles, 10 sacks, 9 tackles for loss and an interception.

In three seasons at Jones, after transferring his sophomore season from Edgewater, Robinson had 216 tackles, 42 tackles for loss and 21 sacks.

He joins fellow Central Florida star LJ McCray of Daytona Beach Mainland at UF. McCray is the No. 1 player in the Sentinel’s 2024 Central Florida Super60.

Chris Hays covers high school and college football, as well as college football recruiting. He can be reached on X @OS_ChrisHays or on Instagram @OS_ChrisHays. He can be reached via email at chays@orlandosentinel.com.