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Thursday October 17, 2013 ESPN.com grades Gators assistant Robinson No. 1 recruiter in country in latest rankings

Updated: 1:51pm, June 6

Travaris Robinson

Florida assistant Travaris Robinson has earned respect as one of nation's top recruiters.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gators assistant coach Travaris Robinson will be in charge of the secondary on Saturday at Missouri with first place in the SEC East on the line.

The Florida secondary is arguably the nation’s most talented and deepest. Much of that credit goes to Robinson, who recruited players such as defensive backs Marcus Roberson, Vernon Hargreaves III and Jabari Gorman since joining Will Muschamp’s inaugural staff in 2011.

Robinson’s talent as a recruiter is not going unnoticed. In ESPN.com’s 2014 recruiter power rankings, Robinson is not only ranked the No. 1 recruiter in the SEC, but No. 1 in the country according to a panel of ESPN recruiting analysts.

Robinson’s impact on the Gators over the last three years has been substantial -- as a recruiter and talent evaluator, which goes hand-in-hand in Muschamp’s recruiting philosophy devoid of an emphasis on the star system created by recruiting sites.

As a former defensive back at Auburn and in the NFL, Robinson works closely with Muschamp in evaluating prospects, deciding which players to recruit and then once they get to UF, coaching and developing those players. Robinson is also UF’s primary recruiter in talent-rich South Florida, where he grew up.

“Being from Miami, I know a lot of people down there,’’ Robinson said recently. “I’m fortunate enough that when I go down there recruiting, some of the high school coaches, either they coached me or played against me, and they remember me from that.

“At the end of the day, we want people who want to be at Florida. There are a lot of guys down there that have the ability to do it, but they grew up [Miami] fans, so you don’t get a chance to recruit those guys. Then you’ve got guys who grew up Florida State fans, and then you have guys who grew up Gator fans. It’s just going out there and working for that.”

The 32-year-old Robinson, the youngest member of Muschamp’s coaching staff, entered coaching as a graduate assistant at Auburn when Muschamp was there as defensive coordinator. The two quickly hit it off and Muschamp brought Robinson to Florida.

“He's a really, really good football coach,” Muschamp said. “He does a great job with our secondary as far as teaching and coaching the way we want it to be done at Florida. He understands what we want done and how we want it done. It’s not about putting the next guy in. It’s about putting the next best player in.”

As a recruiter, Robinson’s energy and ability to relate to young players has made an impression.

“He helped me grow as a person before he taught me anything on the field,” Roberson told The Gainesville Sun last month. “He's more like a father figure than anything. He told me I had an opportunity to play and everything turned out that way. He's straightforward. He tells you exactly what it is instead of beating around the bush.”

Gators defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin is considered a strong recruiter, too. Durkin landed offensive lineman D.J. Humphries and defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard from his ties in North Carolina.

Still, Durkin can appreciate the unique ability of Robinson on the recruiting trail.

“He's an unbelievable recruiter, as you all can see. The guy works relentlessly at it,’’ Durkin said. “I've been around a lot of good coaches, luckily, in my career, and I don't know one better than him at what he does. There's no doubt he’s a star.”

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