By Matthew Asher
Dunta Robinson, CB #23
Weight: 182 lbs.
College: South Carolina
Experience: 9 years
The road from high school to college to the pros is always an interesting one. Sometimes you end up in the last place you'd expect while other times you end up just a few miles from where you grew up. For Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson, his journey is the latter, growing up in nearby Athens, Georgia.
While he currently plays in the Georgia Dome, Robinson's football career began less than 70 miles away at Clarke Central High School where he was a three-sport letterman in football, basketball and track. As a track star Dunta competed in both the long jump and was the anchor of his 4x100 relay team.
While Dunta played both offense and defense for the Gladiators football team, it was apparent he was destined to be a great defender. As a senior he recorded four interceptions and had eight pass deflections. He left Clarke Central as the school's all-time leader in interceptions with a total of 17. In case you were wondering about his offensive skills in football, he scored six touchdowns and also returned both a punt and kickoff for touchdowns his senior year.
Like fellow defender John Abraham, Dunta attended the University of South Carolina. While he originally was a free safety for the Gamecocks, Dunta became the starting left cornerback in his junior year.
While Dunta didn't have a particularly storied tenure in college, it was certainly a good one. Starting in 24 of his 42 games played as a Gamecock, Dunta racked up 114 tackles, five interceptions and 22 deflected passes. As a senior his hard work was recognized as the team named him their Defensive MVP of the team.
For his effort in college, the Houston Texans selected Robinson with the 10th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. His impact was immediate. Starting all 16 games for the Texans as a rookie, Dunta picked up 87 tackles and six interceptions.
Dunta played all 16 games for the Texans his first three years. In 2007 Robinson was limited to playing in just nine games before suffering a right knee injury against Oakland on November 4th. His numbers were still very respectable as he finished the season with the second most interceptions.
In 2008 Duanta became the Texans franchise leader in career interceptions with 13, surpassing Aaron Glenn. The following year Dunta became the first Texan to be given the franchise tag, something he didn't like. Dunta sat out the entire training camp that year before agreeing to a one-year, $9.957 million deal. He still wasn't happy and showcased his displeasure the first week of the season. Against the Jets, Dunta had a pair of cleats that had "PAY ME RICK," directed at Texans' GM Rick Smith, written across. He was fined $25,000 by the NFL for wearing the shoes.
Finally in 2010 Robinson became an unrestricted free agent. Knowing his potential as a shutdown corner, Atlanta signed Dunta to s six-year $54 million deal, with $22.5 million in guaranteed money. So far Dunta has showed the Falcons knew what they were doing.
In his two plus years as a Falcon, Dunta has played all but one game. Through Week 10 of the 2012 season, Dunta has recorded 150 tackles as a Falcon to go along with four interceptions. So far in the 2012 campaign, Dunta's 46 tackles are the most of a secondary player and the fourth most on the team. He's currently on pace to record 82 tackles in the season, which would be just one tackle behind his personal best which he set in 2006.
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Matthew Asher is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta sports related. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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