Austria – Swarco Raiders sign former Clemson/New Yorker Lions DB Darius Robinson

Defending Austrian champions, the Swarco Raiders, have signed a true lockdown cornerback in Darius Robinson from the Clemson University Tigers (NCAA Div. I FBS).

The 5’11”, 185 lb 26 year old from Atlanta, Georgia spent the 2018 season with the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions in the German Football League. Playing on one of the best secondaries in Europe, he recorded 40 passes defended  and had seven interceptions (177 INT return yards) two defensive touchdowns, nine pass breakups and 32 tackles in 16 games (GFL & Big 6). He allowed 1.3 catches per game /15.6 receiving yards allowed per game

A former High School All American, he was a three year starter at Clemson and over his career amassed 70 tackles, four (4) tackles for loss, six (6) interceptions for 40 yards, one (1) returned for touchdown, one (1) quarterback pressure, and seventeen (17) pass breakups. He was named team captain in his senior year and also played in the 2014 Orange Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes which the Tigers won 40-35.

Robinson was signed by the Buffalo Bills but injured his shoulder at training camp and was released prior to the 2014 season. After starting his own business he continued working out, staying in football-ready shape while running his business.

After becoming aware of football in Europe and Germany in September of 2017, he created a profile on Europlayers and received offers from 15 teams, eight from the GFL.

The Swarco Raiders won the Austrian Bowl in 2018, their third title in four years, and completed perhaps their most successful season yet. In addition to winning the Austrian title, the Raiders also captured the CEFL/NEFL championship, a tournament which included the national champions from nine different countries. Swarco also defeated the Central College Dutch from Iowa 31-26.

AFI:  What prompted you to change to the Raiders and Austria?

Robinson: My first year in Germany was a great experience. However, I felt that it was necessary to make a change. Over the off-season I had been in communication with Swarco more than my previous team and I just felt within that moving on was best for me. I did create some life-long relationships in Braunschweig that I plan on carrying with me for the rest of my life! I LOVE MY GUYS.

AFI: How much do you know about football in Austria and about the Swarco Raiders?

Robinson: I did my fair share of research on football in Austria and regarding the Swarco Raiders. I found it interesting that they didn’t play in the Big 6 anymore and after learning more it made perfect sense. The import rules are much more strict, but with that being the case the league really has to put more emphasis on the overall development of their programs from top to bottom. I found that to be very special, it’s not a situation where they can pay for as many imports as they want and put them out on the field. Because of the short list for A-list players that they can have which includes American and European imports, development of their homegrown is most important and I found that being a very strong trait. The fact that I can be one of those A-list guys is a good situation for me. Austria is known to be an explosive league and since I consider myself an explosive player I hope to have lots of fun.

AFI: How did you first find out about football in Europe?

Robinson: A good friend of mines started playing and traveling Europe two years ago. We caught up one day, he explained to me how it was and the process that he took. I found it interesting, wanted to come out of retirement so that’s what I did. It’s been great playing in Europe, I hope that more attention grows to European football because it’s a great experience. Something I believe the U.S can’t offer. Not only do you get football, but you get the different cultures and the experiences where you can view the world from a different angle which I find priceless.

Photo: Anna Schneider

AFI: How was the transition from Clemson to football in the German Football league?

Robinson: Well for me, prior to going to Germany I gathered as much information as possible so I knew exactly what to expect and for the most part it met my expectations. I mean it would have been naive of me to even compare Clemson to football in Germany simply because the amount of money that goes into collegiate sports is so substantial. What I can say is that playing at Clemson obviously gave me tons of knowledge and applying it in Germany was only second nature. I did sometimes have to turn it back in practice a little which I wasn’t used to. Practice at Clemson was like a game. Our coach preaches that the level you practice at is the level you play at. If you get caught on in practice you’re likely to get caught on in the game, so sometimes I had to tune it back because that’s what was asked in order to protect the players of course. I mean at Clemson our two-deep was more than capable to fill in if anyone was to go down. In Germany and I’m sure in Austria you have to be a little bit more careful.

AFI: What do you feel you bring to the Raiders?

Robinson: I feel that I bring several attributes, most importantly my professionalism. I feel as if it’s important to carry myself at the highest level on and off the field. In doing so it allows me to do my job accordingly. My only focus is to be an asset to my teammates, my coaches, & to the community! Like I say often I believe I am currently the best CB in Europe, it’s just what I believe so I don’t think much more needs to be said. I hope to continue what I started in Germany & make an impact with my new family & ultimately win more championships.

I would like to end it on this. I wanted to publicly say thank you to the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions for signing me last season and although I won’t be there I wish them all of the success and of course good health. And to Swarco and Raiders Nation I’m really excited for the start of the season!

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