Clemson cornerback Darius Robinson signs with Braunschweig New Yorker Lions

The Braunschweig New Yorker Lions 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 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 last year, he created a profile on Europlayers and received offers from 15 teams, eight from the GFL.

The Braunschweig New Yorker Lions finished the 2017 German Football League season with a 16-1 overall record, the only loss coming in a heart breaker in the German Bowl. The Lions had the number two-ranked defense against the pass.

American Football International asked Darius about his college career and the prospect of playing in Europe.

AFI: How did you end up signing with the New Yorker Lions?

Robinson: Well, the entire process happened so fast in the matter of a month or two. I have a close friend Michael Taylor that now plays for the Hamburg Huskies, he was the leading tackler in the GFL in 2017. He seemed to be having a great experience not only playing football, but just living in Germany. I reached out to him, he told me to check out American Football International and to create a profile on Europlayers. I did such. Soon after creating a profile, I received a number of contract offers. Many of the teams were good, however I had a desire to play for one of the best. Coming from Clemson and winning several championships in college I knew I wanted to continue to win. So, I reached out to Head Coach Troy Tomlin. I was also in correspondence with D-Coordinator Dave Likins. Eventually they told me that they would like me to be a part of the New Yorker Lions and it was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up.

AFI: How much do you know about their history?

Robinson: I understand that their history is very rich in success. Not only the fact that they have won 11 German Bowl Championships and 5 Eurobowl Championships – both most in their respective categories, but they also holster some of the best talent year in and year out. Players want to play there! Their management has put the right coaches in place that has created a culture that I believe most teams in Europe model their program after. The city of Braunschweig seems to be a tight community and in order to succeed as much as they have on a consistent level means that they are doing things right on and off the field.

AFI: Did you realize how much football was played outside of the US and in Europe especially?

Robinson: Honestly, I didn’t really know much about it. I had heard of NFL Europe in the past but thats all I really knew.

AFI: Tell us a little about your career at Clemson.

Robinson: Playing at Clemson was a great experience, the community was great, the coaches knew exactly how to make us better, and my teammates were awesome – I have over a dozen teammates that are currently in the NFL and its great to see everyone doing so great and to know I played alongside those guys. I played 4 years at Clemson. I played as a true freshman – started 3 years at Cornerback and was team co-captain my senior year! I grew up there and glad that I chose to play there. Surely a life changing experience.

AFI: What has happened since then?

Robinson: After my senior year I signed a 3-year contract with the NFL Buffalo Bills and the situation just wasn’t ideal. On that level everyone is good, and it was only one spot available in the defensive backfield. I missed some practices because of a shoulder injury and was released. Went through some stuff with the team and workers compensation being released because of injury and not my play (which is illegal) and seen another side of football – the business side. By that time I had started a marketing business, had some other small business endeavors, and decided to take that route. I continued to train and workout simply because for me it was a lifestyle not knowing that I would be playing for the New Yorker Lions in 2018. It all worked out and I believe its just a part of a great story that I hope will one day impact many.

AFI: What do you bring to the team?

Robinson: I believe I bring a lot to the team. #1 knowledge of the game – excelling throughout my career was not just physical ability but knowledge of the game. Knowing situations, understanding tendencies and indicators throughout the game of play. I believe I bring that element with many more, but that one allows you to play faster and I can’t wait to play with the guys. I believe I also make a impact off of the field with being successful in business – I understand building character and that comes from the things you engage in when no one is looking.

AFI: What are your expectations for this season?

Robinson: My expectations are to have fun first and foremost! This game is fun and anytime you can go to war with your brothers its great! Also, we didn’t complete the final goal of the season which was the German Bowl so this year I believe that will push us to the end of the season! Coach and the staff will have many of the old faces, but also several new faces on the team this year! It will be exciting and we will be ready to play come April 14th in Paris, France.

Check out Darius Robinson’s highlights from Clemson

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Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.