West Monroe (La.) High five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson went to The Opening, held last week at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., with just one goal in mind.
Five-star OT Cameron Robinson is now the top-ranked high school football prospect in the country according to 247Sports.
“I was fixing to leave as the number one player,” Robinson stated. “My mindset is every time I’m on the field, I’m the best player and I want to perform like the best player.”
247Sports updated its class-of-2014 national rankings on Wednesday and the 6-foot-5, 330-pound Robinson tops the list. He has been listed as the country’s top offensive lineman since the initial rankings came out 14 months ago. He was previously the No. 5 prospect overall.
“There’s a lot of great players in this class and for people to consider me the best player, it’s an honor,” Robinson said. Alabama and LSU make up the blue-chipper’s top two.
“I’m thankful for it. I’m not necessarily surprised by it because those are the type of standards that I hold myself to.”
Robinson was dominant at The Opening, an invite-only all-star camp that featured the majority of the nation’s top prospects. Prior to the event, Robinson hadn’t participated in many non-college camps, so The Opening gave him a platform to make his case for the top spot.
“I had been hearing some rumors of people saying I might be number one, but obviously nothing is ever final. For me personally being a competitor, that was the main reason I went to The Opening. I’ve felt like I’m one of the best players at my position and one of the best players in the nation. That’s just me being a competitor.”
On the recruiting front, Robinson says he’ll visit LSU next week, his last trip of the summer before shutting things down and focusing on his senior season.
Alabama and LSU are battling for Robinson's services. He'll be back on the Tigers campus next week.
“I’ve been there so many times,” Robinson said. “There is nothing they have to prove to me. I’m just treating it as an unofficial visit. I’m just looking forward to getting down there and hanging out with the coaches. They don’t have anything to prove to me and there is nothing there I haven’t seen.”
Robinson last visited Alabama on June 2, and he made it to both of his top schools several times going back to the winter and spring. He said he “likely” wouldn’t make a college decision until after his senior season.
“If I had to pick one, I wouldn’t know where to go,” Robinson said. “I’m not sure on officials.
“Right now, my goal is to work hard with my teammates. I’m not looking ahead to college or anything like that. I’m working hard and trying to help us win a state championship. That’s my main goal right now. As far as personal goals, they’re to always work out, because you can never be too good. I just want to work all the time, even if it’s improving one little thing. That’s my goal, just to work hard and never forget what got you to where you’re at.”
Former West Monroe head coach and current athletic director, Don Shows, is considered a legend in Louisiana high school football circles and says Robinson is his program’s first number one prospect.
“I’m tickled to death for him,” Shows stated. “I feel like he’s going to have a heck of a year, I really do. He’s doing everything we ask him to do. He’s filling out and getting stronger. I’m excited for him.”
The West Monroe program has produced several NFL and college stars over the years and head coach Jerry Arledge says Robinson has the potential to be the best player the Rebels have produced.
“He’s a tremendous athlete and passes anybody’s eye test at any level, from the NFL down," Arledge began. "He has great, great feet. Of course, he came to us last year as a junior and since that time, he’s almost totally changed his body type. He has really worked hard in the weight room. We have an outstanding offensive line coach, Glen Hunt, who is our offensive coordinator and coaches the line. Glen is very knowledgeable and played a year of pro ball, so that certainly helps."
“There’s no doubt in our mind that he’ll be as good a player that has come out of West Monroe High School and we’ve had some great players throughout the years. Most recently, we’ve had Andrew Whitworth with the Bengals, Bradie James, and of course Barkevious Mingo who was picked number six in the first round this year. All those kids are almost freaks at the high school level.”
The elite left tackle’s work ethic and aggressiveness on the field are two additional traits that Arledge feels make Robinson special on top of his noted size and athletic ability.
“All of them have their strengths and weaknesses, but Cam could certainly be as good any player who has come through West Monroe and he has a bright, bright future ahead of him. I know he’ll be an outstanding player in college and he’ll continue to work hard. He has a great work ethic. Cam is a really good kid and is polite and soft spoken. Like most great athletes, when he steps on the field, the demeanor changes. You can be a great guy off the field, but on the field you want to be as aggressive as you can be.”
“After getting a look at Cameron Robinson and what he can do athletically and the upside he brings to the table, we decided he was the No. 1 prospect in the country and assigned franchise ratings (101) to both he and running back Leonard Fournette,” 247Sports National Recruiting Director JC Shurburtt said. “You can make a strong case for Fournette being No. 1, but we use position value based on NFL Draft data to guide us. Adrian Peterson did not go No. 1 overall. Trent Richardson did not go No. 1 overall. So according to our criteria, with it being so close, we went with Robinson, who has elite upside and ability and showed that at The Opening.
“A lot of people think we project to the NFL. That’s not entirely accurate. We aren’t trying to tell you who is going to play in the Pro Bowl seven or eight years from now. What we do is apply standards of position value and hard data (size, speed, etc.) to guide our projections. When you are ranking football prospects, they all are good players. They come from different states, play against different levels of competition and ultimately we are making an apples to oranges comparison by trying to assign more value to say a quarterback over a running back or a defensive end over a center. There has to be some sort of differentiator and the NFL draft gives us statistical trends to look back on to guide us. These are guidelines used to determine order and range first and foremost, but it also allows us, because these are “prospect” and not “player” rankings, to rank a prospect we think will be great higher, even if he’s not quite there yet.”
It’s been 18 months since there’s been a change at the top of 247Sports’ prospect rankings after the initial release. You would have to go back to the final Top247 in the 2012 cycle to find when current Florida State defensive lineman Mario Edwards grabbed the number one spot after being held by Oregon’s Arik Armstead most of the process. In 2013, Ole Miss signee Robert Nkemdiche held the No. 1 spot from start to finish.
BamaOnLine insider Charles Power and 247Sports National Writer Steve Wiltfong contributed to this story.