'A Special Moment I'll Never Forget': Eli Drinkwitz Reacts to Darius Robinson Being a First Round Draft Pick

Missouri Tigers head coach Eli Drinkwitz spoke about his reaction to former Tiger defensive end Darius Robinson being selected by the Arizona Cardinals Thursday in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Darius Robinson, a defensive lineman from the University of Missouri greets NFL commissioner Roger
Darius Robinson, a defensive lineman from the University of Missouri greets NFL commissioner Roger / Eric Seals / USA TODAY NETWORK
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The past year has been filled with first's for Eli Drinkwitz's tenure at Missouri.

The most recent came Thursday night when former Missouri edge rusher Darius Robinson was selected in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. Previously linebacker Nick Bolton, who was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs with the No. 58 pick in 2021, was the highest draft pick of the Drinkwitz era.

Drinkwitz was in Detroit along with Robinson's family at the NFL draft to celebrate the incredible moment for the 22 year old.

For Drinkwitz, seeing Robinson accomplish his dream was an unforgettable moment.

"When you coach young men," Drinkwitz said Friday, "you're trying to help them chase a dream and you see the hard stuff, you see the tears, you see the hard work, the heartbreak. For all that to come together at this point, for him to realize his dream, it's such a special thing and its really why I coach football. It's about transforming these young mens lives and encouraging them to accomplish their dreams."

Robinson played for five years at Missouri and was not recruited by Drinkwitz's staff but he was a valuable leader for the Missouri defense. His 2023 campaign included a career high of 8.5 sacks. He was the eigth defensive player selected in the first round.

Nov 5, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Darius Robinson (6) reacts
Nov 5, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Darius Robinson (6) reacts / William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

"For DRob, a guy whose been here for so long, had many opportunities to leave — had many opportunities to transfer, could've went to the draft last year — for him to stay, to invest all the hard work, all the tears to be a first round draft pick, it was a special moment and one I'll never forget as a head coach."


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Joey Van Zummeren

JOEY VAN ZUMMEREN

Joey Van Zummeren is a sports journalist from Belleville, Ill. He's currently a freshman at the University of Missouri studying journalism, and joined MizzouCentral as an intern in 2023. His beats include football and basketball.