Former UCF wide receiver Jaylon Robinson entered the transfer portal on April 21st. He has since been one of the most coveted recruits in the nation. With game-breaking speed and a strong college career at UCF to bolster his resume, Robinson caught the attention of multiple programs across the country. He has since taken official visits to Ole Miss, TCU and Tennessee. The electric receiver, nicknamed "Flash," shares the latest on his process.
Robinson started the process off by quickly making his way to Oxford (Miss.) for an official visit to check out Lane Kiffin's program.
"Coach Kiffin is Lane Kiffin, you know," Robinson said of what caught his attention early on with the Ole Miss program. "So he's a goat at what he does as an offensive coordinator; he puts players in a position to make plays, and the designs and stuff he does with moving people around kind of fits my style of play. Like what they did with Elijah Moore, so I wanted to give him the opportunity to recruit me as well."
Speaking of Moore, he was a frequent talking point during the official visit to Oxford.
"They showed me a lot of Elijah Moore clips," Robinson said of how Kiffin and the Ole Miss staff showed him how he would fit in. "They said they didn't have a dude that was like him. I fit his style of play, and that's what they want to use more, like moving around the field. Just using me as a utility, outside, slot, move me to the backfield to run routes out of the backfield, just some things that you would do in high school, some high school stuff."
Out of the three programs mentioned, Ole Miss was the one with whom Robinson did not have any previous relationships, but that did not stop him from making quick connections with the staff in Oxford.
"I didn't, but we built connections quickly," Robinson said of this. "I like Ole Miss's coaching staff. They're very welcoming and very fun. That made me feel like I was at home very, very quick. We built a relationship very, very quickly."
Shortly after his time in Oxford, Robinson made his way to TCU, which is the hometown school for the highly sought-after transfer. Despite a coaching change in Fort Worth, Robinson had a long-standing relationship with Sonny Dyke and his staff.
"I've been recruited by Sonny Dykes's coaching staff before, so I was pretty familiar with them," Robinson said of the TCU staff. "Also, with Coach (Doug) Meacham, I was recruited by him out of high school. I knew Malcolm Kelly as well. They're a familiar coaching staff and going back home; it's back home. You always enjoy going back home, getting to play in front of your family and your friends every week, you know, that's something you look forward to. I think that was something I had an interest in when going into the portal—just being comfortable, just being around my people more. With COVID happening, I had to sit out a year, and my parents and family haven't got to see me play a lot of football."
Getting Robinson on campus offered Dykes' staff an opportunity to showcase how they could use Robinson in their offensive scheme.
"Similar things (to Ole Miss)," Robinson said of what TCU's staff showed him about his fit in their offense. "Different formations to get me inside, outside. They particularly wanted to use me outside but could also pull me inside as planned. Just using me as a utility, things like that. Sonny Dykes is an air raid dude. They run spread a lot, so I had an interest."
This weekend, Robinson used his third official visit of the process to head to Knoxville (Tenn.) and rekindle a relationship with his former head coach and others from his time at UCF.
"There were unanswered questions after Heup left, so I had to get those answered," Robinson said of re-connecting with the Tennessee staff. "But it's always good to rekindle, catch up on things, and just be around the people you started it off with, especially with the explosive season I had with them. It's good to be around those guys again and just catch up. In the beginning, we didn't really talk about football at first; that's something I liked about Tennessee. We got to re-connect and catch up on a few things and got to football aspects later on in the visit."
Heupel's staff held the benefit of having already efficiently used Robinson in their offense, but he saw even more from where the offense is now, as opposed to where it was when they were together at UCF.
"They showed me a lot," Robinson said of if Tennessee showed him anything different from what he knew about their offense from the time spent together at UCF. "At UCF, they ran a similar system, but they have expanded on it. They have evolved and added a lot more to it. I wouldn't say it looked better than what it was or anything, but they have just added more to it over time."
Tennessee recently added Bru McCoy to a receiving corps that features returning 1,000-yard receiver Cedric Tillman and speedster Jalin Hyatt, who had a breakout spring, but a crowded room is not something that will impact how Robinson looks at Tennessee or any other school for that matter.
"To be honest, I feel like anywhere you go, you have to prove yourself," Robinson said of potentially joining a somewhat crowded room at Tennessee. "You have to come in with a work-first attitude. You get the ball based on your relationship with the quarterback and if the quarterback can trust you. That is how it was at UCF. I gained Dillon's (Gabriel) trust, and that is how I was able to do what I did. I feel like wherever I go, I will gain the quarterback's trust and get the ball and prove myself again. I am not really worried about being the No.1 or No.2 guy because I know what I can do and am not afraid to compete."
During the multi-day visit, Robinson did have a chance to spend some time with Hooker.
"We talked and met up a few times and had good conversations," Robinson said about spending time with Hendon Hooker. "About the offense, what needs to be done, and just football talks. Good talks. And we expanded on some other things as well."
With three official visits behind him, Robinson is unsure of what is next. There was thought of an official visit to Georgia, but that will not happen. He could use one more in the coming week, but he very well may go into decision mode.
"I think probably by next week, I'll have a good idea in mind," Robinson said on the potential for a decision timeline. "I just want to sit on it. Obviously, after you have an official, there's a lot of excitement. And I learned that through taking my officials before Tennessee that it's exciting when you go on that visit, and they're throwing everything at you, but you've got to sit down and give everyone else their opportunity and actually think about pros and cons and things like that. I'm trying to take this as seriously as possible; this is hopefully my last six months. Trying to go to the league, so I'm trying to take the time to make the right decision. I'm not in a rush. I'm not trying to let anybody rush me. It's a lot of pressure, but it's a me decision, and I'm trying to make the right decision for me."
So what is it going to come down to for the coveted transfer?
"I've been trying to take this process slower and make the right decision based on my values and what I need," he said. "Number one, my thing going in is, do we have two quarterbacks in case of injury or two quarterbacks who can give me the ball? One as a starter and, if an injury does occur, one as a backup. Two, how do I fit the system? Jet sweeps, return game, am I going to be on kickoff return? Just things like that. Three, how do I benefit from NIL? And NIL is not really a big factor for me — that's why it's last. It's just the new thing in football, but the big money is in the league. I have to grow and sit back and sometimes just learn. You have a lot thrown at you, and you can't let that faze you or get in your mind. You've just got to sit back and think about things."
Whenever the time comes for a decision, Robinson was clear on what a school is getting in him as a player.
"They're going to get a player that's hungry. I got hurt last year, and I've got a lot to prove. It's really nothing I can talk about; it's just something they're going to see. I just promise that the school that I choose, they're going to get the best me and a hard worker, and I'm going to perform at a high level at all times. We're going to win ballgames."