Huskies Land Safety from 2-Time Defending Illinois State Champs

Donovan Robinson picked the UW over Missouri, Minnesota and Arizona.
Donovan Robinson is shown on his visit to the UW.
Donovan Robinson is shown on his visit to the UW. / UW

If you're going to play in the Big Ten, Jedd Fisch's University of Washington coaching staff apparently has surmised you need some highly successful Midwest football players to make that happen.

On Sunday night, safety/linebacker Donovan Robinson, who hails from Chicago's wide-reaching northern suburbs in Wilmette and and has been a fixture for two-time defending Illinois 8A state champion Loyola Academy, revealed he has committed to the Huskies, picking them over Missouri, Minnesota and Arizona.

A 3-star recruit, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Robinson previously was pledged to Virginia, but de-committed three weeks ago. He also visited Iowa State.

He is the third player to announce a weekend commitment to the UW, joining edge rusher Victor Sanchez Hernandez from Mukilteo, Washington, and wide receiver Dezmen Roebuck from Marana, Arizona, giving the Huskies 10 2025 commits overall.

A towering presence in the secondary, Robinson was a starting free safety for the 14-0 Ramblers this past season, but could end up as a linebacker for the Huskies.

"Some coaches see me as a linebacker, some as a safety," he told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I really don't care where I play."

Robinson is fast enough that he scored on a 65-yard punt return this past season and a 26-yard interception return as a junior. He finished 2023 with 34 tackles, including 3 tackles for loss, and 4 pass break-ups and a pass theft.

This past season, the Ramblers had just one close game, a 23-21 victory over Mount Carmel, and won the state championship game 25-15 over Lincoln Way East, with Robinson leading his team with 8 tackles in the title matchup. They are 27-1 over the past two seasons. Robinson will serve as a captain this fall as Loyola goes for a third banner.

Returning punts is a welcome sidelight for him with his powerhouse team, with Robinson telling the Sun-Times, "A lot of people don't want to do it, but I love it. Trying to make people miss and score a touchdown is exciting."

Loyola Academy, which has won back-to-back football titles even after a head-coaching change, is located along the Lake Michigan shoreline just 3 miles from the Big Ten's Northwestern University and 20 miles from downtown Chicago.

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Dan Raley


Dan Raley has worked for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, as well as for and Boeing, the latter as a global aerospace writer. His sportswriting career spans four decades and he's covered University of Washington football and basketball during much of that time. In a working capacity, he's been to the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, the MLB playoffs, the Masters, the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship and countless Final Fours and bowl games.