Following each season, the BSD staff votes on the 10 best players. A #1 vote is worth 10 points, a #2 vote is nine points, and so on. Today we kick off our Top 10 series with our #7 vote-getter - defensive end Chop Robinson.
In the buildup to the 2022 season, there were questions about who would replace Arnold Ebiketie, who had been the bulk of Penn State’s pass rush in 2022.
There absolutely was an influx of talent that this very blog noted in its Reasons for Optimism. However, that talent was typically viewed as unproven because of youth or injury or acclimating to a new school.
By the end of the Purdue game, Penn State knew what it had in sophomore transfer Chop Robinson. On the game’s final play and the Lions clinging to a 35-31 lead, Purdue quarterback Aiden O’Connell was finally forced to hold the ball in the pocket insteady of simply hitting a quick throw over the middle of the field.
Enter Robinson. His hurry forced an incompletion, helped Penn State start 1-0, and showed the glimpses of greatness that the newcomer would show over the course of the season.
For the year, Robinson played in 12 games and wound up tied for seventh in the Big Ten in sacks (5.5) and tied for 15th in tackles for loss (10).
But those numbers don’t do justice to what Robinson provided. As the year went on and Robinson’s snap count increased, so did his production. By the end of the season, he was a dominant force for a Penn State defense that tallied up sacks and tackles for loss.
Against Maryland, his home state and former team, Robinson had two sacks. Meanwhile, in the Rose Bowl, he came away with another 1.5 sacks.
Robison was tabbed as All-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches and media, while he was named All-Big Ten Second Team by Pro Football Focus. He shared the team award for outstanding defensive lineman with Adisa Isaac.
Most importantly, Robinson figures to be a key component of a talented pass rushing group in 2023. Pro Football Focus named him one of the nation’s top 10 returning edge rushers.
Highest graded Edge Rusher by season since 2014 pic.twitter.com/FIeaXxaAKR— PFF College (@PFF_College) March 14, 2023
With Robinson getting a full spring season to get further acclimated with Manny Diaz’s pressure-heavy defense, quarterbacks facing the Nittany Lions might feel as though they’re on the ... chopping block.