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Posted on Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

Junior Hemingway: Michigan QB Denard Robinson 'probably' knows he'll play different position in NFL

By Kyle Meinke

Denard Robinson has held firm on his public stance that he wants to play quarterback, and only quarterback, for the Michigan football team and in the NFL.

But privately, it appears he already is weighing the prospects of switching positions, according to former teammate Junior Hemingway.


Junior Hemingway (right, No. 21) says Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson (center) could end up playing wide receiver in the NFL.

Angela J. Cesere |

Hemingway, himself a receiver, said Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine that he has not talked directly to Robinson about a possible position change, but added he "probably got a feeling he's going to be playing a different position."

"But Denard's is a humble guy," Hemingway continued. "Whatever it is, he’s going to take it in stride, and I ain’t worried about that."

There's no doubt Robinson was the Wolverines' best quarterback last year, when he completed 142-of-258 passes for 2,173 yards and rushed for his second consecutive 1,000-yard season, and there's no reason to believe that will change next year.

But some question whether the decision to keep him at quarterback is his best career move. He's been an effective leader of the offense, but he lacks consistency in the passing game. Accuracy issues continue to plague him, after completing 55 percent of his throws last year and tossing 15 picks, sixth most in the country.

Robinson continues to be an electric runner. He set an NCAA single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback (1,702) in his first year as a starter, and ran for 1,176 more yards last year despite a scheme change that diversified Michigan's rushing attack.

Most analysts believe Robinson projects to play in the NFL, but at another position, probably receiver. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. went as far as to say recently that Robinson, as of right now, would be been a top-two receiver in next year's draft.

Hemingway, who was Robinson's leading receiver last year, agrees with that projection.

"He’ll probably go into the league as a receiver," Hemingway said.

Robinson has never run a route in a game, although he did line up a few times at wideout in Michigan's deuce formation. Backup Devin Gardner played quarterback in those sets.

Hemingway said Robinson has run routes in practice, though.

"He’ll come out, ‘Hey, let me run a go, let me run a go, man,'" Hemingway said. "'I'm like, Denard, learn something else, man. Everyone knows you’re going deep."

Hemingway said he thinks Robinson has good enough hands to be a receiver.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

I don't think the transition to WR will be that difficult for Denard. Antwan Randle- El seemed to transition to WR pretty quickly and I think he played QB all of his time in college.

Ted Bundy

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

Close. His(Randle EL) senior year he had 16 punt returns(1 in his previous 3 seasons) and 4 receptions at WR(only other 2 receptions were during his freshman season).

Matt Patercsak

Sun, Feb 26, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

Denard is a terrible quarterback. Technically, fundamentally, mentally. He is a great athlete, and deserves to go pro for his athleticism, but he was recruited to run, hand off, and throw laterally. That's about all he does.

Beth Kirton

Sun, Feb 26, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

"would be been". Outstanding.


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 11:27 p.m.

I'm not a 6-footer and have stood close to DRob. My guess is that he's "about" six feet tall. Even so, he is a stellar athlete and has the spirit to become a great NFL player. Meanwhile, it'll be interesting to see what being a senior will do for his record at Michigan. With a solid O-line and better running backs: he could fulfill some big dreams for the Wolverines this season.


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 11:09 p.m.

@Scott, I wouldn't assume that Denard can play in the NFL because Tebow and Vick are playing. Vick was a better passer his entire career at VTech and his career in the NFL is still at least admirable. He's been a full -time starter for both teams he's played for and his passing has progressed since his prison stint. Tebow needs very little to round out his skill set, he has all the measurables. He has the height, weight, speed, the passion and leadership of a NFL QB in which any team owner would desire. Also, both Tebow and Vick can throw on the run, something that's surprisingly foreign to Denard despite his great mobility. Denard is way too far away to improve on his passing skills, at this point in his collegiate career to be NFL ready. Just take a look back at any of his deep throws, they're basically "Hail Marys". Denard's best shot in the NFL is as a returner/ wide receiver.


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

Maybe Denard will show great improvement in his throwing next season. There is nothing weak about his arm- so it is possible. If Tebow and Michael Vick can play in the NFL at QB than Denard has a chance. As AZwoverine said- it is his dream. I for one will miss him the day he stops being a QB- thank the football Gods for next year.


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

I met this security guard and he gave me these words of wisdom...... There once was this guy that I know, he'll win da heisman in da big AL show, A receiver, he is not! The HEISMAN is a Lock!! It's official the MEANIE told you so!! MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEANchigan football has risen from the dust! Listen to the MEAN one, a man YOU CAN trust!!!


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

Receiver in the NFL will be a tough position for him, too, because of his height. Isn't he about 6'0 or 6'1"? Unless he becomes like Wes Welker, that is a bit on the small side for receiver. In the meantime, I hope he enjoys his last year of college game as much as his first 3 because he looks like he is having a blast. And he gives Michigan its best chance at success based on the last 2 years.


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

I don't see Robinson playing QB in the NFL, but if that is his dream, he is best served by playing it again next season at UM. He will give up on his dream a year early if he doesn't at least give it a go to see how good he can be with another year under Borges. I personally believe that he's going to be a much better all around QB next year (as has happened with most QB's in year 2 with Borges), which is a scary thought for opposing defenses...including Alabama. Either way, I don't foresee him playing QB in the NFL, but at least this way he's got a shot to keep his dream alive, and who truly knows what will happen after that? I wish him luck and know that UM will surely benefit from him lighting up opponents in his senior season.

Terry Star21

Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 6:55 p.m.

He is for sure multi talented and obviously needs to be bigger, but I would love to see him as a punt and kickoff return specialists. Problem is, he would more than likely be injured time and time again - but surely a special weapon for anyone to have. MgoBlueForTiM......glad DRob stayed and became champion


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 10:20 p.m.

He doesn't seem injury prone at all. He's run the ball 600-700 times in the last two years without a serious injury.


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 6:45 p.m.

While I love D Robs conviction,I agree he is going to be wide out in the NFL. The good news?...he will be a sick one!! Can you see him with ball on a reverse? Or running a slant? He is going to score a lot of TD's