Out of Fog, into Argos camp

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

James Robinson has caught the eye of the Argos.

A receiver who is as raw as they come, Robinson is on the verge of becoming one of those feel-good stories that dot the CFL landscape, a no-name with a limited football background who is nonetheless carving a name for himself as the daily grind of training camp continues.

Whether Robinson catches on permanently is a question that remains unresolved, but for now he hasn't looked out of place.

"He stands out,'' Argos head coach Rich Stubler said yesterday, coach-speak for this kid is good.

The Argos aren't very deep when it comes to import receivers, a position that became thinner in the wake of David Boston's foot injury and the release of Matt Miller.

The operative word in describing Robinson might as well be thin, as in he's thin on experience.

But it's his athleticism, explosiveness and ability to integrate with the team's veterans that have endeared him to just about everyone in the early part of camp.

Robinson was brought to the attention of the Argos by Rickey Foggie, the Fog Dog, who coached and mentored Robinson when the Florida native competed in the Arena League.

Foggie played in the CFL and earned a Grey Cup ring with the Argos in 1991 under head coach Adam Rita, the club's current general manager.

"I didn't really have a lot of people who could give me the proper guidance and structure,'' Robinson, 25, said.

"Coach Foggie took me under his wings and told me he'd lead me in the right direction.

LEARN ALL YOU CAN

"He's a great coach and a great friend. He told me to work hard and learn all you can because no one can take that away from you."

Robinson first joined the Argos last September and spent his time on the club's practice roster getting acquainted with three-down football and its nuances.

He liked what he saw and vowed to make it to this year's camp, his first in pro football.

"He's a great, great athlete,'' enthused Stubler.

In high school, Robinson won a state basketball championship playing alongside Taurean Green.

On the track, Robinson won state titles in the 100 and 200 metres, long jump and 4X400 relay.

He attended little-known Butler County Community College in Kansas, where he played safety, corner and receiver.

"This is my fourth year playing receiver,'' Robinson, whose semi-pro background includes, among others, a stint in the obscure National Indoor Football League, said.

When you watch the 6-foot-3 Robinson run routes in practice, he doesn't look out of place.

The true test will arrive when the Argos break camp and play a real opponent.

Until then, Robinson plans to heed Foggie's advice of working hard and absorbing everything.

On his first day of camp, Robinson befriended veteran Bethel Johnson. The two have become inseparable.

"He has raw physical ability,'' Stubler said of Robinson. "His whole thing is he has to keep doing it until it becomes a habit because football is a game of habits.

"There's a lot of guys who have great skill-sets but no habits. And they're the ones pumping gas for a living.

"I'm hoping he's not one of them because he's a good young receiver."

Perhaps good enough to emerge as the catch of the off-season.


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