OXFORD, Ohio – You can go home again.
Seven years after playing his last snap on the Miami University football team, Ryne Robinson returned to Oxford to earn his bachelor’s degree on Friday. Robinson donning the red cap and gown culminates a long journey that saw him become a record-breaking two-sport star, an NFL draft pick and now a college graduate.
“Getting my degree from Miami means everything to me,” Robinson said. “When I arrived in 2003, I set out to walk out of here with a degree. It wouldn’t be the same if I finished my education somewhere else. I felt it was a necessity to get my degree from here. I started out as a Miami man and I’m finishing as a Miami man.”
Robinson spent four years starring for the RedHawks on the grid iron, along with three more patrolling left field for the MU baseball team. As a freshman in 2003, Robinson broke the school record with 654 punt return yards as Miami won a Mid-American Conference title by going 11-1 and finishing the year as the No. 10 team in the nation. His role on offense expanded as his career wore on. As a sophomore, he essentially doubled his freshman total in receptions (64 from 28) and receiving yards (932 from 468). His career kept blossoming individually from there as he posted back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons with his senior campaign of 91 catches, 1,178 yards and eight touchdowns a perfect sendoff to his career. To this day, Robinson still owns school records in career receptions (258), receiving yards (3,697), punt returns (121) and punt return yards (1,677).
A standout on the diamond as well, Robinson logged 157 games for the baseball team and ended his career with a .284 batting average. He set school records with eight triples and 34 stolen bases during the 2005 season, totals that still rank second all-time at Miami. His 65 career steals are the eighth most in program history.
With NFL prospects a reality, Robinson left Oxford 15 credits shy of graduating to prepare for the 2007 draft. The Carolina Panthers valued his versatility, athleticism and production and called his name with their fourth-round pick that April. He played in all 16 games for the Panthers as a rookie, though his career ended a few years later.
Even after all he accomplished, Robinson felt the itch to come full circle at Miami and get his diploma.
“I can close a chapter in my life as far as my education goes,” Robinson said. “I will never forget this place and all that I’ve learned. At this point, I can move on to the next part of my life.
What is it that motivates a man with so much under his belt to go back where it all began? For Robinson, the answer was close to home.
“My family was my biggest motivation to finish up my degree,” Robinson said. “I promised my parents and several other family members that I was going to finish my education when I left to play professional football. Coming back is keeping my promise and showing my kids that if you start something, you have to finish it.”
Indeed, you can go home again. That’s what Ryne Robinson did and it is bringing him one of his most valuable prizes.