Southeast alumnus makes it big in the NFL
Southeast alumnus Jon Robinson is the current general manager of the Tennessee Titans. His college career was spent at Southeast, where he was recruited to play linebacker.
“I was recruited [to Southeast] my senior year [of high school]. I had an offer to go there on scholarship to play football. I had a couple of other offers, as well as an appointment to the Air Force Academy,” Robinson said. “SEMO had offered me a scholarship to come back the next semester. So I out-processed that fall of ’94, and I transferred to SEMO that January. “
The next few years Robinson played for the Redhawks and was eventually a starter. His senior year at Southeast, he served as a student/graduate assistant after suffering injuries prior to the season. He earned his degree in mathematics education in 1998.
After spending some time at Nicholls University as a linebacker coach, Robinson was able to take a position as a scout for the New England Patriots in 2002. He moved to Atlanta and began his rise through the ranks as a regional scout for the team.
His success at that level earned him the promotion to the national scouting director after just four years. Moving to Dallas.
“I basically oversaw the draft preparation. I was still heavily involved in scouting, but I was in charge of a group of college scouts, and had a staff of college scouts and scouting assistants,” Robinson said. “My task was to have everything organized, from the reports to the workouts, on the draft prospects, so that when our season was over, coach [Bill] Belichick could immerse himself in fine-tuning the plan to attack the draft.”
Robinson’s time at this position earned himself two Super Bowl rings—from 2004 and 2005—which are both safely locked away most days.
“They’re trophies, if you will, from a lot of hard work that that team and that organization put into winning those games,” he said. “Those were certainly really good years that I am proud to be a part of. I’m proud to be a part of them and I am proud that Mr. [Robert] Kraft, the owner of the team, and coach [Bill] Belichick let me be a part of that organization.”
His success with New England helped him land his first executive position in 2013, when he became director of player personnel for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During his time, he drafted the Buccaneers starting quarterback Jameis Winston in 2015.
He stayed in the position for just 18 months, ultimately making another move upward when he was hired as the Titans’ general manager in 2016.
Robinson was a Titans fan his whole life, as he grew up in western Tennessee. While at Southeast, the Titans went to the Super Bowl in 2000 and Robinson was absolutely furious with the St. Louis Rams.
“I remember watching them in the Super Bowl, when they played the Rams, in my apartment off campus,” Robinson said. “When they came up a yard short, I think I tried to break every plastic dinnerware I had in my apartment.”
Robinson also said that out of the 32 teams in the National Football League, if he could work for any team, it would be the Titans.
Robinson has experienced more success with the Titans. The team went 5-27 in the two years before his arrival, but have experienced a revival since, going 18-14 over the past two regular seasons and making the playoffs this year.
Robinson said that he is not able to visit Cape Girardeau very often, but if he ever gets the opportunity, he would love to walk around campus, and down memory lane.