Brinn Robbins has done his fair share of moving around the gridiron.
However, after playing a variety of positions during his first three seasons, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound versatile senior standout finds himself right at home in the middle of Lafayette Central Catholic's success.
"Being a team player is a very important thing to me," explained Robbins, who played wide receiver as a freshman and defensive back as a sophomore before settling in at linebacker last year. "If I do not do my job, I not only feel like I failed myself, but I failed the team as well. The roles I play on the team demand a lot from me physically so that our other players can stay clean and make plays. This has helped instill the team first mentality even more throughout the year."
Since getting a chance to contribute in 2020 with 22 receptions for 326 yards with a touchdown, Robbins has proven to be a difference-maker for the Knights.
In 2021, he racked up 100 tackles, three fumble recoveries, and two interceptions from the secondary, and then followed that up with 93 tackles, including seven for loss, and three interceptions last fall to help his club to a fourth straight sectional crown.
His contributions didn't go unnoticed as he was named the Lafayette Journal and Courier's 2022 Small School Defensive Player of the Year and also earned a spot on the 2023 Indiana Football Digest's small school pre-season all-state team.
"Getting those awards helped reassure me that I was a good player," said Robbins, who has tallied 63 tackles with eight for loss and two interceptions in 2023. "The one thing that became very apparent to me was that I was able to get these awards because I was surrounded by other great players on my team. They helped me and pushed me to be the best version of myself. Without them, I wouldn't have been in position to receive those accolades."
Earlier this year, an injury to running back Mason Meister gave Robbins an opportunity to add another position to his resume.
"The transition for me was not as hard as I thought it was going to be," explained Robbins, who has 27 carries for 104 yards with a touchdown and eight catches for 43 yards and another score, "I played running back at a young age during my little gridiron career and it felt natural to return to the spot this year when Mason Meister went down. Our offensive scheme was a little challenging to relearn from a different position as I stopped running routes and had to learn our blocking schemes."
Giving Robbins added responsibility has never been an issue for Lafayette Central Catholic boss Brian Nay.
"Brinn Robbins is one of the most impactful players I have ever had the privilege to coach," Nay said. "He's been a 'Swiss Army Knife' for us since his freshman year. We have literally plugged Brinn in anywhere we needed a playmaker and he's produced. Brinn has played every skill position for us offensively minus quarterback. He has also played and dominated at every level of our defense. Lastly, Brinn has played on every special team throughout his career and has contributed immensely to them all. Brinn Robbins is the most complete football player I've ever been around and I will bet on Brinn Robbins to be successful at whatever he decides to do every day of the week and twice on Sunday."
Robbins' love of the game began early when he started playing flag football in first grade in Montecillo before transitioning to tackle football in second grade.
"My Uncle Mike (Gursky) has been my biggest influence as he helped me learn and grow to love the game from a young age," Robbins said. "Playing our game with our style has always allowed me to keep a positive attitude. I believe in the faceless and nameless opponent, meaning it doesn't matter who we play, when we play, or where we play.
"The teams I have been a part of are always going to show up and give it our best effort. Being around my teammates and going to battle with my boys has always been able to keep me in a good mood."
He also realizes keeping in good shape and being in the right mind frame are also vital to his good fortune.
"To me the offseason is just as important as during the season," explained Robbins. "The off-season allows you to not only get better on the field, but allows you to take a step back and truly get better at all aspects of the game. My football IQ, weight room numbers, speed, and overall athleticism has been my focus throughout the off-season. Part of my off-season is spent on the baseball field where I am able to work on my hand-eye coordination as well as build better relationships with my teammates that play both sports with me.
"I also always try to be where my feet are and not live in the past plays. Missing a play or having a down game has always fueled me to try and have a good game at my next outing. To me, failure is an opportunity to bounce back in a better way. After a bad play, having all my teammates come up and support me has always helped keep this thought process the same way."
Defensive coordinator Gavin Breyfogle has watched Robbins blossom into a leader on and off the field.
"Brinn Robbins embodies the style of play that we have been trying to make our identity defensively," explained Breyfogle. "A strong work ethic, physical and relentless style of play, as well as the will to win unmatched by many student-athletes. Brinn has played many positions for us on defense and each time takes full ownership of his position. He is a selfless leader that is not afraid to box out pulling guards or tackles to ensure that one of his teammates make the play. 'B-Robb' is one of the few athletes I have seen at the high school level who physically and mentally is always ready to flip a switch and take over a game."
Knowing the football season is nearing the end, Robbins wants to embrace the time he has left with his buddies.
"I feel as the relationships I share on the team have gotten stronger year by year," Robbins said. "My relationship with the coaches started from a place of trust knowing that all of them played at a high level and had my best interest allowed me to perform my best on Friday nights. My relationship with my teammates has allowed us to demand the best out of each other and hold each other accountable on the field, in the classroom, weight room, and in my everyday life.
"The three losses during the regular season (Guerin Catholic, Hamilton Heights, and West Lafayette) were definitely tough, but they helped teach us what we were struggling with on the field and show us what areas we need to work on. At the end of the season, every game is a must-win. We have to perform our best every Friday to be able to play football for one more week and get us closer to our end goal. This being my last season with this team has brought some sad thoughts throughout the year, but I try to focus on the positives and enjoy one last ride with my guys on this squad."
Having been part of back-to-back Class 1A state baseball championship teams, Robbins now has visions of adding another blue-ribbon medal to his collection.
"It would be amazing to bring a football state championship back to Ninth Street (where the school is located)," said Robbins, who had a 3-3 record on the pitching mound and a .264 batting average with two home runs and 15 runs batted in playing center field. "I feel this would help prove to the doubters that we are an experienced team that can go all the way. We have the juice on this team with the players and staff to make a run in the post-season with great focus and effort in every practice and game to climb the mountain that is the state tournament."
The No. 10 Knights' (7-3) quest to make it to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis continues on October 27 when they welcome No. 12 Rochester (7-2) to LaRocca Field for the Class 2A Sectional 34 semifinals.