Tiger quarterback up for award

<p> SOUTH BURLINGTON &mdash; Middlebury Union High School senior Austin Robinson is one of three finalists for the PRIDE Award given annually by South Burlington&rsquo;s Dolphins Foundation to a top Vermont football player.</p><p> Foundation founder Rene LaBerge said in a press release that the term PRIDE stands for Personal Responsibility for Individual Daily Effort, and is the motto of the Dolphins&rsquo; youth program. It is meant to send the message to young people in football programs that if each player gives his best effort at each practice and each game he has succeeded as a person and player, regardless of the wins and losses.</p><p> The selection process began with coaches from the three divisions nominating a player from their own team. Nominees are voted on by all Vermont high school coaches, who cannot vote for their own nominee; a premier player is chosen and announced from Divisions I, II and III.</p><p> The PRIDE winner will be announced at the National Football Foundation Vermont Chapter&rsquo;s annual award ceremony in April at Castleton State College. The three finalists will each be recognized and receive marble plaques.&nbsp;</p><p> In nominating Robinson, MUHS Coach Dennis Smith called him a &ldquo;Dynamic two-way football player who plays the most demanding position in Vermont football, a true option quarterback. The position requires athleticism to stay at its highest level while still processing and making split second decisions.&rdquo;</p><p> Smith called Robinson &ldquo;an incredibly physical and fast quarterback who has the ability to run over defenders as well as outrun almost anyone in open space,&rdquo; and said, &ldquo;We are incredibly lucky as coaches at Middlebury to not have to come up with a game plan to defend him. His impressive arm makes him the complete package on offense. On defense he is one the hardest hitting safeties in the state, who has great recovering ability and superb man-to-man skills.&rdquo;</p><p> Robinson has already been named Vermont&rsquo;s Gatorade football player of the year. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p> The coaches chose Rice quarterback/defensive end/defensive back Chris Jansen as the D-II premier player, and BFA-Fairfax running back/linebacker Luke Langelier as the D-III premier player.</p><p> The PRIDE Award has been given since 2007. One previous winner was Middlebury&rsquo;s Marshall Hastings in 2012.</p><p> Other local nominees this year included Eric Eisenhower from the Mount Abraham/Vergennes squad and John Winslow from Otter Valley.&nbsp;</p>

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