As the college football world rushes to judgment on University of Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson’s arrest on gun and drug charges, West Monroe (La.) High coach Jerry Arledge is just as quick to defend his former star player.
“Cam is not a bad person, he is not a thug. He just made a bad choice,” Arledge told SEC Country in a telephone interview. “It’s a really awful choice that brings a lot of negative attention to the University of Alabama, our high school and our community.”
According to reports, Robinson and Alabama teammate Hootie Jones — also a Monroe native who played for crosstown rival Neville High — were booked by the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office on gun and drug charges when police allegedly smelled marijuana coming from Robinson’s car and noticed a handgun on the lap of one of the players. A search of the vehicle revealed a bag of marijuana and a stolen handgun under one of the seats, according to the police report.
Robinson faces a felony charge following the discovery of the alleged stolen handgun.
“It really surprises me that he would do something like this, and I’m sincere when I say that,” Arledge said of Robinson. “When he was here, I thought he was a very good kid. Gave us no problems whatsoever. I know his mom pretty well. I know his sister. They’re good people. They really are. It’s very shocking to me and our football staff that he would do something like this.”
“Young men are faced with decisions everyday. We talk to kids and we talk to our players about making good choices and making good decisions,” Arledge said. “You can make one bad one and it’ll affect you for the rest of your life. That’s the reason it’s so important that they think before the act or react. Cam was an outstanding player. He was the top-rated offensive lineman in America when he came out of high school. I also thought he was a good kid. It’s just unfortunate he made this mistake.”
Robinson blocked for a West Monroe offense that scored 31.8 points per game in his senior year. Still a sophomore at Alabama, he was expected to be drafted as high as the first round in the 2017 NFL Draft.