OXFORD • When Austrian Robinson and Jason Pellerin signed with Ole Miss in 2015, they knew they were part of the future.
Their vision for the future, though, was based on different circumstances at the time.
Seniors now, their final home game will be against the nation’s No. 1 team – and it’s not Alabama. Ole Miss and LSU will kick at 6 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. They’ll be honored in a pre-game ceremony along with 22 other senior teammates.
Robinson and Pellerin were both redshirted by former coach Hugh Freeze as true freshmen in 2015. They got a taste of what contending for an SEC championship and winning the Sugar Bowl feels like.
Their task as seniors has been to help the program rebuild from scholarship cuts and other sanctions following a lengthy NCAA investigation. They’d love to get back to a bowl game. An upset against LSU would be a big step in that direction.
“I wouldn’t say everything’s gone according to plan, but then again, what in life does? I came in as a QB, switched positions to tight end, had a bunch of great coaches from coach Werner, coach Freeze, coach Harris. The list goes on. My journey’s definitely been unique, but I’m grateful for it,” Pellerin said.
A New Iberia, Louisiana, native, Pellerin will be playing against his home school. He’s only been able to be part of a win against LSU during his redshirt year in 2015.
Pellerin played a key role as the short-yardage quarterback in 2016, Freeze’s last season, before Freeze moved him to tight end the following spring.
While the passing game has been limited in a new scheme, Pellerin has turned in 11 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Their own game with New Mexico State having finished just minutes before, Ole Miss players watched the end of the LSU-Alabama game from their locker room.
“We were watching the game and thinking it would be great for us to knock off the No. 1 team that beat Alabama,” Pellerin said. “For us to come out and have that possibility … I feel like that would do a lot for the Ole Miss program.”
Pellerin and Robinson were eyewitnesses to the Sugar Bowl season, but times have been tough through their playing careers. Ole Miss is 20-26 since Freeze stood on a riser on the Superdome floor amid falling confetti and announced a “new normal” for Ole Miss football.
“Really, it’s just about life lessons, going through it all, winning and losing,” Robinson said.
A three-star recruit out of New York City, Robinson was named the 29th recipient of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award last spring.
He’s recorded 21 tackles, 1½ sacks, three pressures and an interception this season.
He’s pleased to go out having been a part of “turning around the defense.”
“Nothing’s going to stop, so you’ve got to keep working,” Robinson said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”