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Echoes Awoken
Albert Chen
February 04, 2013
THERE ARE STORIES OTHER THAN THE MANTI TE'O SAGA TO BE TOLD ABOUT NOTRE DAME—REALLY. HERE ARE TWO: FUTURE WIDEOUTS COREY ROBINSON AND TORII HUNTER JR. MAYBE THE NAMES OF THEIR DADS RING A BELL?
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February 04, 2013

Echoes Awoken

THERE ARE STORIES OTHER THAN THE MANTI TE'O SAGA TO BE TOLD ABOUT NOTRE DAME—REALLY. HERE ARE TWO: FUTURE WIDEOUTS COREY ROBINSON AND TORII HUNTER JR. MAYBE THE NAMES OF THEIR DADS RING A BELL?

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They aren't brothers, but they are friends. (Corey made the trip to visit Torii Jr. in the hospital last month, and they talk regularly on the phone.) Once they sign, they'll be teammates, lining up together in coach Brian Kelly's spread offense. They are exceptional talents with different strengths: Torii Jr. is a blue-chip prospect who has been on the national radar for years, a flier whose breakaway speed makes him a weapon out of the slot. Corey is the late riser in the recruiting ranks, a physical receiver who wrestles balls out of crowds and who, because of his size, projects as more of a possession receiver. David Robinson believes that with a college weight program, Corey will eventually fill out to something close to 6' 8" and 240 pounds. "People in my family, for whatever reason, just develop later," says the father. "I tell my youngest [Justin, a sophomore at San Antonio Christian], who's skinny as a rail, with no strength at all, that he's going to be 6' 8" and really athletic. He just needs to be patient, like Corey was."

Corey and Torii Jr. share dreams that have nothing to do with football: Corey—who until he chose Notre Dame, weighed pursuing premed at an Ivy League school, or following in his father's footsteps at Navy—still wants to pursue a career in medicine; Torii Jr. has baseball, which he'll play at Notre Dame. "Eventually, he'll have a choice to make," says Torii Sr. "He went to Notre Dame to play football. But if he's a first-round pick in baseball? Who knows?"

The NFL is also on both sons' minds. Their fathers may have complicated feelings about their sons and football, but they also see how hard their boys have worked and how badly they want to establish their own identities. "Corey's like me, incapable of doing anything just halfway, and that's why he's had success at football," says David Sr. "I didn't like basketball, but I also couldn't do it halfway, and eventually I fell in love with the game because of the competition—you walk out onto the court, and there's Shaquille O'Neal and Patrick Ewing, the best of the best, and it's you against him, and you know he wants to destroy you."

He adds, "I see that love of competition in Corey. And I tell him that there's nobody in the country that has his combination of smarts, athletic ability and size. I believe that. Just do what you do, be fearless and see how far that takes you. You won't make it to the pro level unless you have that fearlessness."

Torii Sr. is starting the next, and perhaps final, chapter of his long baseball career in Detroit, just a short flight to South Bend. He'll be in the stands for as many games as he can make, cheering and saying his quiet prayers, but he understands his role now, and he accepts it. "I look at it like this," he says. "You raise your child the right way, you make a path for them, you give them everything they need. Father knows best. But I know in the end, the father has to step aside and let the son find his own way."

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