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Rookie CB Rashard Robinson Cherishes 49ers Trip to Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. – Humid practices this week at the University of Central Florida are bringing on flashbacks for Rashard Robinson.

As his San Francisco 49ers teammates are dripping with sweat during two-hour practice sessions, Robinson has a huge smile on his face, reminicsing about his path to the NFL.

"To be honest with you, I'd take this weather over Cali weather," the rookie cornerback said with a grin. "This is the best of the best – it's the 'Sunshine State!'"

It's clear that the 49ers cornerback is a proud Floridian. Robinson starred at Ely High School in his hometown of Pompano Beach, Fla. before playing collegiately at Louisiana State University.

The fourth-round draft pick's ties to Florida made last Sunday's road game against the Miami Dolphins feel like a homecoming. Robinson is enjoying the 49ers week-long stay in Orlando as they prepare for a Week 13 road game against the Chicago Bears.

In Miami, the 6-foot-1, 177-pound cornerback picked up 30 tickets for friends and family to watch him compete at Hard Rock Stadium some 30 minutes from his hometown.

The rookie, who attended a few Dolphins games as a kid, recorded two solo tackles and broke up a deep Ryan Tannehill pass intended for wide receiver DeVante Parker.

"That was a once in a lifetime opportunity," Robinson said. "It was like a dream come true, not just playing the Dolphins, but playing at home. That's something that I always dreamed about when I was younger."

Among Robinson's 30 invites were his mother, his cousins and friends who helped guide him through some adversity during his college career.

Robinson was dismissed from the LSU football team in 2015 and was later picked by the 49ers in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The young defensive back vowed to be successful in the pros. As soon as Robinson arrived for offseason practices with the 49ers, he instantly impressed coaches and teammates with his feisty competitiveness on the practice fields.

"I think Rashard's done a really nice job," head coach Chip Kelly said. "He's a highly competitive player, loves playing football, whether it's practice, whether it's studying film. He's kind of got a contagious energy about himself."

Robinson has carried those traits into his first NFL season. Through nine games, Robinson has made four starts and has recorded 23 tackles and five pass breakups.

"I think he's got a real bright future," Kelly said. "He's got a great skillset to be a corner. He's tall, he's long, he's got speed. But, the biggest thing that jumps out with him is just his competitive nature, and you love being around guys like that."

The 49ers cornerback prefers to be in the crosshairs of an opposing quarterback.

"I want quarterbacks to throw me the ball," Robinson said. "I want them to throw near me. I want them to challenge me. I'm a competitor, and I want to show everyone that."

Despite the opportunities he's earned as a rookie, Robinson wants to do better.

"I can't say I'm satisfied," he said. "It could have been better, it could have been worse. I just have to take this rookie season and take my game to a whole another level."

Robinson is eyeing his first career interception. The 49ers cornerbacks have yet to record one as a group in 2016.

View the top shots of San Francisco's 2016 Rookie class.

The talking point is not lost on Robinson and his teammates heading into a Week 13 road game against Matt Barkley and the Chicago Bears.

"We're not satisfied with that at all," Robinson said. "We want to get that juice. We want picks. Whatever they're going to donate, we're going to take it."

So while Robinson is concerned with Sunday's opponent and a quarterback set to make his second career start in as many weeks, the biggest adjustment for the Florida native might be the weather.

Forecasts for Solider Field predict snow.

"This is probably going to be the coldest game I've ever played in in my life," Robinson said. "I've never played in snow. This right here is going to be a challenge, but I'm ready for the test."

The chance of rain or snow flurries gives Robinson even more reason to cherish the remaining hours of comfort of being in his home state.

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