Football, Sports, WVU Sports

Former WVU players Kenny Robinson, Colton McKivitz selected back-to-back in NFL draft

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It took over four rounds for West Virginia players to come off the board during this weekend’s NFL draft, but two were taken with back-to-back picks to begin the 5th round.

Safety Kenny Robinson, who spent last season in the XFL was picked with the No. 152 pick by the Carolina Panthers. Right after at No. 153, offensive lineman Colton McKivitz was picked up by the San Francisco 49ers.

Robinson became a star free safety at WVU in 2018 and was named an All-Big 12 first team selection. However, he entered his name in the transfer portal the following spring, and The Dominion Post previously reported Robinson was facing a possible suspension due to violating WVU’s code of student conduct for an academic issue. Robinson later confirmed he was kicked out of school for the violation.

Robinson decided to declare for the XFL draft, due in large part to his mother’s cancer diagnosis. He was looking for immediate financial stability and the XFL gave him that.

The XFL was also an outlet to the NFL, and in five games with the St. Louis BattleHawks, Robinson had 21 tackles, a sack and two interceptions. The league was forced to cancel its season because of coronavirus and ultimately filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 10.

The Panthers, now led by former Baylor coach Matt Rhule, drafted five defensive players with their first five picks. Robinson was the second safety picked by the Panthers (Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois, 2nd round).

The 49ers traded running back Matt Breida to the Miami Dolphins on Saturday afternoon, and San Francisco received a 5th-round pick in return. With the pick, the 49ers took McKivitz, who was named the Big 12 Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year last season. He started 49-straight games for the Mountaineers from 2016-2019 at both left and right tackle.

49ers star tackle Joe Staley is expected to retire due to health concerns, so they traded for Redskins Pro Bowler Trent Williams on Saturday. McKivitz will add depth at either tackle spot.

“I’m really excited for Colton and wish him the best as he begins the next chapter in his football career in San Francisco,” WVU coach Neal Brown said. “He has done all the right things on and off the field throughout his career and has put himself in a place to have a successful career in the NFL. He has an outstanding work ethic, plays hard and physical and has developed his leadership skills. Overall, he has been a great representative of West Virginia and the Mountaineers.”

Cornerback Keith Washington signed as an undrafted free agent with the New Orleans Saints. He originally transferred to WVU from Michigan in 2018 and was a two-year starter for the Mountaineers, finishing his career with six interceptions. Washington was second team All-Big 12 last season.

Hakeem Bailey, who played alongside Washington at the other starting cornerback spot, signed with the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Bailey played three seasons for the Mountaineers, starting 21 games, and finished with 135 tackles and two interceptions in his career.

Wide receiver George Campbell spent one season at WVU and caught 19 passes for 469 yards and seven touchdowns, and it earned him a shot with the New York Jets, signing as an undrafted free agent.

Safety Josh Norwood signed Sunday with the Seattle Seahawks after earning All-Big 12 with a team-high 11 pass breakups and 49 tackles. 

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