Eddie Robinson’s great-granddaughter is kicker on Atlanta high school playoff team
Chloe Robinson also plays soccer, runs track and is a top student
If you catch 16-year-old Chloe Robinson just kickin’ it on a Friday night, chances are it’s through the uprights on a football field.
She is the placekicker for Benjamin E. Mays High School in Atlanta, which is in the quarterfinals of the Georgia 5A playoffs.
Chloe is a junior at Mays, and this is her football debut this season. She is the only girl listed on any high school football roster in Atlanta Public Schools.
“[Coaches] came to me and like asked me to come out and kick for them. At first, I was, like, ‘They’re probably not, like, serious,’ ” Chloe said. “[Other teams] do a double-take, like, ‘Oh, is that a girl?’ ”
But this isn’t the only reason she stands out. This gridiron girl comes from a legendary pedigree as the great-granddaughter of the late Eddie Robinson.
“He was a motivation to a lot of other people, so I set the bar high for myself so that I can achieve more,” Chloe said.
Robinson, the legendary Grambling University football coach, had more than 400 career wins in 57 years of coaching at the school. He ranks among the winningest NCAA football coaches with a career record of 408-116-15. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997, the same year the Football Writers Association of America award was named after him.
“It’s like I’ve been around football for a long time,” Chloe said.
Not only did Robinson win, he did it while raising civil rights awareness in the segregated South.
“It’s an honor just to have that, someone of that bloodline a part of a program that you are a part of,” said Mays head football coach Niketa Battle.
Chloe is a track and field standout and also plays soccer. She takes advanced placement classes and ranks among the top students in her class.
“It was funny because last year after track season she came home and she said, ‘Mom, I’ve got a new career in sports,’ ” said Chloe’s mother, Antionette Robinson. “I was, like, what? She goes, ‘I’m playing football.’ I said, “No, ma’am, no, ma’am.’ ”
Though Chloe’s paternal great-grandfather was credited with revolutionizing black college football, her mother wasn’t so quick to let her hit the gridiron.
“At first, they were kind of not in agreement because they thought I was going to get hit,” Chloe said.
It took the coaching staff to explain to her parents that she was in a position where she would be blocked from contact before she could play, according to Chloe.
“For years that’s been our like arch-nemesis there, just not having a secure kicking game,” Battle said.
Since Chloe stepped in, Mays has clinched its first regional title since 2003. Her team finished the regular season with a 9-1 record. The Raiders played and won in the Georgia 5A regional playoffs Nov. 11 at home against Cambridge, winning 42-14. Chloe kicked six extra points in the victory.
“She likes doing what she does. She gets a kick out of it,” Antionette Robinson said.
Chloe was 30 for 43 in extra points after touchdowns, and 2-for-2 in field goals, before Mays entered the playoffs. As of Nov. 23, the Raiders remain in contention for a state title.
“She gets those points on the board any time we need it,” said Mays senior quarterback and Chloe’s holder, Bardenie Phillips.
“She’s just fearless. She’s consistent, and she’s just a great overall player,” said center Steven McClardy.
Going to the Bayou Classic, the regular season-ending Southwestern Athletic Conference matchup between Southern University and Grambling State University, has become tradition for Chloe and her family.
“It’s more important to me now since I’ve actually been on a team myself,” Chloe said. “It’s just going to feel like a lot more than what it normally is when I go.”
Right now Chloe is undecided on where she will attend college, but her mother says she may be leaning toward Howard University for soccer. Grambling is definitely on the list, if you were wondering.
When asked if she thought she was making her great-grandfather happy, she replied, “I really, really, really hope I am.”