NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Vanderbilt quarterback Patton Robinette has decided to end his football career early to concentrate on medical school.
Robinette plans to enter the Vanderbilt School of Medicine this summer to study orthopedics. He said Friday it would have been too difficult to balance his time playing quarterback for a Southeastern Conference program while also attending medical school.
"I don't know if that would even be possible, especially here at Vanderbilt," Robinette said at a news conference. "More than that, this is my career we're talking about. I want to be able to give that 110 percent of my focus."
Robinette, who would have been a junior this fall, sustained a concussion last season but said that wasn't the primary reason why he gave up football. He called it an "incredibly difficult" decision.
"Though my injury history played a part, I think more importantly it was the desire to move forward with my life and the recognition that Vanderbilt is in great hands," Robinette said.
Robinette was Vanderbilt's most experienced quarterback and was expected to compete for the starting job. His departure leaves Wade Freebeck, Johnny McCrary, Shawn Stankavage and Kyle Shurmur as the remaining candidates.
Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason praised Robinette as a "fierce competitor" and said he supported the quarterback's decision.
"Football is a limited proposition," Mason said. "It's a vehicle. He's ridden this vehicle for as long as he's chosen to ride it. Now he looks to move on to bigger and greener pastures."
Robinette opened last season as Vanderbilt's starter before being hampered by injuries. He sprained his knee in the season opener and later had the concussion that sidelined him for six weeks.
In two seasons, Robinette went 89 of 155 for 1,096 yards passing with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also rushed for 277 yards and nine touchdowns, including a game-winning 5-yard score with 16 seconds left in a 14-10 victory at Tennessee in 2013.
"I hope that when people look back and think about Patton Robinette, they think of somebody who fought for Vanderbilt, competed hard every play and hopefully represented what a Vanderbilt man should be," Robinette said.
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