One of the nation’s top playmakers that got away from Nebraska a month ago announced a change of heart Wednesday in what the Huskers hope is the end of a lengthy recruiting saga.
Consensus four-star running back Wandale Robinson committed to Nebraska on Wednesday, 34 days after giving Kentucky his verbal pledge in front of a packed gymnasium at Frankfort (Ky.) Western Hills High School in November. He called NU his No. 2 choice that day out of a long list of suitors that included finalists Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Purdue.
But the 5-foot-9, 179-pound Robinson — who had been leaning heavily toward Big Red before altering course the night before his public decision — continued to entertain the idea of playing in Lincoln as a versatile cog in coach Scott Frost’s potent offense. He had an in-home visit with running backs coach Ryan Held on Nov. 27 and another with offensive coordinator Troy Walters earlier this week.
Social media signs also pointed to recent unrest from the electric athlete who the Huskers see in a slot role similar JD Spielman. He agreed with a post about how people forget “big time” athletes are still high school teenagers. He tweeted Sunday “Always do what’s best for you, no one else…”
Robinson — set to graduate this month and start college in January — put up staggering statistics as a prep senior. He rushed for 1,973 yards (9.6 per carry) and 30 touchdowns while making 31 catches for 725 and 11 scores. He accounted for 45 total touchdowns in 11 games and was his team’s best defender with 119 tackles (12 for loss), three interceptions and six forced fumbles.
The exploits earned him the “Mr. Football” honor from the Kentucky Football Coaches Association on Sunday.
On Tuesday morning, he took a big jump in the Rivals recruiting rankings, going from outside the top 250 to No. 98 overall and No. 1 in the state. His 247Sports stock has also soared, from 322nd in October to 117th now.
Tuesday afternoon he was presented with his jersey for the All-American Bowl, which features 100 of the country’s top seniors and kicks off Jan. 5 in San Antonio.
Kentucky’s campus is located just 30 miles from the hometown of Robinson, who has a longstanding relationship with the school. Recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow — a former assistant on Bo Pelini’s Nebraska staff in 2011 and 2012 — has been Kentucky’s point man under head coach Mark Stoops.
Western Hills coach Don Miller told The World-Herald in October that Robinson heard overtures from larger and more successful high school programs to transfer for his senior year but turned them down.
“Everybody wanted him to come here or go there; they love trying to do that,” Miller said. “But he stayed, he performed.”
Wandale’s father, Dale Robinson, told The World-Herald this fall that his son has deceptive strength for his stature and possesses size and skills comparable to Purdue’s Rondale Moore and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill.
“These guys are changing the game of football,” Dale Robinson said. “Everybody wants the 6-2, 6-3 receivers. But now everybody is looking for short guys with speed who can do everything.”
Wandale Robinson officially visited Nebraska for the canceled Akron game on Sept. 1. He becomes the 23rd pledge in the 2019 class that includes three other running backs and two receivers.
Players cannot sign a binding National Letter of Intent until the early signing period begins Dec. 19.
Husker receiver Stanley Morgan makes AP’s All-Big Ten second team
Nebraska wide receiver Stanley Morgan was the Huskers’ lone representative on the Associated Press All-Big Ten team released Wednesday. He was a second-team selection.
Morgan also made the All-Big Ten second team as selected by the league coaches and announced last week.
Morgan leaves NU as the most productive receiver in school history. He finished with school records in career receptions (189) and career receiving yards (2,747), and is the only Husker to record 1,000 yards receiving in a season. Morgan also had a school-record 38 straight games with a reception.
Iowa tight end Noah Fant, an Omaha South graduate who last week declared early for the NFL draft, also made the All-Big Ten second team.
Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins is the offensive player of the year and Michigan linebacker Devin Bush is defensive player of the year, according to the AP. The All-Big Ten team was selected by 27 writers and broadcasters who cover the conference, including The World-Herald’s Sam McKewon.
Freshman receiver Rondale Moore of Purdue was voted newcomer of the year, and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald was named coach of the year after leading the Wildcats to the Big Ten championship game for the first time.
Michigan had seven players on the first team, including five from the nation’s top-ranked defense. Wisconsin had five first-team picks and conference champion Ohio State had three.
Haskins, in his first year as a starter, set Big Ten records and leads the nation with 4,580 passing yards and 47 touchdown passes. He passed for more than 300 yards in nine games, including five games with better than 400 yards.
Bush has been a disruptive force for Michigan, leading the team with 80 tackles and ranking second from his linebacker position in sacks (five) and tackles for loss (9.5).
Moore occupied two spots, as a wide receiver and all-purpose player. Moore’s 103 receptions are most in the nation and second-most in a season by a Big Ten player, and his 1,164 receiving yards lead the conference. Moore also rushed for 203 yards on 18 carries and returned punts and kicks for the Boilermakers.
Four of Wisconsin’s five first-team picks are repeat selections : running back Jonathan Taylor, offensive linemen Michael Deiter and Beau Benzschawel and linebacker T.J. Edwards. Taylor was a unanimous choice. Ohio State defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones also made the first team for the second straight year.
Fitzgerald, Northwestern’s 13th-year coach, led the Wildcats to an 8-1 record in Big Ten play, matching the best mark in program history. They went 0-3 in nonconference play and had to overcome a spate of injuries to win their first West Division title.
Below are the complete AP All-Big Ten teams:
WR: Rondale Moore, Purdue, 5-9, 175, Fr., New Albany, Indiana.
WR: Tyler Johnson, Minnesota, 6-2, 200, Jr., Minneapolis.
T: Isaiah Prince, Ohio State, 6-7, 310, Sr., Greenbelt, Maryland.
T: Jon Runyan, Michigan, 6-5, 310, Sr., Moorestown, New Jersey.
G: Michael Deiter, Wisconsin, 6-6, 310, Sr., Curtice, Ohio.
G: Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin, 6-6, 315, Sr., Grafton, Wisconsin.
C: Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin, 6-3, 319, So., Amherst, Wisconsin.
TE: T.J. Hockenson, Iowa, 6-5, 250, So., Chariton, Iowa.
QB: Dwayne Haskins Jr., Ohio State, 6-3, 214, So., Potomac, Maryland.
RB: Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin, 5-11, 221, So., Salem, New Jersey.
RB: Karan Higdon, Michigan, 5-10, 202, Sr., Sarasota, Florida.
PK: Chase McLaughlin, Illinois, 6-1, 190, Sr., Cypress, Texas.
All-Purpose: Rondale Moore, Purdue, 5-9, 175, Fr., New Albany, Indiana.
DE: Kenny Willekes, Michigan State, 6-4, 260, Jr., Rockford, Michigan.
DE: Chase Winovich, Michigan, 6-3, 255, Sr., Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania.
DT: Raequan Williams, Michigan State, 6-4, 300, Jr., Chicago.
DT: Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State, 6-3, 290, Jr., Cleveland.
LB: Devin Bush, Michigan, 5-11, 233, Jr., Pembroke Pines, Florida.
LB: Paddy Fisher, Northwestern, 6-4, 241, So., Katy, Texas.
LB: T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin, 6-1, 242, Sr., Lake Villa, Illinois.
CB: Amani Oruwariye, Penn State, 6-1, 203, Sr., Tampa, Florida.
CB: Lavert Hill, Michigan, 5-11, 181, Jr., Detroit.
S: Josh Metellus, Michigan, 6-0, 204, Jr., Pembroke Pines, Florida.
S: Amani Hooker, Iowa, 6-0, 210, Jr., Minneapolis.
P: Will Hart, Michigan, 6-3, 192, Jr., Hunting Valley, Ohio.
WR: Stanley Morgan Jr., Nebraska, 6-1, 195, Sr., New Orleans.
WR: Parris Campbell, Ohio State, 6-1, 208, Sr., Akron, Ohio.
T: David Edwards, Wisconsin, 6-7, 315, Jr., Downers Grove, Illinois.
T: Alaric Jackson, Iowa, 6-7, 320, So., Detroit.
G: Ross Reynolds, Iowa, 6-4, 295, Sr., Waukee, Iowa.
G: Ben Bredeson, Michigan, 6-5, 320, Jr., Hartland, Wisconsin.
C: Michael Jordan, Ohio State, 6-7, 310, Jr., Canton, Michigan.
TE: Noah Fant, Iowa, 6-5, 241, Jr., Omaha, Nebraska.
QB: Trace McSorley, Penn State, 6-0, 201, Sr., Ashburn, Virginia.
RB: Miles Sanders, Penn State, 5-11, 215, Jr., Pittsburgh.
RB: Antony McFarland, Maryland, 5-8, 193, Fr., Hyattsville, Maryland.
PK: Matt Coghlin, Michigan State, 5-9, 190, So., Cincinnati.
All-Purpose: Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Iowa, 6-1, 175, So., Newark, New Jersey.
DE: A.J. Epensea, Iowa, 6-5, 277, So., Glen Carbon, Illinois.
DE: Rashan Gary, Michigan, 6-5, 283, Jr., Plainfield, New Jersey.
DE: Carter Coughlin, Minnesota, 6-4, 245, Jr., Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
DT: Robert Windsor, Penn State, 6-4, 295, Jr., Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin.
LB: Tre Watson, Maryland, 6-2, 236, Sr., Tampa, Florida.
LB: Joe Bachie, Michigan State, 6-2, 238, Jr., Brook Park, Ohio.
LB: Blake Cashman, Minnesota, 6-2, 235, Sr., Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
CB: David Long, Michigan, 5-11, 198, Jr., Los Angeles.
CB: Justin Layne, Michigan State, 6-3, 185, Jr., Cleveland.
S: Darnell Savage Jr., Maryland, 5-10, 200, Sr., Newark, Delaware.
S: Jordan Fuller, Ohio State, 6-2, 204, Jr. Old Tappan, New Jersey.
P: Drue Chrisman, Ohio State, 6-3, 215, So., Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Nebraska hosts over 23 in-state players at #HomeGrown Huskers event
Nebraska sent out invitations and used the hashtag #HomeGrown to bring prospects to its walk-on event on Wednesday.
There was a large response as the Huskers hosted more than 23 in-state players and three from neighboring states (Iowa, Missouri and Kansas). The evening program consisted of meeting the coaching staff, talking with academic advisers, financial information, a tour of the Husker locker room and an individual meeting with coach Scott Frost.
Among the players who attended were the seven current in-state players who have committed to walking on as a part of the 2019 class — Grant Detlefsen, punter, Lincoln Southeast; Matt Huser, defensive tackle, Millard West; Dylan Jorgensen, kicker, Lincoln Southwest; Cam Kleinschmidt, defensive back, Lincoln High; Riley Moses, lineman, Fillmore Central; Luke Reimer, linebacker/athlete, Lincoln North Star; and Eli Richter, lineman, Kearney Catholic.
Check out the full list of visitors here.