By LARRY VAUGHT
It’s not a trip for everyone, but for Western Hills standout Wandale Robinson it was a long trip that was worth every mile he spent on the road.
He recently made an unofficial visit to Ohio State to visit with the coaches. He then headed to Florida State for another unofficial visit and worked out there. He came back home to Frankfort through Alabama and made a stop there to see coach Nick Saban and his staff. His performance there was impressive enough to get him a scholarship offer from Alabama.
Robinson now has 19 major scholarship offers, including Ohio State and Kentucky. But the one from Alabama is a head-turner for a lot of reasons and shows what running the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds as Robinson did at a combine in February can do.
“That offer is really a huge thing for any player,” Western Hills coach Don Miller said. “Alabama is the top program across the United States when it comes to college football. It was just another really special offer for him to put with the other offers he has.”
Justin Rowland, publisher of CatsIllustrated.com for Rivals, admits he didn’t think Robinson would end up with such lofty offers when his recruitment started. But few did since he was not even the top-rated recruit in Kentucky.
“That’s no knock on him. You just figure Alabama and Ohio State are going to mostly focus on national guys who people have known about for years,” Rowland said. “Robinson’s offers from those schools are a sign that the sport is about speed more than ever. He’s in the most elite company when it comes to making things happen with the ball, size aside, and that counts for a lot these days.”
Robinson originally planned to make his college choice before his senior season started. That’s probably going to change now since both Alabama and Ohio State want him to make an official visit during the season. Previously he had indicated he would make official visits to Kentucky and Duke, his top two schools before the Ohio State and Alabama offers came, along with Purdue and Virginia.
“He’s going to have a tough decision and with the Alabama and Ohio State offers, it’s going to push back the decision date,” the Western Hills coach said.
Robinson made an official visit to Michigan (which has a verbal commitment from Trinity defensive end Stephen Herron, the state’s top-ranked player) last weekend and this week had a three-day Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in Atlanta where the nation’s top 200 players get a chance to play at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the home of the Atlanta Falcons, and run drills conducted by former NFL players and coaches. It’s an all-expense paid trip thanks to adidas and a chance to get the attention of even more college coaches.
“He would really like to be a five-star player and knows a big performance at the camp could do that for him,” Miller said.
The 5-9, 175-pound Robinson rushed for 2,330 yards and 33 touchdowns last season and also caught 22 passes for 314 yards and six touchdowns. In his three-year career, he has amassed 85 touchdowns.
Robinson will get a two-week break when Western Hills begins the KHSAA-mandated two-week dead period Friday. After that, Miller said Robinson will have to talk with those closest to him about what he wants to do next.
“He has to see what is the best fit for him. I’ve told him it’s important to have a good relationship not only with the head coach, but also with his position coach,” Miller said. “Then he has to figure out the philosophy of what each team wants to do offensively and see what is the best fit for him.”
Alabama has come into Kentucky in recent years to sign Madison Southern running back Damien Harris and Lafayette offensive lineman Jedrick Wills. The Crimson Tide has a verbal commitment from Glasgow offensive lineman Tanner Bowles, a top five recruit in Kentucky, this year.
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