Two years ago it seemed Kentucky had the big-play receiver it wanted when Wan’Dale Robinson of Frankfort verbally committed to Kentucky in a ceremony at his high school. He picked the Cats over Nebraska, Purdue and Duke after a brilliant prep career. He also made visits to Alabama, Ohio State and Michigan.
Robinson announced on Twitter Monday he was transferring and explained his mother tested positive for COVID-19 that led to her being hospitalized as well as other health complications.
“For anyone who knows me knows she’s the biggest reason I play the game of football. Being away from my mother and not seeing her during the season hurt me,” Robinson posted on Twitter.
The former Western Hills High School standout said he wanted to find a place “closer to my mother and family” that will still allow him to achieve his dreams and goals.
The 5-9, 175-pound Robinson amassed 8,582 total yards in high school and scored 118 touchdowns. He ran for 6,795 yards and averaged over 11 yards per carry and scored 97 touchdowns. He had 102 catches for 1,787 yards and 21 scores even though he primarily had to play quarterback/running back. His 781 career points ranked second all-time in Kentucky high school history.
Robinson was a two-way standout who had 113 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and one sack his senior season. He picked off three passes, broke up five more passes, forced six fumbles and recovered on fumble.
He ran for over 2,000 yards as a sophomore and junior and then 1,973 more as a senior.
Nebraska expected Robinson to be a major playmaker — and he was. He led Nebraska with 51 catches for 461 receiving yards in eight games in 2020 and was fourth on the team with 240 rushing yards. He led Nebraska with 696 all-purpose yards. As a freshman, Robinson caught 40 passes for 443 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 340 yards and three touchdowns.
He had some big games against talented teams and was one of only two FBS players to have 400 receiving yards, 300 rushing yards and 200 kickoff return yards in 2019.
Robinson bailed on his commitment to UK just before the early signing period. So why would he pick Kentucky now other than being closer to him and why would UK take a player that broke its heart two years ago?
Allen had second thoughts about playing in UK’s run-oriented offense. Nebraska coach Scott Frost promised a more wide-open offense to utilize Robinson’s skill set, and it worked. But now UK has hired current LA Rams assistant Liam Coen as offensive coordinator and seems headed to an offensive flow that suits Robinson. Also don’t forget he’s friends with UK freshman quarterback Beau Allen. The two talked openly in high school about playing together in college.
Vince Marrow was the lead recruiter for the four-star Robinson. He did everything right to get him and was frustrated when Robinson held the public announcement to commit to UK and then flipped to Nebraska.
But Marrow has a short memory. He doesn’t take recruiting decisions personally. He continues to build relationships even after players decide not to play at Kentucky. Marrow also understands if a player can help Kentucky win, he needs to bring him to UK.
There were numerous rumors a year ago Robinson was transferring but he stayed at Nebraska for his sophomore season.
Now it would seem Kentucky and Purdue would be the two schools most in play for him based on his high school recruiting.
My guess — Marrow brings him to Kentucky this time.