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The debut of freshman offensive weapon Wan’Dale Robinson was worth the wait.
Nebraska fans have been excited about seeing Robinson play in scarlet and cream since before he was even committed to the Huskers. Each week during his senior season of high school, fans wanted to know his latest gaudy stat line. For example, he totaled 365 yards and four touchdowns during his game on Sept. 14, 2018. Two weeks later, he had 372 total yards, four offensive touchdowns, 14 tackles and an interception return for a touchdown. He accounted for 3,113 total yards and 45 touchdowns his senior season. Robinson was must-see every week.
Anticipation really ramped up once he flipped his commitment from Kentucky to Nebraska and after his performane at the All-American Game in San Antonio, Texas. Robinson ended his day with three catches for 88 yards and one carry for six yards. He also returned one kick for 36 yards.
— Derek Peterson (@DrPeteyHV) January 5, 2019
Robinson began his Husker career by enrolling early in Lincoln right and got things kicked off with his first winter conditioning with head strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval. As we moved toward spring practices, we quickly got comments from coaches and teammates about how electric Robinson was. Then he sat out the spring game due to a nagging hamstring injury. Husker fans had to press pause on his debut.
When Nebraska returned for fall camp, Robinson was ready to go. Offensive coordinator Troy Walters was pleased with how he took care of his body over the summer.
“He’s looked good,” Walters said at the time. “He’s staying healthy, that was the key in spring, he was nicked up a little bit, so he’s doing a good job of taking care of his body. He did a good job in the summer taking care of his body. He’s everything that we hoped for. He keeps getting better, he makes plays as a receiver, he is making plays as a running back. That dual threat option is going to cause challenges for opposing defenses.”
Everyone was more than ready to see Robinson make his debut against South Alabama. Once he got those first jitters out of the way, he was able to cut loose and play football.
“I’ll admit, I was really nervous on that first kickoff,” Robinson said after the game. “It felt like it was taking 30 minutes for that kickoff to come down. After that I was good. It’s time to play football. It’s the same thing I’ve been doing since I was five years old. I feel good after the way I played today.”
In his Husker debut, Robinson did a little bit of everything. He rushed for 24 yards, had 33 receiving yards and 77 return yards, totalling 131 yards in front of the sell-out crowd at Memorial Stadium. In fact, he made a play during the game that looked similar to how explosive he looked in San Antonio and on those Friday nights in Kentucky.
After the game, Coach Scott Frost said that he thought his star freshman had a good first day. Frost added if the offense had the ball longer, he could have gotten more opportunities.
“I thought Wan’Dale did some pretty special things when he had the ball in his hands, and we'll keep looking to get that done,” Frost said.
Husker fans will have to wait a bit longer for Robinson’s first touchdown as a Husker. When that time comes, don’t be surprised if Robinson just expects it. After all, he’s been scoring touchdowns his whole life.
The twists and turns in his recruitment were the ‘Wan’Dale Watch.’ Now the Wan’Dale Show has begun on Saturdays.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.