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.
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