By LARRY VAUGHT
Speed is a big reason for Western Hills star Wandale Robinson’s success. However, Robinson’s father, Dale, says there’s more than just speed that makes him special.
“His vision and the way he plays the game are what makes him special,” said Dale Robinson, a former star athlete at Franklin County High School. “He plays every snap like it is his last. That’s why he also plays defense all the time. He’s a competitor.”
He’s fast, too. Make no mistake about that.
He’s been clocked between 4.2 and 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash. In Friday’s 55-42 win over Woodford County, he accounted for seven touchdowns — four rushing, two receiving and one passing — and 328 yards of total offense. He ran 20 times for 181 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown run. He caught four passes for 94 yards and was 1-for-2 passing for 53 yards. On defense, he had four solo tackles, six assists and one interception.
Through five games, his numbers are sensational. He’s rushed 90 times for 1,179 yards — 11 yards per carry — and 12 touchdowns with a long run of 87 yards. He’s caught nine passes for 311 yards — 34.5 yards per catch — and six touchdowns with a 75-yard reception as his longest. He’s returned three punts for 161 yards, including one of 96 yards, and two scores. He’s thrown a touchdown a pass. He has almost 1,700 yards of total offense. On defense, he has 23 solo tackles, 20 assists, four tackles for loss and two interceptions.
“He’s just different,” Dale Robinson said. “I’m not just saying that because he is my kid. He’s just different. He’s a game changer. He can adapt and play in any system. He can play anywhere on the field you want to put him. He’s just that talented. Speed kills, and he has that, but he also always plays hard. He is trained to play that way and he loves it.”
Wandale Robinson made an official visit to Alabama over the weekend. He’s already been to Nebraska for his official visit. Along with Kentucky, he also has Purdue, Ohio State and Michigan — where former UK running back Alfonso Smith is an assistant coach — on his final list of schools. Mark Stoops watched Robinson played an earlier game this season and UK recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow stays in constant touch with him.
“We talk pros and cons of each school but this is his decision,” Dale Robinson said. “I don’t have a horse in the race. He can choose Kentucky. He can choose Alabama. He can choose Nebraska. It’s his choice. He’s the one who has to be there and be comfortable, not met. I am comfortable with (Nick) Saban, (Mark) Stoops. It doesn’t matter to me. If he’s good, I’m good.”
Dale Robinson has accompanied his son on his official visits. He admits they have been fun for him, too.
“Recruiting has totally changed since I was in high school. They offer so much more now,” Dale Robinson said.
Dale Robinson was on the last Franklin County basketball team to make the state tournament in 1995. He was a versatile, all-around athlete and Wandale Robinson played some basketball and then baseball before concentrating on football.
“He is totally faster and more athletic than me,” Dale Robinson said. “I watch college and pro football but there is nothing for me like watching him play because of the love he has for it. He really never wanted to play anything but football.”
Dale Robinson owns a gym in Frankfort and his 5-9, 175-pound son often works out with him. That could be one reason he’s stronger and more durable than one might think.
“We lift (weights) together and all that and have fun,” Dale Robinson said. “We are more workout partners than father-son and we enjoy that. From playing football myself, I know that most kids in Kentucky do not lift weights that much. I’ve tried to help give him an edge as much as possible. He has good genetics and he works hard. He’s a lot stronger than most think and that really helps him. It’s just another thing that makes him special.”