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Devy Spotlight: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Bijan Robinson is riding a hype train the likes of which we haven’t seen since Saquan Barkley. Andrew Harbaugh breaks down his game and why you should be all in on the Longhorn running back.

A top 300 recruit all-time on the 247 Sports database, Bijan Robinson comes from Tuscon, Arizona, where he carved out a legendary high school career in the state. Coming in the class out of Arizona a year after Spencer Rattler, Robinson has undoubtedly done well for himself while Rattler searches for a new beginning in South Carolina. Robinson also comes from NFL bloodlines as his great uncle attended Arizona and played RB there before being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Renewing a Running Back Tradition 

Earl Campbell, Cedric Benson, and Earl Campbell laid the groundwork for a Texas tradition of developing elite-level running backs. Robinson doesn’t have the number that those men do so far. He has started to build a reputation that he will one day be held in the same regard. Robinson likely won’t win the Heisman Trophy this year. But if he does, he may prove that he is worth taking with serious draft capital.

Running backs have seen a decreased value since it peaked almost in 2018 when Saquan Barkley was selected second overall. That is just it, though. From what I have seen from Robinson, he deserves to be in that Barkley level of prospect. The 2023 class is looking to be loaded at RB, but Robinson appears to have the lead of the class locked up at this point if he declares.

What You See When Watching Him 

Elusiveness

You wouldn’t think he would be very agile with a listed size of six-foot, 215 pounds. He may be one of the most elusive runners since the aforementioned Barkley. His footwork, hips, and vision are an elite trio of skills, all working in unison when he runs. 

Vision

Texas uses a lot of running between the tackles in their style, part of having Steve Sarkisian coming over from Alabama, and Robinson somehow thrives in that. Sometimes runners like going outside to be able to create, which he can. Robinson time and again seems to find his way to the second level regardless of the blocking ahead of him. He shows he can read the linebackers and blitzes and where they will end up on a certain play to avoid them altogether.

Creativity

Two games last year are all you need to see of Robinson to know how special he can be. He showcased how creative he is versus TCU and Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, especially, you see on one critical play where he has no business breaking the run. Still, his combination of vision, patience, and elusiveness leads him on the run of a lifetime. 

Robinson, you can tell, is constantly mentally processing the defense, but there is no lag in doing so. His brain has a fiber connection, no wireless networks, to the rest of him, where it all seems so natural. The running backs in the NFL have seen some recent youthful injections with Jonathan Taylor, Najee Harris, Dalvin Cook, and Robinson could be in that same breathe very soon.

Summary 

I have taken the baton of Robinson being an RB1 and ran with it, similar to what Usain Bolt does with the Olympics. Robinson has every skill set you look for in an NFL running back to be successful. He has the physical tools to have sustained success. He likely won’t get a ton of carries this year compared to what someone like Barkley or Taylor entered the league with. This will allow him to join the league fresh and work with the NFL workload immediately. 

I am eyond excited to see what growth Bijan Robinson has this upcoming year, and the sky is the limit.

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