Husker signee Robinson has impressive showing at All-American Bowl

January 8, 2019

SAN ANTONIO — Wandale Robinson’s final weekend before joining Nebraska’s football program lived up to the hype.

The Husker receiver-to-be — one of three NU signees playing in Saturday’s All-American Bowl — made several splash plays in San Antonio, including an eye-popping 35-yard catch-and-run on a screen pass that showed off his quickness and a leaping 25-yard catch that, for a brief moment, might have left NU fans holding their breath.

That’s because Robinson, a four-star recruit playing for the East, left the game shaken up from a hit delivered by a West player NU wants to add to its 2019 recruiting class — defensive back Noa Pola-Gates. The two collided at the West’s 16-yard line as Robinson finished his leaping catch from quarterback and North Carolina signee Sam Howell.

Robinson held on to the ball but didn’t immediately get up. When he did get up, Pola-Gates gave him a pat on the helmet.

On the next drive, Robinson was right back in the game — catching a 27-yard pass up the seam that set up a touchdown in the East’s 48-14 blowout win over the West.

For the game, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound star from Western Hills (Ky.) High School unofficially had three catches for 87 yards and one carry for 6 yards. He also took the opening kickoff out of the end zone to past the 35-yard line. Official statistics were not immediately available. His performance repeatedly drew comparisons to Purdue freshman Rondale Moore, who finished with 1,258 receiving yards and 14 total touchdowns in 2018. Robinson and Moore have the same Louisville-based trainer.

Robinson’s best play involved his signature catch-and-run skills.

In the first quarter, he caught the pass at the 25 and immediately turned back toward the middle of the field, juking two defenders as he accelerated past them. He wasn’t pushed out of bounds until the West’s 40-yard line. Chasing Robinson was another Robinson — Ty, the four-star defensive lineman who signed with Nebraska and played for the West.

So did four-star offensive tackle Bryce Benhart, who started at right tackle and served as one of the West’s captains. Another key Husker recruiting target, four-star defensive back Pola-Gates, also played for the West. Pola-Gates will announce his final decision on Jan. 19 at the Polynesian Bowl. He has the Huskers in his top three.

Among other Big Ten signees, Wisconsin’s Graham Mertz threw five touchdowns and was named MVP of the All-American Bowl. Ohio State receiver Garrett Wilson caught the West’s only two touchdowns.

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