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Western Hills graduate Wan'Dale Robinson, center, listens during a ceremony Friday where he was honored for being named Mr. Football and Kentucky's Gatorade Player of the Year after the 2018 season. At left is WHHS Principal Greg Roush, and at right is Don Miller, WHHS' head football coach and athletic director. Robinson recently completed his freshman season at Nebraska. (Linda Younkin)

It’s a different level but the same game, and that’s what matters to Wan’Dale Robinson.

Robinson, a Western Hills graduate, was honored prior to Friday’s WHHS-Franklin County boys basketball ball game for being named Mr. Football and Kentucky’s Gatorade Football Player of the Year last season.

When the awards were announced last year, Robinson was already attending the University of Nebraska, where he recently completed his freshman season.

“It was something different,” he said about the change from high school to college football. “I hadn’t played college football before, but once I got out there, it was just playing football.”

And Robinson played it well.

He was named the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week twice during the Huskers’ 5-7 season and was an honorable mention all-Big Ten selection.

Robinson was also named a second-team freshman All-American by The Athletic, and he was one of four finalists for the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the nation’s most versatile player in major college football.

Robinson played running back and wide receiver as a true freshman, and he also returned kickoffs.

“I loved playing two positions,” he said. “I played more than that in high school, so playing two was just fine with me.”

He finished the season with 40 receptions for 443 yards and two touchdowns, and he also had 88 carries for 340 yards and three scores.

In addition, he returned 11 kickoffs for 236 yards.

Robinson caught the most passes and had the most receiving yards by any true freshman in Nebraska history.

He did all that while being hindered by injuries late in the season that forced him to miss two games.

“I’m back to being healthy,” Robinson said. “I’m healed up, and it was nothing serious.”

Robinson, in town during the semester break, returns to Nebraska on Sunday. Now a sophomore, he was named to the school’s Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll last spring.

“I’ve gotten to see all the people who watched my games and thank them for following me,” he said. “It’s great to see everybody.”

After such a successful freshman season, what does Robinson see for his sophomore year?

“I’m not putting out any stats, but I want to grow as a player, and I want to do whatever I need to do for the team so we win more games,” he said.

Robinson, who originally committed to Kentucky but decommitted and signed with Nebraska, is happy to be in Lincoln.

“I don’t regret my decision at all,” he said.

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