Wan’Dale Robinson’s college football career couldn’t be off to a better start.
Robinson, a Western Hills graduate and a true freshman at Nebraska, has played in all four of the Huskers’ games, but Saturday was his breakout performance.
In Nebraska’s Big Ten opener at Illinois, Robinson scored the first touchdown of his collegiate career and finished the game with three touchdowns and 168 yards from scrimmage.
For that performance, he was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
It’s a lifelong dream that’s living up to expectations.
“It’s been unbelievable,” Robinson told The State Journal in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “I couldn’t have picked a better situation, I couldn’t have picked a better school for me. It’s been great.”
Robinson, a one-time University of Kentucky commitment, arrived at Nebraska in January after graduating from WHHS in December, giving him the chance to go through spring practice with the team.
“You can tell we had a special one in Wan’Dale right away when he got here in spring,” Nebraska coach Scott Frost said in his weekly press conference Monday. “He had a couple of injuries in fall camp, so I’m not sure we completely saw everything that he can do. We kind of knew that it was a matter of time before he became a weapon for us. It was good to see that Saturday.”
Nebraska trailed Illinois by two touchdowns four times Saturday. Robinson’s 1-yard touchdown run with eight minutes left proved to be the game-winner as the Huskers won 42-38.
An offensive force during his high school career, Robinson asked for the ball during Saturday’s game.
“That’s just the football player in me,” he said. “If a play needs to be made, I figure I can help. I’m willing to do whatever I can to help the team.”
“We talked all week about our team’s response to tough situations since I’ve been at Nebraska,” Frost said at his press conference. “It seems like we haven’t been at our best in tight spots or when the pressure is on. That was the message all week. I wanted guys that would stay calm, do their jobs no matter what situation.
“We found ourselves in one of those situations and two or three times he (Robinson) came up to me and said, ‘I got you. Get me the ball.' ... And he did his job, stayed calm and played well.”
Next up for the Huskers (3-1) is No. 5 Ohio State (4-0) Saturday. The game, which will be played at Nebraska, will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on ABC. ESPN's College GameDay will be in Lincoln, Nebraska, for the game.
While Robinson’s having a great time at Nebraska, there are things he misses about Frankfort.
“I miss all the people I knew at football games,” he said. “I knew the majority of people there, so that’s one thing I miss, especially with football.
“I miss being at home, being in my hometown. I’ve lived there for 18 years.”
But Robinson has settled in nicely in Lincoln, where he’s drawing attention from around the country for last week’s game.
He’s been a scoring machine at every level of football, but his first touchdown Saturday brought out a range of emotions.
“It was a little bit of everything, but mostly excitement,” Robinson said. “I’ve dreamed about it since I started playing football.”