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Texas RB Bijan Robinson declares for the 2023 NFL Draft

The standout running back plans to start preparing for the draft on January 2, but still train in Austin to maintain a presence around the team during the pre-draft process.

NCAA Football: Baylor at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

AUSTIN, Texas — In a press conference in Belmont Hall, Texas Longhorns junior running back Bijan Robinson announced that he’s declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft and opting out of the Alamo Bowl.

“It’s been a fun ride here,” Robinson said. “I’ve done everything that I tried to do and God’s plan for me since I’ve been here. I want to thank everybody, all the coaches, my teammates, people back home, my family, most importantly God for just giving me the opportunity to keep growing here as a kid to a man. So it’s definitely been a heck of a ride.”

Robinson arrived at Texas as the nation’s No. 1 running back and the No. 15 player nationally facing significant expectations after a high-profile recruitment during which he chose the Longhorns over the Buckeyes, thanks largely to the recruiting efforts of then-running backs coach Stan Drayton.

An injury suffered on a failed hurdle against Texas Tech early in the 2020 season set Robinson back as a true freshman in addition to a running back room that also included Keontay Ingram and Roschon Johnson. But Robinson’s talent was always bound to break out and he recorded his first 100-yard performance on only 12 carries against West Virginia before two sensational games to finish the season — a nine-carry, 172-yard performance with three touchdowns against Kansas State and a 10-carry, 183-yard performance with one rushing touchdown and two receiving touchdowns in the Alamo Bowl against Colorado.

The outburst in San Antonio was the best rushing performance by a Big 12 freshman in conference history to cap a season that featured Robinson averaging 8.97 yards per touch and saw him become the first freshman to lead the Longhorns in all-purpose yards since Cedric Benson in 2001.

As a sophomore, Robinson became the full-time starter, rushing 197 times for 1,127 yards and 11 touchdowns with another four receiving touchdowns, earning first-team All-Big 12 recognition in the process. Robinson finished third in the conference in scoring (nine points per game) and in total touchdowns (15). In a hard-fought win over TCU, Robinson flashed his upside in registering a career-high 216 rushing yards on 35 carries with two touchdowns.

The 2022 Doak Walker Award winner as the nation’s best running back, Robinson was the national leader in tandem yards with 1,894 (1,580 rushing, 314 receiving), second in total touchdowns (20) while averaging a Big 12-best 131.7 rushing yards and 157.8 all-purpose yards per game. Over the last 10 games of the season, Robinson tallied nine 100-yard rushing performances, including two games over 200 yards, and scored touchdowns in nine of the 12 games for the Longhorns. A consistent big-play producer for the Longhorns, Robinson has 18 plays of 20-plus yards in 2022 (11 rushing, seven receiving), including runs of 78, 42, 41, 40, 36, and 31 yards.

During Robinson’s three seasons on the Forty Acres, he’s cemented himself as one of the best running backs in school history, ranking fourth on the all-time Texas rushing list with 3,410 yards trailing only Williams (6,279), Benson (5,540), and Heisman Trophy-winner Earl Campbell (4,443). Robinson is also fourth in school history in total touchdowns (41, 33 rushing, eight receiving) and tandem yards (4,215), eighth in rushing touchdowns (33) and all-purpose yards (4,231), and ninth in points scored (246).

Robinson plans on remaining in Austin to train at The Kollective starting on January 2.

“They’re really good, but just as importantly, I still want to be here as long as I can and I’ll still be able to have access to Texas and talk to my teammates and the new recruits so they can ask me questions and all that while they’re on their process in the spring,” Robinson said. “So it’ll be definitely be a fun journey, but I’m excited to get the the draft training started and just to see how I elevate my game this offseason.”