For the first time since the addition of Johnathan Gray in 2012, the Texas Longhorns have picked up a pledge from a five-star running back prospect in the form of Tucson (Az.) Salpointe Catholic product Bijan Robinson.
Regarded as the nation’s third-best running back and as a top 20 talent overall, per the 247Sports Composite, Robinson has amassed back-to-back 2,000-yard campaigns, totaling 61 touchdowns along the way, all while averaging a first down — 12.3 yards — each time he touches the pigskin. It’s safe to say the elite talent is every bit worthy of his lofty ranking, and Robinson’s film certainly supports that sentiment.
Standing at a stout 6’0, 200 pounds, Robinson’s frame — one which has plenty of room to add bulk — fits the mold of a bell-cow running back capable of banging in-between the tackles, but his rushing style features far more finesse than his size may indicate.
Robinson boasts excellent vision and tremendous burst around the line of scrimmage, and once he crosses into the second level, his lateral quickness and elusiveness is nothing short of an elite level, which allows him to rapidly move in and out of cuts without losing a step. Once he reaches the linebacking corps, Robinson is adept at baiting linebackers into biting before abruptly changing directions, which he does notably effortlessly. When in traffic, Robinson displays a knack for essentially minimizing his frame to slip through even slight slivers of space, and when in space, his aforementioned burst, elusiveness, and lateral quickness make him a nightmare for would-be tacklers, as evident numerous times throughout his film.
Elsewhere, while Robinson’s straight-line speed may be a notch below the top-tier, his sheer burst is so sudden and explosive that it’s almost shocking how quickly he reaches the third level of the defense. It only helps to that end that Robinson’s rushing style is fairly no-nonsense and features very minimal wasted movement.
Each of the aforementioned aided in Robinson securing Running Back MVP honors at the Rivals Five-Star Challenge this offseason:
“Robinson did not participate much in the 7-on-7 portion of the event but he was so dominant during individual drills and one-on-ones that it was not only clear he was the best running back at the event but also one of the best in the entire 2020 class.”
Beyond the fast feet and finesse, Robinson brings balance to the backfield, as he’s capable and willing to lower his shoulder and power through arm tackles — something he’ll likely do more often once he develops further in Texas’ strength and conditioning program. Furthermore, beyond adding a bit more bulk to his frame, Robinson does tend to carry the ball fairly loosely at times, especially once he breaks free into the open field, which is something the Texas staff will surely look to address going forward.
As far as his competency as a receiver is concerned, Robinson’s film reveals relatively little, as he’s hauled in just 18 receptions for 289 yards and four scores throughout the previous two seasons. However, Robinson is regarded not only competent in that category, but as an exceptional pass-catcher with hands as reliable as nearly any receiver in the class.
When the entire package is paired together, Texas is getting a prospect who 247Sports’ Blair Angulo likens to Arizona Cardinals standout David Johnson, projecting the Arizona product as a first-round NFL talent once his days in burnt orange are done.