Plenty of prospects, some of them high-profile, others under-the-radar, have come and gone in the past decade or so, since the inception of the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl. Still, the talent level across the board on the national scene has been about as good as it gets.
Things don’t figure to change anytime soon, as the hype continues to build for this year’s games: Dec. 16 and Jan. 20 at Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, Jan. 6 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium and Jan. 13 at Atlanta Falcons’ Mercedes Benz Stadium.
To gain a better understanding about the rapidly growing direction of things, perhaps now it’s best to take some time to reflect on the humble beginnings. Therefore, moving forward, the plan is to more closely examine the brand’s many alumni from all over the country.
The topic of conversation is James Robinson from Lutheran (IL). As a member of the Class of 2016, he won the Offensive MVP award with 165 all-purpose yards, 119 rushing yards. In the end, his efforts came up short as West defeated East, 21-14, at AT&T Stadium.
Other high-profile prospects on the field included LSU commit Donavaughn Campbell, Washington State commit Frederick Mauigoa, Illinois State commit James Robinson, Oklahoma State commit Madre Harper, Princeton commit Kevin Davidson and SEC target Nick Starkel.
Nevertheless, Robinson did his best. Little or nothing has changed. The 5-foot-10 and 220-pound senior running back is now delivering for Illinois State and hopes to do so against Central Arkansas on Dec. 7 in a second-round game of the FCS Playoffs at 7 p.m. (EST).
Time after time this season, he’s delivered. Last week, for example, Robinson finished with 297 rushing yards and touchdown in a 24-6 first-round victory over Southeast Missouri State. What can he do for an encore, you ask? We’ll soon find out, one way or the other.
As a junior, Robinson turned plenty of heads. On the national level, no less, doing so with four games of more than 150 all-purpose yards, nearly a fifth. A signature game, he had 202 rushing yards and a touchdown in a 51-3 conference victory over Southern Illinois.
As a sophomore, in 11 games, Robinson opened up eyes and finished with 933 rushing yards, also 12 touchdowns to solidify his role as starter. As a freshman, in nine games, he turned heads and ended up with 322 rushing yards, a pair of touchdowns to earn respect.
Robinson is on pace to finish atop the Illinois State record books, perhaps the top two or three, in several categories. Within reach are accolades for all-purpose yards, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns and total points. That’d be quite a collegiate career.
Beyond that, all signs point to a potential invite to the NFL Scouting Combine, according to the gurus. Playing on Sundays in the NFL is a possibility, as well. Remember and interesting to think about, not long ago, Robinson lined up in the brand’s All-American Bowl in Texas.