Player Spotlight: Andre Robinson
When Saquon Barkley runs off the field after a long run, most likely taking a quick breather, it is obvious to many Penn State fans because he is the player to watch on every play.
While Barkley is obviously the superstar of the offense, the production on the field has barely twitched when he is on the sideline. This has a lot to do with the great recruiting James Franklin has had in his tenure so far at Penn State. He has created depth at almost every position with players who are ready to contribute at any time.
“We’ve been able to use a lot of guys,” Franklin said about his teams’ depth. “It helps keep our starters fresh.”
When looking at the running back position, it all starts with Barkley. However, behind him are three running backs that all add an interesting mix to the loaded backfield.
Andre Robinson is listed as the immediate backup to Barkley and also has roomed with the star running back for the last two years.
“He might be a little messy,” Robinson spoke of Barkley. “But he’s a good messy, we get along really well.”
Returning to the football field, Robinson is only behind Barkley and dual threat quarterback Trace McSorley in touchdowns with three so far on the year and two against Purdue in the blowout victory.
It is clear that Barkley is one of the most complete backs in the country and deserves to be on the field almost every play. But each of his backups brings something special to the table and can all contribute in different ways.
Robinson can be easily described as a bowling ball and uses his strength to make plays and pick up tough yardage. He is only 5’9” and weighs 216 pounds, which fits the mold of a power back and could be described as similar to a slightly smaller Mike Tolbert or Jerome Bettis. He has the ability to take on a linebacker one on one in the open field and break tackles because of his low center of gravity.
When asked about his future opportunities, Robinson replied, “Every opportunity I get I try to take advantage of. I am grateful for every chance that I get.” This attitude will help Robinson get more rush attempts in the future.
Robinson is a redshirt freshman, which gives him the same eligibility as true freshman back Miles Sanders. While Penn State fans may not want to admit it, one day there will have to be a team without Saquon Barkley in the backfield. These two backs could form one of the best
One-two punches in the country. The same way Robinson can run over a defender, Sanders can make them fall over and run away in a cloud of dust.
This Nittany Lion team is extremely young, so it is certainly an exciting prospect to look forward to and these backs are who it will be built around. But as this current season continues to unfold, Robinson should continue to be one of Franklin’s first choices to give Barkley a breather as well as someone who can pick up a yard if needed in third down and short.
Brian McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.