The University of Kentucky football program has a major void to fill next season in the play-making department.
Wan’Dale Robinson has officially declared for the 2022 NFL draft.
Despite playing just one year in Lexington, the Frankfort native delivered a career’s worth of highlights and racked up some impressive statistics in only 13 games.
He’ll also be remembered for his heroics in the Cats’ epic win team is over Iowa in the Citrus Bowl.
Robinson finished second in the SEC for receptions with 104, trailing Mississippi State’s Makai Polk by just one.
He was also second in receiving yards with 1334 — just over 100 yards per game.
In one of his more memorable plays as a Wildcat, Robinson electrified a sold-out Kroger field with a 41 yard touchdown scamper in the first quarter against Florida. Kentucky would go on to beat the Gators 20-13 snapping a decades long home losing streak.
It was one of the many times Robinson seemingly appeared to be not from this planet in terms of athleticism.
To put it simply, there is no hope for defenders when that foot plants in the ground and Wan’Dale Robinson decides he wants to change directions on a football field.
It’s that kind of unteachable talent and elusiveness that made the jump to the pros a viable option for the junior wide-receiver.
Considering the non-stop pressure he put on opposing defenses night-in and night-out — it’s hard to fathom how Wan’Dale Robinson only found the end zone seven times this entire season.
Some may attribute the limited number of touchdowns to his lack of elite breakaway speed. It’ll be interesting to see exactly how he adjusts to the scheme and talent of NFL defenses.
Kentucky fans understand that Wan’Dale Robinson brings a lot more to the table than his incredible skill-set on the field.
He’s not only shifty, Robinson is also a gritty competitor who can mix it up with anyone despite being only 5-11 185 pounds.
It won’t surprise anyone in the Big Blue Nation if Wan’Dale Robinson is putting up impressive fantasy football numbers in the NFL sometime in the near future.
He’s tough as nails and can take a hit — he proved it once again in crucial moment on the final drive of the Citrus Bowl.
Liam Coen and the UK coaching staff had no qualms about him taking hits over the course of a long season. The UK offense frequently called plays that prompted Robinson to catch the ball just a yard or two off the line of scrimmage.
When you have an explosive player like that you have to get him the ball and hope he can find open space.Robinson has proven he’s a work-horse type of receiver during his tenure in college at both Kentucky and Nebraska.
As you probably already know, Robinson originally elected not to stay home and instead chose to play at Nebraska where he was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2019.
Mark Stoops immediately knew adding him to the roster in 2021 would be a game-changer for the program.
“We recruited him extremely hard and tried to do all the right things and make it very difficult for him to say no to us, and that’s our job. It didn’t work out that way the first go-round, but it came back the second time, and very grateful to have him in our program.” Stoops said at SEC Media days back in September.
Longtime Wildcat, Josh Paschal, doubled-down on the praise when asked about Robinson this spring prior to the season starting.
“He’s going to be the truth. I believe that,” Paschal said. “He’s a humble guy. My locker is right next to him so I talk to him a lot. Today, he had a hell of a play. He jumped up between two defenders and caught a post and I was like ‘Wow, he’s going to be a special player for sure.” Paschal said.
The writing was on the wall from the very beginning and Robinson delivered in epic fashion.
Who knows where the Kentucky offense would have been without the services of Wan’Dale Robinson.
He’ll leave with the most receiving yards in one season of any wide out in UK history.
For a unit that sputtered at times, his ability to stretch the field and create some running lanes for guys like Chris Rodriquez.
Now it’s time to say goodbye to the hometown kid who came back to lead the Cats to a 10-3 season and a Citrus Bowl victory.
His four catches on the game winning deuce will go down in Bluegrass folklore.
There’s no doubt Wan’Dale Robinson will be welcomed and familiar face around the for decades to come.
Go get em, Wan’Dale.