J-Rob "Just Enjoying This Time Of My Life"

Why, he’s almost insulted the question is even asked. Almost. But yes, for the record, Josh Robinson has indeed filled out the necessary forms to receive a National Football League evaluation. In fact, “I was the first one to submit my paperwork, yeah!”

Yeah, he did. Never mind how his coach didn’t mention it Friday evening when discussing which Bulldogs are officially enquiring about their projected NFL draft-round status. Coach Dan Mullen did bring up the names of linebacker Benardrick McKinney, and quarterback Dak Prescott. No problem, Robinson responds.

“I didn’t even know Benardrick and Dak turned theirs in,” he said Saturday. “But I know I turned mine in! So you let everybody know.”

Consider the message delivered. Now it is Robinson awaiting the experts’ response before making any further decisions about the future. While there isn’t a strict timetable to hear back from the NFL folk Robinson does know about the mid-January deadline for declaration. It might as well be years away from today, he figures.

“I mean it’s just going to have to come to me. I’m not really worrying about it right now. I’m must playing ball, you know? Just enjoying this time of my life.”

And there is so much to enjoy these Bulldog days, eh? Especially so for this popular pup, who put together a career year in 2014. For his first season as the undisputed starting running back, Robinson wrote a chapter in Mississippi State history—not to mention memory.

In the dozen games Robinson ran for 1,128 yards which already ranks 5th-best ever by a Bulldog. With just an average output (94 yards per game) in the Orange Bowl he would become only the third State runner to top 1,200 yards in a season. And he needs one more touchdown to give him an even dozen on the year, also a top-ten season at State.

Should any wonder…yes. Robinson absolutely intends to make this trip to Miami one for those books. Thus his own insistence on taking as many practice snaps this week as the coaches will allow, when by all rights the starter could be taking it easy.

Not J-Rob.

“I don’t know no other way than this bowl prep. Just because I’m older doesn’t mean I have to sit back and watch the young boys do their job, get better. I also want to get better every day. My motto is be better than I was yesterday, you know? Every rep I try to go a little harder right now than I did.

Now in some ears this could come across as just player-speak. The fact here is Robinson stings from how his regular season ended…or for that matter all of November. After an epochal stretch of success in October, his production trailed off markedly. Then, badly. To be fair his carries were limited in routs of Tennessee-Martin and Vanderbilt so others could take turns toting. A normal quota of carries against those lightweight defenses may very well have let Robinson set the season rushing record.

Certainly the season peaked with that 198-yard, two-TD day at Kentucky, he agrees. “I was at the top of my game at that point, just trying to be JRob you know? Being me and doing what I do, put a smile on other peoples’ faces and running over people.” There wasn’t as much November smiling though; 37 yards at Alabama, 44 at Oxford with no scores in State’s only losses. Why the abrupt and total change?

“You never know. It just didn’t happen. You have to take your hit like a man and move on.”

To be fair those losses also came against the two best rushing defenses Mississippi State faced, teams that could make #13 their target and take chances elsewhere. But if the setbacks shook Robinson up, nah, it doesn’t show at all.

“Teams usually come at me, but they usually can’t stop me! Shoot, just give it to J-Rob, he’s going to make something happen!”

Nope, nothing keeps J-Rob down for very long. Even struggles can’t mute him much or dial-back the irrepressible personality which makes him such a fan favorite. Yes, he knows it, and he assuredly does play to his crowd at every chance.

“I just like to entertain everybody, even when I’m on the field I try to find a way to get the crowd into it. Hey, sell seats, you know?! Sell seats!”

Meanwhile, the offensive coaching staff must make Robinson take a seat—or at least go stand on the sideline—sometimes during these first five days of Orange Bowl camp. Specific installations for Georgia Tech begin Wednesday. Until then Coach Dan Mullen and crew want to get the ball to lots of 2014 backups and redshirts to spend January judging, both for potential recruiting adjustments as well as spring practice planning. And yes, now they must allow for the possible early departure of their leading rushing, too.

So through the first couple of camp-days rising juniors Ashton Shumpert and Brandon Holloway have taken their turns, then touted redshirts Aeris Williams and Dontavian Lee. Robinson remembers how valuable bowl practices were for him back when he was the younger pup behind Vick Ballard and LaDarius Perkins.

“And December is when you have to become your best, you’re going to work on fundamentals just like Aeris and Lee are working on right now. I feel that benefitted me when I was a young cat. To get my wind up, to get plays under me.” So, J-Rob, can you give us a short ‘scouting report’ on those freshmen?

“Aww, you’re going to see for yourself! I ain’t going to have to scout them, you’re going to see for yourself. They’re monsters, now!”

For his part Josh Robinson is having a monstrously fine time after a big breakout season. Maybe, his last in a Mississippi State uniform. Maybe, not. Either way, bowl season is prime time for J-Rob, not to mention his chance for a little career reflection on what has happened with the program just in his three varsity seasons.

“You don’t get this opportunity too much. Shoot, I was looking back the other day at like one of the games we needed. Now it’s we’ve got this, to see the dramatic change from over there to over here. You see change all over Mississippi State and I’m just glad to be a part of that and glad I can do what I do.”


Gene's Page Top Stories