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  • VAUGHT: Robinson flips to follow his heart

    By LARRY VAUGHT

    If you had told me in August or September that the state’s most highly touted football player, Wandale Robinson of Western Hills, would play his college football at Nebraska, I would not have been surprised.

    It seemed like every time I talked to him, his affection for Nebraska coach Scott Frost got stronger and stronger. He never said anything negative about Kentucky, Alabama, Ohio State, Purdue or any other school recruiting him, but he always seemed to just light up talking about Frost and the offense at Nebraska even though the Cornhuskers were struggling to win games this year.

    But when it got to October and then November, he talked more about other schools and not as much about Nebraska. When he eventually gave his verbal commitment to UK in a major ceremony in his high school gym, it didn’t surprise me and the video of the Kentucky coaches celebrating showed just how important his commitment was to UK.

    He’s already been named Mr. Football by the state’s high school coaches and the Paul Hornung Award winner from the Louisville Quarterback Club that goes to the state’s top player. He’s been picked to play in the All-American Bowl, one of just 100 players nationally to get that honor.

    But now he’s not going to Kentucky. Instead, Robinson — who ran for 1,973 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2018 and had 725 receiving yards and 11 more scores — flipped his verbal commitment to Nebraska today and then posted on twitter that his recruiting was totally shut down.

    “Throughout this whole recruiting process I’ve always been told, ‘Do what’s best for you. You have to life your life for you and nobody else. Just follow your heart.’ Those words of advice got away from me as my verbal commitment date neared. I got overwhelmed by the pressure from outside influences, the pressure of staying home, and the pressure of trying to please everyone. Most people don’t realize the stress that goes on with recruiting, especially when it’s from your home state and everyone wants you to go there. Staying home is something I would have loved to do, but unfortunately my heart just isn’t there,” Robinson posted on Twitter.

    He obviously knows his flip from Kentucky to Nebraska — which runs a much more wide-open passing offense that Kentucky — will upset UK fans.

    “It was never my intention to hurt or mislead anyone or play any sort of game,” he posted also.

    Robinson told me a week ago that the only way he would not honor his commitment to UK was if coach Mark Stoops left. He told myself and several other media members Tuesday after he received his All-American jersey that he would sign with UK, enroll for the second semester and was still trying to recruit other players to also come to Kentucky.

    Robinson is an explosive, game-changing player much like Purdue freshman Rondale Moore of Louisville who had a great first collegiate season. He could contribute immediately on special teams as a return specialist but could also be a big-time playmaker at receiver immediately as well.

    His high school coach, Don Miller, posted on social media after Robinson’s flip that his “initial decision was made because he cares so much for those who have supported him over the years and wanted to make everyone happy. As time went on, he realized that while his decision made everyone else happy, it never felt like it was the right choice for him.”

    Miller said Robinson decided to “follow his heart” and hopes that others understand he’s a high school student trying to make a “huge life decision” for himself.

    “I am asking everyone else to be supportive, understanding and respectful of his decision. He is, and always will be, one of the best players to ever play the game of football in the state of Kentucky and I hope our state continues to be proud of him and cheer for and support him no matter what uniform he wears,” Miller posted on social media.

    Robinson’s flip comes the same day that Southeastern Conferences coaches named Stoops the SEC coach of the year and one day before Ballard linebacker Jared Casey is expected to verbally commit to UK. A week ago Louisville Moore defensive end J.J. Weaver, another four-star player, also committed to UK.

    Casey’s commitment would give UK 20 commits in the 2019 recruiting class even without Robinson.
    Comments 35 Comments
    1. UKRxman93's Avatar
      UKRxman93 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Darrell KSR View Post
      Way better man than me.
      He put facts in there about things the recruit only said just yesterday in front of Larry and other media members. No spin, those things alone speak volumes without ANY unnecessary analysis or bias. I hope the former recruit learns from this experience and becomes a better person in the long run.
    1. TRUCKERCATFAN's Avatar
      TRUCKERCATFAN -
      This kid’s post is the biggest bunch of bullish!t I’ve seen since we sold all our cattle years ago. He flat out lied to people. If you wanted Nebraska then pick Nebraska. Don’t lie to and deceive people just to win an award. Do things the right way and I’d wish him the best. I wish Rondale Moore the best at Purdue and enjoyed watching him this season. I can’t wish this kid well now. No use for him at all.
    1. Padukacat's Avatar
      Padukacat -
      I was mad then I thought to myself that he’s just a kid, so I really don’t care what he does. Kids screw up. It all works out how it’s supposed to.
    1. kingcat's Avatar
      kingcat -
      "My heart is in old nebraska"

      Not something you will hear very often other than maybe a farmer somewhere in nebraska. Have a good life young man. But, I hate nebraska football (as nothing of a program as it is now) and so I will wish him good luck in school and zero success in football. UK fans owe him nothing.

      Still, good stuff from Larry as always.
    1. CitizenBBN's Avatar
      CitizenBBN -
      Kid can do what he wants, but he totally played this, and that isn't rain he's sprinkling down everyone's back.

      Going where he wants his his choice, but he was a playa on this to get an award, so don't expect any love and loyalty b/c playas don't get those things.
    1. Terry Blue's Avatar
      Terry Blue -
      Larry is introducing Wandale today at the Louisville QB Club where he will accept Hornung Award
    1. UKinLA's Avatar
      UKinLA -
      Quote Originally Posted by Terry Blue View Post
      Larry is introducing Wandale today at the Louisville QB Club where he will accept Hornung Award
      Wonder what his reception will be like. Icy?
    1. KSRBEvans's Avatar
      KSRBEvans -
      Robinson told me a week ago that the only way he would not honor his commitment to UK was if coach Mark Stoops left. He told myself and several other media members Tuesday after he received his All-American jersey that he would sign with UK, enroll for the second semester and was still trying to recruit other players to also come to Kentucky.

      That's what makes this more than the average "in-state player chooses out-of-state school" or even "UK recruit flips" story. I hope I'm not judged on some of the bad decisions I made when I was 18, but at the same time we shouldn't pretend this wasn't nothing, either.
    1. dtalbersjr's Avatar
      dtalbersjr -
      The kid is a liar. Period.

      I understand the decision being hard. I absolutely believe that without any hesitation. But the decision being hard doesn't make it OK to blatantly lie, and being a teenager doesn't make it OK either.

      I've been disappointed in recruiting decisions many, many times. But I've never, until now, resented a kid. I do on this one.
    1. suncat05's Avatar
      suncat05 -
      Quote Originally Posted by KSRBEvans View Post
      Robinson told me a week ago that the only way he would not honor his commitment to UK was if coach Mark Stoops left. He told myself and several other media members Tuesday after he received his All-American jersey that he would sign with UK, enroll for the second semester and was still trying to recruit other players to also come to Kentucky.

      That's what makes this more than the average "in-state player chooses out-of-state school" or even "UK recruit flips" story. I hope I'm not judged on some of the bad decisions I made when I was 18, but at the same time we shouldn't pretend this wasn't nothing, either.
      Does the name Damien Harris ring any bells?
      That's what this was.
      All of that aside, Stoops & staff did all they could. This is not on them.
    1. KSRBEvans's Avatar
      KSRBEvans -
      ^Did Harris say he was enrolling in January and helping to recruit other players to UK? Honestly, I don't remember but don't think so.
    1. dtalbersjr's Avatar
      dtalbersjr -
      Quote Originally Posted by KSRBEvans View Post
      ^Did Harris say he was enrolling in January and helping to recruit other players to UK? Honestly, I don't remember but don't think so.
      No he didn't. Damien Harris did nothing wrong in his recruitment. Wandale's situation is completely different and much worse.
    1. Terry Blue's Avatar
      Terry Blue -
      Reckon we'll soon see
    1. KSRBEvans's Avatar
      KSRBEvans -
      Quote Originally Posted by dtalbersjr View Post
      No he didn't. Damien Harris did nothing wrong in his recruitment. Wandale's situation is completely different and much worse.
      I agree 100%.
    1. catmanjack's Avatar
      catmanjack -
      The only thing Harris did was attend every home game on UK and visit several times.
      Not quite the same.
    1. dtalbersjr's Avatar
      dtalbersjr -
      Terry, I'm fascinated to hear what kinda reception Robinson gets at the banquet today. Obviously I don't think anyone should boo the kid, but hearing there is silence when he's introduced wouldn't bother me at all.
    1. Doc's Avatar
      Doc -
      I guess Im in the minority here but this to me isnt a big deal. Football being what it is, one recuit typically has little effect. Traitor? Liar? Makes no difference to me at all. Do I wish he had sruck? Sure but flipping isn't going to ruin my week, day or hour
    1. Catfan73's Avatar
      Catfan73 -
      ^ I agree Doc.
    1. Terry Blue's Avatar
      Terry Blue -
      Wandale was treated with respect. Overall we've got a baby boom or older bunch of guys. Members obviously weren"t as enthusiastic as they would have been. Very few questions from the group. One big Ky fan asked, " Wandale, have you ever been in Nebraska in the winter time"? He said no and he, along with most laughed.
    1. dtalbersjr's Avatar
      dtalbersjr -
      Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
      I guess Im in the minority here but this to me isnt a big deal. Football being what it is, one recuit typically has little effect. Traitor? Liar? Makes no difference to me at all. Do I wish he had sruck? Sure but flipping isn't going to ruin my week, day or hour
      It's not the flipping that's a big deal. I have no problem with that.

      It's having a 45 minute commitment ceremony, complete with a ridiculous announcement video, then
      -Giving an interview to Matt Jones saying Nebraska is not an option 1 week ago;
      -Having his people call Matt Jones after the interview to complain about asking the question and giving UK fans reason to think he might flip;
      -Telling Larry Vaught he would be signing with UK unless Stoops leaving;
      -Giving an interview Tuesday (after leaking it the night before that he was considering flipping), saying he would be signing with UK in December and was recruiting other players to UK
      -Flipping on Wednesday.

      Changing your mind is fine. Playing those games is not.