Tuesday, October 29, 2019

I didn’t expect this’: WR Stephon Robinson Jr. emerges as key KU playmaker

Kansas wide receiver Stephon Robinson Jr. (5) reaches to pull in a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas wide receiver Stephon Robinson Jr. (5) reaches to pull in a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.


Kansas football coach Les Miles, happily reciting some statistics from his team’s just completed victory over Texas Tech on Saturday night, had to stop himself after reading the stat line for Stephon Robinson Jr.

“Oh, my goodness,” the giddy coach remarked, after saying the numbers out loud.

Two touchdowns, 186 receiving yards, 294 all-purpose yards.

“We knew he had that, OK,” Miles added of Robinson, KU’s emerging playmaker.

A 5-foot-10 junior receiver from Los Angeles, Robinson played and made contributions earlier in the season, as KU’s offense experienced some hazardous ups and downs. Over the course of the past three games, though, his impact reached a new stratosphere.

His flight path first became visible against Oklahoma, when Robinson caught five passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns. After a bye week and a switch at offensive coordinator, with Brent Dearmon taking over, Robinson played a large part in KU’s near upset at Texas, with seven receptions, 67 yards and another two touchdowns. Then came his latest career outing, as Robinson, on just six catches, provided 186 yards and, yet again, a pair of TDs.

“I didn’t expect this,” Robinson admitted this week, when reminded of his production of late.

No receiver in all of FBS has caught more touchdowns in his past three games than Robinson’s six. And with his receptions of 65, 53 and 48 yards against Texas Tech, Robinson now owns three of the nine longest plays on the season for KU.

According to Robinson, he just heads into each week planning to do his job well and “whatever happens happens.”

Actually, that approach is one KU senior quarterback Carter Stanley cited while explaining why Robinson has become one of his “favorite receivers of all time.”

“He doesn’t say a word. He just grinds his tail off every day at practice,” Stanley said, “and his work is coming to show.”

Stanley said between Robinson’s work ethic, football IQ and talent, the has it all.

“He’s a really hard-working kid,” the QB said of Robinson, who now has 30 catches and 522 yards on the season, “and he deserves everything he’s getting right now.”

Earlier this week, Robinson’s name was added to the honor roll for the Paul Hornung Award, given to the player deemed to be the most versatile in college football. Robinson, who became KU’s primary kick returner two weeks ago, had a career-long 30-yard return versus Tech and finished with 103 return yards on four attempts.

A three-star junior college recruit in the Class of 2018, Robinson, who played one year at El Camino Community College, has become a player that Stanley said KU needs to get the ball to as much as possible.

Following his massive output this past weekend, Robinson said it felt “fantastic” helping KU win for the community, alumni and university. On a personal level, though, it meant even more. Robinson said his grandmother, Katherine, died earlier this year and he dedicated that game to his “Nana.”

Every time Robinson scores, he goes to the sideline and points to the sky for her. Robinson said he often remembers spending Saturday mornings with his “Nana” and watching cartoons while she cooked. He keeps a portrait of her in his Bible, and as his college football career is beginning to take off, Robinson said part of what drives him is his desire to make her and his family proud.

Miles is happy to have the receiver as a part of his football family at KU.

“He's a lights-out personality, a great person. He has great ball skills. He's very fast,” Miles said. “I've already got enough sons, but I'd take him in a heartbeat.”

Although Robinson and Andrew Parchment (seven catches, 109 yards, TD) led the way offensively in KU’s first Big 12 victory of the season, Robinson argued some of his receiver brethren, Kwamie Lassiter II and Daylon Charlot, are just as likely to deliver those types of games.

Robinson said Dearmon puts the receivers in position to make big plays with the way KU’s offense is spreading the ball around these days.

“In our offense you can’t focus on just one person,” Robinson said of not only KU’s receivers, but also running back Pooka Williams and Stanley. “If you key in on one person it’s going to open up something else. So going forward, teams are going to have to guard all of us and just respect all of us as playmakers.”


Len Shaffer 1 year, 12 months ago

I can't wait to see what Pooka can do as teams start focusing more on KU's receivers.

Danny Hernandez 1 year, 12 months ago

Len, you’re right. Tech was stacking the box to prevent Pooka from beating them & that opened the door for the receivers. Tighten up the D and special teams, & we’ve got us an exciting finish to the season. Coach Miles said the teams best play is coming up

Dane Pratt 1 year, 12 months ago

Stephon had an unbelievable game but as noted above, Pooka should get the nomination for best supporting athlete. The tech defense was so intent on stopping him it opened the door for our receivers. 21 carries for 69 yards, but those had to be the hardest yards he's ever rushed for. Check out the first down run he got with about 12 to go in the fourth. Unreal.

Steve Grimm 1 year, 12 months ago

I am DIGGIN' all this!!! Folks! We have finally realized talent on this team! And (sadly) it has been with us. It just took the right prospector who knew how to uncover this hidden gold.

I LOVE that we are no longer talking about just one player but many. Now KU is a threat because teams can't key off of a single dimension of our game. (How long has it been since we can say that?)

Hey, I am simply GROOVING on the fact that these guys are talking bowl games. HCLM has already made systemic changes to the KU culture where we are dreaming of winning and achieving again. Even if we don't become bowl eligible this year, all indicators point UP!

Hats off to these kids and this staff.

This is what hope is like....

Gerry Butler 1 year, 12 months ago

Why? - - -of course you want Pooka involved - - we all love him BUT Dearmon knows what's up , Pooka had 21 touches - -just carrying the ball , doesn't account for if the had any receptions or targeted pass. - I think I'll run with what Dearmon's calling - -seems to be working just fine - we have found out we have more talent then just Pooka - - so use it - -for sure we want Pooka touch's - we know every time he touch's the ball could but loose , finding out just about anytime our receivers get their hands on the ball - - -THEY can bust it - might as well take them all doesn't matter to me as long as it's SIX. - - ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

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