By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLEIt’s hard not to watch Josh Robinson. His play and his personality demand it. So I was watching Robinson closely all last week as Mississippi State practiced in preparation for its Jan. 1 Gator Bowl date with No. 21 Northwestern. The first few practices emphasized youth, so we got to see a lot of Robinson, a redshirt freshman tailback.
Every day I saw him, the 5-foot-9, 215-pounder affectionately known as “Bowling Ball” ran like you would expect a first-team tailback to run against a defense full of backups. Only, Robinson is a backup, too.
He’s second on the team in rushing, with 244 yards and a touchdown on 48 carries. His combination of power and speed make Robinson an impressive prospect, a guy who could be a starter someday.
He’s already preparing himself for such a role.
“I feel that my role in the future is going to be a motivator and an inspiration to the team,” he said. “I can get on the field and do work, and then I can help somebody do better themselves. It’s not just about me, it’s about the whole team.”
So not only is Robinson talented, he’s likable. And quot-able, which makes me happy.
His energy level never seems to drop, on or off the field. He brings a little pizzazz to the game, too, like when he scored a touchdown in practice on Friday and then handed the ball to a reporter.
“That’s just his personality. That’s what he brings to practice, he brings that excitement, brings that energy,” said backup quarterback Dak Prescott, also a redshirt freshman.
“He’s always had that, had it in recruiting, has it all the time,” head coach Dan Mullen said. “He loves to play, but he’s that excited about life.”
In his first season at the SEC level, Robinson has shown no signs of slowing down. He said he hit the freshman wall, but I could never tell.
‘I’ve been blessed’
“Yeah, everybody hits that wall where they want to quit, but just like I said, God gave me a blessing, He gave me a talent, so why not use it and inspire everybody every day? Because you don’t know how somebody’s day is going.
“That’s my personality, and I’ve just got to bless somebody else because I’ve been blessed.”
Robinson reminds me – and others – a bit of former MSU tailback Anthony Dixon, who’s just as loquacious and fun-loving. Both have a boundless enthusiasm for life and football, and it’s infectious.
“He’s one of a kind, on the field and off the field,” Prescott said. “Josh is something special.”
Brad Locke (firstname.lastname@example.org) covers MSU for the Daily Journal and blogs daily at DJournal.com.