By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – Josh Robinson has modeled his game after running backs of a similar mold such as Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice.
So when Robinson’s weight hit 230 pounds last season on his 5-foot-9 frame he knew something had to be done. The sophomore running back at Mississippi State shed 20 pounds in the offseason to get down to the weight that his favorite two pros play at.
“My body has changed tremendously,” Robinson said. “(MSU strength coach Matt Balis) told me I needed to drop weight and get faster so that’s what I did. Not only did I lose weight but I got stronger as well. I’m more conditioned and can be in for more plays. I feel like I can get more out of my body. That’s the main goal to maximize your body to your full potential.”
Robinson is one of five tailbacks the Bulldogs feel comfortable with. He earned his first career start against Alcorn State and has 15 carries for 51 yards on the year.
The Franklinton, La., native serves as LaDarius Perkins’ primary backup and is also joined by Nick Griffin, Derrick Milton and Ashton Shumpert in the backfield. However, that quintet of backs combined for just 38 yards on 14 carries in a 24-20 loss to Auburn over the weekend with Robinson losing three yards on five attempts.
“I feel like we’ve got the best running back stable in the country,” Robinson said. “We’ve got a lot of talent but we’ve got to seize the talent that we have. Every time we get an opportunity to present ourselves we’ve got to come out with a bang.”
State found most of its running success against the Tigers when Dak Prescott carried 22 times for 22 times for 133 yards and two scores. It was the second straight start for Prescott and Robinson feels his addition brings a diverse dynamic to the offense.
“(Prescott’s) more of a runner and Tyler is more of a passer. It’s a different style out there and you’ve just got to have a feel for them,” Robinson said.
The Bulldogs have a game with Troy upcoming this weekend and Robinson hopes to get Mississippi State’s ground attack back going against the Sun Belt Conference opponent.
“Troy’s a little bit iffy,” Robinson said. “We’re going to test their physical abilities out and see how tough they really are.”
Plenty of potential
Robinson has appeared in 15 games during his MSU career carrying 70 times for 386 yards and a touchdown. He led the Bulldogs with a career-high 91 yards in the Gator Bowl loss to Northwestern.
The former three-star prospect accounted for 1,663 yards and 27 touchdowns as a high school senior while leading Frank- linton to a Class 4A State Championship. Robinson received scholarship offers from Louisiana Tech, Memphis, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Southern Miss, Tulsa and Central Florida.