Mississippi State’s Josh Robinson Running After His Dream
After one breakout season as the starting running back for the Mississippi State Bulldogs football team, Josh Robinson has decided to forgo his final season in order to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft. This news broke just prior to the Bulldogs 49-34 loss to Georgia Tech in the Capital One Orange Bowl – a game where Robinson rushed for 75 yards on 13 carries (5.8 yds/a).
2014 saw Robinson rush for 1,203 yards on 190 carries (6.3 yds/a) with 11 touchdowns. Robinson’s 6.3 yards per attempt this season was good enough to finish third in the SEC behind only Georgia’s Todd Gurley (7.4 yds/a) and Nick Chubb (7.1 yds/a). Robinson’s two breakout games came against LSU and Kentucky in which he rushed for 197 and 198 yards, respectively. However, in Mississippi State’s two biggest games of the season – at Alabama and at Mississippi – Robinson only managed to rush for a combined 81 yards on 24 carries (3.4 yds/a) with no touchdowns. This stat becomes more troubling to potential NFL teams looking for a running back after the nation witnessed Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliot rush for 230 yards on 20 carries (11.5 yds/a) against the Tide in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and TCU’s combination of Aaron Green and Trevone Boykin ability to rush for 133 yards on 28 carries (4.75 yds/a) against the Rebels in the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl. After Robinson’s hot start to 2014 he failed to record a single rushing touchdown in his final six games – his last one coming in Week 10 against Arkansas.
This lull in Robinson’s production begs the question of why he has declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft in a potentially very deep class of running backs that includes Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Georgia’s Todd Gurley (rehabbing from ACL injury), Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Indiana’s Tevin Coleman, and Miami’s Duke Johnson, among others. Another season spent under Dan Mullen and lined up beside fellow junior Dak Prescott in the Bulldog backfield could have solidified the potential some scouts see when they look at the 5-foot-9, 215 pound running back out of Franklinton, Louisiana. According to ESPN.com, Robinson has said that entering the NFL Draft in 2015 has been part of his plan for a while now, and since he is on track to graduate a year early he believes the time to “count [his] chips” is now.
Robinson has not yet received the draft grades he was hoping for. ESPN’s Todd McShay currently has only two running backs listed in his Top 32 prospects; neither of which are Robinson (Melvin Gordon (#16) and Todd Gurley (#24)). With a number of backs ahead of him, Robinson faces an uphill battle if he hopes to be drafted in the first three rounds as each year the running back position seems to become more devalued during the Draft. Robinson will be relying on an impressive Pro Day and Combine to help catapult his stock entering the Draft. In preparation for the Draft, it is possible Robinson will follow the path of former Bulldogs – and teammates – Vick Ballard, Gabe Jackson, and Johnthan Banks by signing with BC Sports. BC Sports currently represents nine former Mississippi State players and it would not be surprising to see them add their tenth with Robinson.
It is no secret that running backs have a short shelf-life in which to cash in on their talent – as has been demonstrated most recently by Robinson’s fellow SEC standouts Marcus Lattimore and Todd Gurley. Seeing two of his fellow SEC running backs sidelined with major knee injuries each of the last two seasons may have factored into Robinson’s decision to leave early, but whatever the reason is one thing is clear Robinson will be running after his dream against NFL defenses come next fall.