Wan'Dale Robinson makes plays

Wan'Dale Robinson (1) catches the ball during the match against Ohio State at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

It’s rare to earn playing time as a true freshman on a Nebraska football team.

Wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson is one of those few who has played in every game as a true freshman. 

He’s impressed so far, and his performance against Illinois led him to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Week.

“Versatile” and “slippery” are two words that running backs coach Ryan Held called Robinson. 

Robinson’s ability to play running back and wide receiver is something Nebraska coaches have loved about him since the recruiting process.

Standing at 5-foot-10, Robinson’s not the tallest player on the field. However, he finds ways to make up for his height. 

“He’s got great core strength and he’s slippery,” Held said. “He’s very strong and he can get small in the hole and is able to get those tough yards even though he’s not the tallest guy.”

Held isn’t the only coach impressed by Robinson. As early as Aug. 28, offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Troy Walters praised him.

Walters referred to Robinson as a “playmaker” and commented on his versatility. However, Walters mentioned that Robinson’s best asset is his ability to make “wow plays.”

“When the ball was in his hands, he made plays, and as coaches, we said ‘wow'. We've got to get him on the field, we’ve got to get the ball in his hands because he’s dynamic,” Walters said.

Robinson’s confidence and desire to make an impact for the team only adds to his skillset.

“I’ll never not want the ball,” Robinson said. “I’ll never not want touches. I’ll do whatever I have to do to help our team win.”

“Anytime I have the ball in my hands, I feel like I can make plays,” he added.

On the recruiting side, it makes players very appealing to coaches if they have the flexibility to play multiple positions like Robinson does.

Held mentioned that having versatile players gives coaches more options when they’re pressed in certain situations, which only benefits the team.

Robinson’s success as a freshman so far this season also helps coaches with recruiting. It’s a good sign for recruits when they see that they could have opportunities to play their first year.

Held added that their coaching staff played young guys at UCF, and they continue to play young guys here at Nebraska.

“I don’t care how old you are,” Held said. “At the end of the day it’s about knowing what you’re doing, being able to go out there and execute at a high level.”