The Texas Longhorns have one of the deepest running back groups in the nation heading into the 2022 season, but it all starts with Bijan Robinson. The former five-star rookie lived up to the billing in his first two seasons at Austin and has just completed a sensational second campaign that has seen him become one of the most productive fullbacks in the country.
As the focal point of Steve Sarkisian, Robinson rushed for 1,127 yards and 11 touchdowns on 195 carries and had 26 passes for 295 yards and four scores en route to first-team All-Big 12 honors. And he did it in just 10 games before suffering a season-ending elbow injury.
So what does Sarkissian have in store for Robinson this season? The Texas head coach was asked at a Tuesday press conference if he plans to use Robinson any differently in the future than he did in their first season together.
“Without telling our opponents what we are doing, I think as we all know Bijan is a very versatile player,” Sarkisian said. “He’s a guy who obviously has a unique ability to run the game, whether it’s inside tackles or on the perimeter. He can play with power. He knows how to play with speed. He has an ability in one single cut to get upright.It’s a really natural catcher and a really natural route runner.
“So it’s about planning and plotting the game and making sure that we put him in a position to get touches where he can have a positive impact on the game. So of course we would like to continue to l ‘extend, but ultimately I don’t want to take away from the player who I know he is.
Robinson is the headliner of a busy Texas backroom that also includes a pair of accomplished upper class men in Roschon-Johnson and Keilan Robinson, who combined to rush for 891 yards and eight touchdowns on 141 carries last season. The Longhorns also have a pair of talented young fullbacks in the first year in redshirts Jonathon Brooks and incoming freshman Jaydon Blue.
Sarkisian believes that the five members of this group of running backs bring a well-rounded skill set that allows the coaching staff to use each of them in different ways.
“It’s a unique set (of running backs) that these five guys have the ability to be versatile players,” Sarkisian said. “I don’t look at a guy and say he’s a one-dimensional player, he’s just a runner or he can’t catch the ball or he can’t run routes, or he can only run to the perimeter and not running well between tackles. I mean, these five guys are very versatile. And so for us, the fun part is that they’re interchangeable and we can do a lot of unique things with them. And it starts with Bijan , but like I said, the other four guys all have this ability.
A former five-star recruit from Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, Ariz., Robinson was ranked the 15th overall prospect and top running back in the nation for the Class of 2020, according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite. . He was also the second ranked prospect at Arizona State.