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Dominique Yates and Jon Hale talk about Wandale Robinson’s decommitment from Kentucky to Nebraska and what that means for UK recruiting moving forward
Jeff Faughender, Louisville Courier Journal

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky football fans who breathed a sigh of relief when Jeff Brohm decided to stay at Purdue because the Wildcats’ in-state 2019 recruiting haul would now be safe were apparently worried about the wrong school.

Four-star Western Hills star Wandale Robinson, the highest-rated commitment in Kentucky’s class and the inaugural winner of the Kentucky Football Coaches Association’s Mr. Football award, on Wednesday flipped his commitment from UK to Nebraska.

The Cornhuskers had originally been seen as the favorite to land Robinson, before a late change of heart led him to commit to Kentucky on Nov. 1.

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While Louisville pursued Brohm for its head coaching opening, Robinson left the door open to considering the Cardinals in multiple interviews. Purdue had been one of Robinson’s other finalists.

But when Brohm elected to stay at Purdue it appeared Kentucky would be able to hold onto Robinson, a top-100 prospect in the country according to Rivals.com.

Instead Nebraska first-year coach Scott Frost turned up the heat again and apparently did enough to convince Robinson the Cornhuskers’ four wins in the last six regular season games were a sign of where the program is headed after an 0-6 start.

“Throughout this whole recruiting process I’ve always been told, ‘Do what’s best for you. You have to live your life for you and nobody else. Just follow your heart,'” Robinson wrote in a note posted to Twitter. “Those words of advice got away from me as my verbal commitment date neared. I got overwhelmed by the pressure from outside influences, the pressure of staying home, and the pressure of trying to please everyone. Most people don’t realize the stress that goes on with recruiting, especially when it’s from your home state and everyone wants you to go there.

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Staying home is something I would have loved to do, but, unfortunately, my heart just isn’t there. I will be decommitting from the University of Kentucky. Coach Stoops, Coach Marrow, Coach Gran, Coach Smith, the University of Kentucky, and the entire UK fan base, I can’t thank you enough for the support you’ve given me throughout the whole process. I regret that things happened the way they did. It was never my intention to hurt or mislead anyone or play any sort of ‘game.’ I am grateful for the opportunities that UK offered and have the utmost respect for the entire program and university.”

At Kentucky, Robinson would have likely assumed a key role from day one with the offense in dire need of an influx of play-making ability at the receiver positions to partner with Lynn Bowden and quarterback Terry Wilson.

UK’s 2019 class includes three other wide receivers: Four-star junior-college transfer JaVonte Richardson, who started his career at Kentucky, three-star Butler star Demontae Crumes and three-star Florida prep receiver DeMarcus Harris.

Robinson’s decommitment also takes some of the luster off of Kentucky’s in-state haul, but the Wildcats still boast commitments from four other Bluegrass State seniors: Crumes, four-star Moore defensive end JJ Weaver, three-star Doss defensive end Shawnkel Knight-Goff and three-star West Jessamine offensive lineman Eli Cox. Four-star Ballard linebacker Jared Casey will announce his college choice Thursday, and Kentucky is viewed as the favorite.

Check this out: Western Hills’ Wandale Robinson wins inaugural KFCA Mr. Football Award

In the end, Frost was able to sell Robinson on the same high-powered offense that led UCF to an undefeated season last year with him as coach.

Despite missing a bowl game, Nebraska ranked 27th nationally in total yards per game (456.2), and freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez finished the season having completed 64.6 percent of his passes for 2,617 yards, 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Kentucky’s offense ranked 101st nationally in yards per game (366.2) but had shown signs of life in its final two regular season games against Middle Tennessee and Louisville.

Jon Hale: jahale@courier-journal.com; Twitter: @JonHale_CJ. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/jonh.

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