Zone Read: Bijan Robinson’s Path to the Draft – Part I

Arizona Sports News online

Recently the “Zone Read” had the opportunity to catch up with former Tucson Salpointe High star, University of Texas All-American running back, and future first-round draft pick, Bijan Robinson, for an in-depth discussion on his time with the Longhorns, both on and off the field, leaving an even bigger legacy in the Austin community, preparing for the upcoming draft, and fulfilling his childhood dream of playing in the NFL.

Here is the first of our multi-part series, “Bijan Robinson Path to the Draft – Part I.”

Now that you’ve had a little time to reflect back, what will you take away most from your time at Texas both on, and off, the field? “First of all, it’s just been a blessing to have the career that I’ve had there. But really, just the relationships I’ve created on the field, off the field. Texas is such a big place to be, and when you’re an athlete there, you’re just blessed to have so many connections to make, and there were so many people along the way that really helped me to be the man and player that I am.

So, that’s what I took away, mostly on and off the field. I’ve learned so much on the field. I’ve learned so much being a student there, being a young man just trying to find his place in life. That’s what really stood out.”

You always took time in high school to give back to the Tucson community and you made a point to do the same during your time in Austin. How much of a priority was that for you, even with a much heavier schedule being a college student-athlete? “It was very important. I believe that God put me here for a reason, and he blessed with that talent on the field, but it’s really to have the opportunities to go to communities, homeless communities, to go see kids with less fortunate things at their schools, at their high schools, and for me to share myself with them and just be a part of a community where they do watch sports and they do have their favorite athlete, and for me to be a guy who’s just a friend.

They don’t necessarily have to look at me as Bijan Robinson on the field but just Bijan – a guy who wants to help them out. I think that that’s huge and sometimes it’s just bigger than football.

“Most of the time it’s bigger than football because you just feel so many things. You can see the appreciation from them and you can feel that you’re doing something for them or for whoever you’re doing it for.”

How close are you to graduating? “I’m actually very close. I have a couple more classes left, and I think I’m going to take them next off-season, and then graduate with my class next May.”

In a matter of months, you’ll be fulfilling your dream of going from a kid playing youth football in Tucson to making the NFL. Have you let yourself sit back and think about just how far you’ve come? “Yes, no doubt. Man, it’s really cool to see where God’s plan has taken me, and especially from me being from Tucson, Arizona, where it hasn’t been done very often. To see the role model that I am to all kids in Arizona. Pop Warner. High school.

It doesn’t matter what it is, it gives those kids a dream and it gives those kids an opportunity to see guys from their respective state go and achieve something that they can achieve, as well. It’s obviously a blessing that I’m in that position, but it’s more of a blessing to see that other kids can come out of Tucson and know that they can be respected as football players and me being an example for them.

“It’s important for me to show them that can do anything they want, and they can go as high as they [dream]. You know, I was in their shoes four years ago. Just to hear kids talk about it and see it. That’s what’s really sunk in the most for me.”

You’ve already inspired so many but what would you tell that eight year-old kid in Tucson, or Phoenix, or Flagstaff, or wherever in Arizona who has big dreams of being on that big stage one day and playing in the NFL? “I would say just enjoy every moment. Just enjoy it because opportunities don’t come for everybody. I would just say, make sure your character really stands out the most to people.

“Always make sure that you’re respectful to other people. Never be the guy that people look at or want to talk about behind their backs. Always be the guy who wants to be a giver to somebody’s life. Always put a smile on somebody’s face, whether you’re on the football field, or off the football field. Every time somebody meets you, it could be their first time meeting you, and you always want to put a smile on their face. The first time somebody meets you, you always want to make it the best time or they’ll just forget about you. I think that’s the most important thing I’d say the most to the next kid coming up.” 

When was the last time you were back in Tucson? “I was there this past Christmas.”

Were you more recognizable this time around in the Old Pueblo? (Laughing) Yes, no doubt. Everywhere (I) went. They’re really living through me. You know, it’s just really cool to see people back home and everywhere I went, I just saw that appreciation on people’s faces, and that was just really cool to see that and be a part of it, especially because everyone in Arizona has been following me for three years. So, to hear what they’re saying and see the smiles on their faces, it’s a pretty cool deal. It’s a pretty cool deal for sure.” 

Make sure to check out next week’s “Zone Read” for, “Bijan Robinson Path to the Draft – Part II.”