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Alabama RB Brian Robinson earns a “bigger” role this season

Brian Robinson breaking tackles
Christopher Hanewinckel - USA TODAY Sports

He has been patient, he’s been humble, and now his time has come. 

Despite being a highly-touted recruit in the 2017 class, Brian Robinson Jr. has been second to the five-star in Najee Harris at running back.

A native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Robinson was an exceptional talent at Hillcrest High School and the four-star chose to sign with the University of Alabama.

The 6-foot-1, 226-pounder made the most of a situation in limited action in the last two years.

He’s totaled 437 yards rushing with four touchdowns and averaged nearly seven yards per carry (6.88) on 24 attempts last season with two scores. 

While his size makes him difficult to tackle, it is the way Robinson finishes his runs that has head coach Nick Saban and his teammates excited about this opportunity for him. 

RELATED: WATCH: Nick Saban looking to evaluate in Saturday’s scrimmage

One of the few qualities he has that will remind fans of former Tide standout, Josh Jacobs, is his ability to punish defenders.

During the 2017 edition of fall camp, both Bradley Bozeman and Ross Pierschbacher told yours truly of Touchdown Alabama Magazine that Robinson “runs to seek out linebackers and defensive backs.”

The young man prides himself on bringing the pain. 

After hearing offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian be firm about running the football consistently to balance the attack, Robinson is somewhere smiling. He led the Patriots to a pair of deep runs in the Class 6A playoffs and on Wednesday, Saban said he has “matured” and that Robinson deserves to have a “greater role” this season. 

“Brian Robinson has done a really, really good job in whatever we have asked him to do,” Saban said of the junior. “He’s been in the program, he’s been an outstanding special teams’ player, he’s a really good competitor, he’s got toughness, he’s very instinctive as a runner and I think he has good knowledge of the overall offense.” 

Part of winning one’s way onto the field on either offense or defense is excelling at special teams. Robinson has no problems covering kickoffs or returning kickoffs. Per Saban, if the Crimson Tide did not have the depth it did at running back, Robinson would have played more last season.  

“The depth at the position did not allow him to get as many turns as we would have like for him to, but I don’t think that impeded his development at all,” Saban said. “He’s got great knowledge and experience. He’s been able to play enough to know what it’s like to play in big games and I’m sure he’ll do a great job for us this year.” 

Of course, after addressing Robinson, a question on Trey Sanders came next. 

The five-star from Port Saint Joe, Fla., looked good in the open practice and has been strong through five days of fall camp. He was given a diamond rate of one from Touchdown Alabama Magazine, which means “immediate contributor and game changer.”

Saban sees Sanders as someone who has the ability to make a contribution on this team, but he’s not ready to release it yet. 

For now, Robinson is about to claim his stage.  

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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