Dudley E. Dawson is a reporter for Hawgs Illustrated. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Hogs make inroads with 2023 prospects
Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman is shown during the Razorbacks' spring Red-White game on Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Fayetteville.
Under Arkansas football Coach Sam Pittman, the Razorbacks have targeted some of the nation’s top prospects.
That includes Arlington (Texas) Lamar 4-star junior Isaiah “Zay” Robinson (6-7, 280 pounds), regarded as one of country’s best junior-to-be offensive line prospects.
He was among the 2023 standouts phoned by Arkansas on Tuesday when college coaches could begin contacting them under NCAA rules.
“I didn’t really know much about them (the Razorbacks) when my coach sent me a text and told me to call them,” Robinson said of his initial contact with Arkansas one month ago. “I wasn’t expecting that call so it kind of caught me by surprise.
“But I have learned about them and the guys they have sent to the league (NFL) so I’m really interested now.”
Robinson, ranked 192nd overall in the 2023 class, according to 247Sports, has offers from Arkansas, Southern Cal, Texas, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Baylor, Oklahoma State, SMU and interest from Ohio State, Michigan and others.
He has made camp or campus visits to USC, Ohio State, Michigan, SMU, Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma, and hopes to see Arkansas in July.
“I really would like to get up there soon, but I am not sure how my summer is going to work out right now,” Robinson said. “I’m going to talk to my parents and see if we have time to go up there. If not during the summer, I would like to get there in the fall to see a game.”
He is happy to be traveling after the coronavirus pandemic prevented it for over a year.
“Just traveling and going to see the different schools is … great,” Robinson said. “Every time we would go somewhere back when I was younger, my dad would take me and my brother to see the campus and the stadium and things like that. My brother is going to college to run track.”
While Robinson has size and strength, he is working on his nimbleness and technique.
“My best strength is just my size in general,” Robinson said. “My arms are kind of my secret weapons. Once I get my hands on someone and get my arms extended, it’s kind of impossible to get away from me.
“One thing I need to work on is the technical side of things like my footwork and staying square and kind of my aggressiveness.”
Robinson believes playing high school football in Texas is beneficial to his development.
“It’s a very high level of football and very, very, very competitive,” Robinson said. “My brother’s senior year, Lamar won all its regular-season games and went three rounds into the playoffs and then my freshman year we only lost one game.”
After going 21-4 the previous two seasons, Lamar was 4-6 in 2020.
Former Lamar player and defensive coordinator Billy Skinner returned to coach the Vikings after spending a season as coach at Irving MacArthur.
Skinner, who had 13 interceptions for Lamar in high school, takes over for Laban Delay, who was 46-23 in six seasons.
“I would say that we are kind of young since we only had one senior on the offensive line last season that started,” Robinson said. “We have kind of been able to build a bond in the off season, which I think is very important and will really help us this season.
“Our new head coach has actually been the defensive coordinator here before so he actually knows the program. I think we have a chance to have a good team.”
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