Wan’Dale Robinson has been doubted ever since he began playing football at the age of 5, an underage player using an assumed name so he could participate in a tackle football league he wasn’t eligible for.
The 5’8, 185-pound Robinson has always been small. His dad, Dale Robinson, always told to believe “you are the best” player on the field no matter who was bigger or stronger.
Robinson has often been exactly that, despite his stature.
When Robinson wanted to train with Division I-caliber athletes as a high school kid, Chris Vaughn, CEO of Aspirations Fitness Institute in Kentucky, didn’t think Robinson had what it took to stick with his program. He was wrong.
When Kentucky was recruiting him as a high school player, Wildcats recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow did not believe a player as tiny as Robinson could dominate in the SEC. He did.
When the Giants drafted him No. 43 overall, picking him over receivers like Skyy Moore and George Pickens, and a highly-regarded tight end like Trey McBride, many questioned what GM Joe Schoen saw in Robinson.
Beginning Sunday, Robinson gets to begin trying to show the NFL world that Schoen was right.
“It’ll be a lot of emotions. I’ll be excited. I’ll be a little bit nervous, I’m sure,” Robinson said. “But at the end of the day, it’s just playing football and can’t worry too much about that got a job to do.”
The Giants will be in Tennessee this weekend to face the Titans. That means Robinson’s debut will come within driving distance of Frankfort, Ky., where he was born.
It also means Robinson needs tickets. Lots of tickets.
“I’ve heard from a lot of people so I can’t even — more than I can count on both hands,” Robinson said. “So, it’ll be it’ll be quite a bit.”
Robinson was heavily targeted in the passing attack early in training camp. He caught only four passes for 1 measly yard, however, in three preseason games.
What did he learn about the NFL throughout the preseason?
“You really see it’s a business and this is really a job and each and every day, you really have to come out and earn it and just do what you’re supposed to do each and every day,” he said.
If he has any specific goals in mind, Robinson is not giving us a hint.
‘I’m just comfortable with whatever they asked me to do. I’m just really just trying to do whatever I can to help our team win. I’m not going to sit here and say, I’m going to do so many things and whatnot,” Robinson said. “So just everything that I can do to help us win is all I’m going to do.
‘I didn’t [set goals]. I’ve never been a goal person. Just always going out there trying to do my job and whatever comes comes.”
Schoen said from the beginning that he had a “very clear vision” for how the Giants would use Robinson.
Beginning Sunday, that vision likely includes getting the ball into his hands in a variety of ways and hoping he can work magic with it once that happens.