It was always expected. Now, it’s official.
Texas Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson announced his intention to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft Monday during a press conference. He will not play with the No. 20 Longhorns (8-4, 5-3 Big 12) during his Alamo Bowl matchup against No. 12 Washington in San Antonio on Dec. 29.
The reigning Doak Walker Award winner still had two years of eligibility remaining due to the COVID-19 waiver. Robinson is projected to be a first-round draft pick and is considered the “safest” running back prospect since Saquon Barkley in 2018.
Robinson said his decision wasn’t an easy one. Despite being considered the consensus top prospect at his position, the Tempe, Ariz. native hoped to bring Texas back to consistent relevancy during his three seasons.
The Longhorns finished 7-3, 5-7 and 8-4 during his time on the Forty Acres. Texas never represented the conference in the Big 12 title game with Robinson on the roster.
Robinson, a true junior, became the focal point of Texas’ lineup following the arrival of Steve Sarkisian back in 2021. He posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, averaging 6.3 yards for his career. He scored 41 total touchdowns, 33 of which came on the ground.
Last season, Robinson solidified his status are the nation’s top runner. He totaled 1,894 total yards of offense and finished second among all FBS players in touchdowns with 20. Robinson also posted career-highs in rushing yards (1,580), carries (280), receiving yards (314), yards per catch (16) and rushing touchdowns (18).
Robinson beat out Michigan’s Blake Corum and Illinois’ Chase Brown for the Doak Walker Award, given out to the best running back in the country each season. Robinson joins Ricky Williams (1997, 1998), Cedric Benson (2004) and D’Onta Foreman (2016) as Longhorns who have won the Doak Walker Award.
He also joins James Saxton (1961), Earl Campbell (1977), and Williams (1997 and 1998) as the only unanimous All-American Longhorn running backs in program history. Robinson is also the first unanimous All-American by Texas since punter Michael Dickinson and defensive back DeShon Elliott in 2017, and the first unanimous offensive All-American since Colt McCoy in 2009.
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Robinson’s best game came on the road against Kansas. Last year, he suffered a season-ending elbow injury late in the third quarter, ultimately factoring into the Longhorns’ 57-56 overtime loss at home. A year later, he totaled a career-high 243 yards on 25 carries and score four touchdowns en route to a 55-14 payback.
“No. 5’s going to be one of the first players drafted,” Kansas coach Lance Leipold said postgame last month.
For his career, Robinson will finish with 3,410 yards on 539 carries and 33 rushing touchdowns. He’ll rank fourth all-time in rushing yards, and tied for eighth in rushing touchdowns.
Robinson is one of three key players to enter April’s draft. Linebacker DeMarvion Overshown officially declared Sunday via his Instagram, while fellow running back Roschon Johnson is also expected to make his announcement soon.
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