St. John’s rising senior running back Keilan Robinson announced his verbal commitment to Alabama Wednesday night via Twitter. Robinson had already been committed to the Crimson Tide for about a week, but decided to hold off on making his announcement public.
Robinson, a four-star prospect, is the No. 1 running back in the D.C-area and the No. 18 running back nationally, according to the 247 Composite ratings. The 5-foot-9, 184-pound athlete had 24 offers from high-major colleges and narrowed it down to Alabama, Penn State, Florida State, Maryland, Michigan and Southern Cal before choosing the Crimson Tide. He picked up an offer from Alabama on Feb. 27 and took an unofficial visit to Tuscaloosa on April 7 before attending camp at Alabama on June 2.
“I feel like I can go there and make an impact right now,” Robinson said. “Their offense, they don’t have a guy like me who can return kicks, catch balls, line up in slot and in the backfield … I am like a Swiss army knife for them.”
Robinson said he had a dream three weeks ago that he was a student athlete at Alabama suiting up for a game and that is one of the reasons why he decided on the Crimson Tide. He also kept in touch with former St. John’s player Terrell Lewis, who now plays linebacker at Alabama. Lewis was “always giving him the inside scoop” about the program and making sure it was always on his radar.
“I am just soaking it all in … it is a surreal feeling,” said Robinson.
Last season Robinson was a key member of a St. John’s team that went 9-2 and won the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship over Gonzaga, 30-7. Robinson, who played with a sprained right shoulder during the title game, ran for 66 yards on 12 carries and caught seven passes for 48 yards. The then-junior was an All-Mets honorable mention for the 2017-18 season.
Ty Johnson, who coached Robinson’s football team at Beacon House, a Northeast D.C. education and youth development organization, said Robinson was “born to play running back,” but he excelled on the defensive side of the ball as well. Robinson credits Beacon House for being “kind of like home” to him with all the other kids and coaches that he was able to interact with when he was young.
“His vision is outstanding,” Johnson said. “His ability to accelerate from point to point he has another level. It is just ridiculous. He has that breakaway speed and he always had it.”
“I think he is a great fit for Alabama. What is interesting is that he was one of those kids that always had it. It has been a joy to see, a joy to watch. He deserves it. He is humble and he is still that same young man.”
When Robinson was 10 years old, he was apart of Beacon House’s Pop Warner junior Pee Wee national football championship in 2010. Robinson played on the same team as current Virginia Tech wide receiver Sean Savoy.
“I like Alabama because he would be playing with a lot of five-star recruits,” said Rodney Cephas, Beacon House’s athletic and mentoring programs director. “. . . Alabama puts him right there at his dreams. He’s just a humble kid. He doesn’t take anything for granted and he’s a hard worker.”
Alabama extended offers to four St. John’s players in the first week of June, including 2019 three-star safety Quentin Johnson, 2020 five-star linebacker Mekhail Sherman, 2020 four-star cornerback prospect Luke Hill and 2020 four-star wide receiver Rakim Jarrett. The Crimson Tide also picked up a commitment from another local, DeMatha 2019 defense back DeMarcco Hellams, on June 11.
In his Twitter post to announce he was making his college decision Wednesday night, Robinson said he was “100 percent confident” in his choice and that he felt like he took the time in his recruiting process to look at every opportunity thoroughly. Robinson also acknowledged his playing time at Beacon House.
“If you would’ve told me as a lil kid playing ball over at Beacon House that I would be in this position, I would not have believed you! I hope to inspire every kid from my city and from my youth organization and show them that we can use the game of football to open new doors in life,” Robinson wrote in his post.
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