College Sports

Former local high school standouts become impact freshmen

Many college football coaches don’t allow interviews with first-year players.

That hasn’t stopped several former local high school standouts from making statements.

At Alabama, A’Shawn Robinson has become the next elite defensive tackle for the No. 1 Crimson Tide.

Robinson, a top recruit out of Fort Worth Arlington Heights, has played in all 10 games for Alabama and leads the team with five sacks, a rarity for a true freshman playing for Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban.

Saban named Robinson one of his defensive players of the week after Robinson had five total tackles in a 20-7 win against Mississippi State on Saturday.

Robinson is seventh on the team with 28 total tackles, 14 solo, and has six tackles for loss. Robinson and Alabama play Chattanooga at home this week before finishing the season at No. 6 Auburn.

At Texas State, a team that has become bowl eligible in just its second season as an FBS program, another former local player has become a first-year star.

Tyler Jones, who played at Stephenville, has taken over as the Bobcats’ top quarterback after starting the year in a rotation.

Jones has thrown for 1,026 yards and has completed 86 of his 135 passes with seven touchdowns and just four interceptions. He has also been a big part of the Bobcats’ ground game with 274 rushing yards.

After Texas State defeated Idaho on the road to reach six wins, Bobcats coach Dennis Franchione said Jones may be a freshman, but he “plays with a lot of moxie.”

At Oklahoma State, former Arlington Martin kicker Ben Grogan, like Robinson and Jones, has become an impact player.

Grogan leads the No. 10 Cowboys in scoring with 80 total points. He is 53-for-54 kicking extra points and has made 9 of his 15 field-goal attempts.

Grogan, who has had two of his field-goal attempts blocked, kicked a 41-yard field goal in a win against Texas Tech and made his only attempt (39) in the Cowboys’ 38-13 win at Texas last week. Earlier this season, Grogan made four field goals in a 33-29 win against Kansas State.

Oklahoma State will play No. 4 Baylor at home Saturday in a matchup that will help determine the Big 12 championship.

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