Wan’Dale Robinson breaks Kentucky single-season receiving record at Citrus Bowl


Kentucky Wildcats wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson (1) receives his MVP award for the UK vs Iowa VRBO Citrus Bowl football game on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. UK won 20-17. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Barkley Truax

When Kentucky singed Wan’Dale Robinson nearly one year ago, it was with a promise of change from the stagnant offense of old and a leap into the new era of Kentucky football under Mark Stoops and Liam Coen.

Robinson, a Frankfort, Kentucky native, delivered on that promise and is now the program’s single-season receiving yards leader after an impressive 2021-22 campaign. Robinson finished the season with 104 catches with 1,334 yards and seven touchdowns. The previous record holder, Craig Yeast, finished the 1998 season with 1,311 yards before it was shattered during the final drive of Kentucky’s season.

That’s pretty good for someone who played running back at Nebraska before making the move to Lexington.

When Robinson signed, he tweeted a photo of himself in a Kentucky uniform, dubbing himself the “hometown hero”—he can officially claim that title after his late-game heroics to lead his team to their second Citrus Bowl victory in four seasons.

“I just kind of had that mentality of just coming in, work and just do everything I can to help our team win,” Robinson said about his first few weeks as a Kentucky Wildcat. “And then as time went on, they just started trusting me more and more, and so I just tried to do everything I could and everything came with it. But I’m blessed that they gave me opportunities to go out there make plays like I did.”

He finished with 10 receptions for 170 yards. It was a 52-yard reception on Kentucky’s final drive trailing 17-13 that took his team down to the one-yard-line that set up a six-yard Chris Rodriguez rushing touchdown two plays later with under a minute remaining in regulation.


“I got in the ball and then once I turned and saw the corner coming at me—I wanted to make him miss and whoever else is coming to make them miss,” Robinson said about the 52-yard reception. “I don’t really know how to explain it, it’s just more instincts. You just go out there and do it.”

That play alone would have won him Citrus Bowl MVP honors—add the other nine receptions to the stat sheet and the decision was a no-brainer. His 170 receiving yards finishes sixth all-time in Citrus Bowl history.

With Kentucky’s first-year play caller and offensive coordinator Liam Coen finishing his season with historic offensive numbers for the Cats, the three-headed monster of quarterback Will Levis, running back Chris Rodriguez and Robinson in the slot—this is one of the most explosive offenses Kentucky has ever seen.

Kentucky finished the 2021-22 season averaging over 400 yards and over 30 points scored per game and the three aforementioned players were three of the biggest perpetrators to it. With Will Levis already announcing his intentions to return to Lexington for at least one more season, it remains to be seen whether or not Robinson and Rodriguez will follow suit.

“I’m going to sit with my family, talk and sit with them and just figure out what I feel like it’s best for us and that decision, I feel like will come soon,” Robinson said.

When Robinson hoisted the Citrus Bowl MVP trophy, Kentucky fans chanted “one more season” at the junior slot receiver—something he’s sure to take into consideration.