By BEN JOHNSON
Trey McVay annihilated the record books at Northeastern State. The former Fort Gibson standout bypassed Jarrett Byers en route to career marks in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
McVay’s numbers are safe for now. But there is a current Northeastern State football player that is drawing comparisons to the standard bearer at that position — only this time it’s a Wagoner alum.
His name is Jordan Robinson.
“He’s going through the same workouts and offseason program that Trey did before his huge senior season,” NSU head coach Kenny Evans of Robinson. “Now we’ll see if he can do what Trey did.”
While McVay was 5 feet, 9 inches tall, Robinson towers higher at 6 feet, 1 inch. But the similarities are astounding.
Both are from communities not far from Tahlequah. Also, McVay was a husband and a father during his collegiate career, and Robinson on the cusp of becoming both of those.
“I have a fiancé; her name is Amber Walker, and she transferred here with me from ECU (East Central University),” Robinson said. “We also have a daughter on the way. She’ll be here Oct. 19.”
While McVay was the father of Sir Prince, Robinson and Walker will be the parents of Bria Robinson.
“I feel like I have to go out every day and do it for them” Robinson said, talking about his soon-to-be wife and daughter. “...I’m out here doing it for myself, but I’m also doing it for more than just me.”
While Robinson has yet to catch a pass in college, he’s drawing high praise from both Evans and NSU receivers coach Bradley Thomas.
“His commitment to hard work this summer has been impressive,” said Thomas, who joined Evans’ staff prior to spring practice in March. “He’s on the football field every minute that he’s not working. He’s been working on the drills that I’ve showed him.”
In Thomas’ opinion, Robinson’s best asset is his ability to latch on to everything thrown in his direction.
“On thing that he brings to the table is his consistency with his hands,” Thomas said. “I will go out on a limb and say that he is one of the best receivers with the best hands. During spring practices, he always brought his hands to practice and has been consistent with catching.”
While NSU’s rushing attack ranked sixth in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association with 175.7 rushing yards per game in 2012, the RiverHawks’ passing attack was 11th at only 198.4 per contest. NSU’s leading receiver was Jermaine Sherman with 45 catches and 621 yards. Only one other receiver had more than 20 catches (Jahmai Coleman with 40).
Knowing that, Robinson said the pressure is on for almost an entirely new wide receiving group in 2013.
“Feel like there is a lot to prove as receivers,” said Robinson, a soon-to-be sophomore who weighs 185 pounds.
“If you kind of look stat-wise at our passing game last year, it wasn’t the greatest and we didn’t have the best year last year. So we have that on our shoulders, and we have something really big to prove this year.”
Based upon NSU’s initial depth chart prior to fall practice, the RiverHawks will start two juniors (Cruz Williams, Prince McJunkins), one sophomore (Robinson) and one freshman (Steffon Herd) at wide receiver. The position is void of any seniors, and freshmen such as Tank Richmond, Dylan Yazel and Josiah Reed will be counted on to contribute, as well, at wide receiver.
Thomas, though, did mention Robinson’s willingness to grasp the leadership role among the pass catchers.
“When I first met with all the wide receivers, they were all young, and it was a matter of who was going to step up,” Thomas said. “Jordan had decided to commit himself to the process, and we’re hoping that hard work will pay off for him.”
If he does, McVay could end up with company in the record books.