The sun had set, but Ty Robinson didn't feel the slight chill in the air as he sat by his backyard fire next to two Nebraska coaches who had pursued him for more than a year.
Robinson felt the love from all sorts of blue-blood programs. Alabama, USC, Oregon and Stanford were other finalists who sent coaches to his Phoenix-area home for visits every week in December.
But only Husker coach Scott Frost brought all 10 of his assistants for a six-hour in-home visit last Thursday. The move was unprecedented for that staff — and ultimately sold the coveted and consensus four-star defensive end.
So there were Frost and defensive line coach Mike Dawson, laying out their plan for Robinson at the end of their time together. Frost asked if he had any questions.
Just one, Robinson replied: Where do I sign?
"They kind of got choked up a little bit," Robinson told The World-Herald. "They were so proud of themselves — and they should be. They said they never worked harder on a recruit more than me."
Both groups kept the news under wraps until Wednesday, when the 6-foot-6, 285-pound Robinson plucked the red hat with the white block N from a lineup in front of an auditorium crowd at Gilbert (Ariz.) Higley High School. It made official a major finish to Nebraska's early signing period and gave the Huskers an impact player at a position of need for years to come.
"They said I can be a difference-maker coming in my freshman year and really proving myself and starting to rebuild Nebraska football," Robinson said.
Robinson welcomed a parade of coaches through his school and home in recent weeks, including Alabama's Nick Saban. Oregon was a co-leader at one point, with Alabama "2B." But Nebraska got the final word last Thursday.
A "bonus," Robinson said, are his numerous ties to the state. His late father, Jason, and uncles Josh and Jeremy all starred in basketball at Chadron State. His mother, the former Tresha Hill, is an O'Neill native and still has family in the area.
Robinson is the nation's No. 207 overall prospect according to the 247Sports composite and No. 16 among strong-side defensive ends. He will play in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio on Jan. 5 after he logged 74 tackles (34 for loss) this season. He plans to join the Huskers in the summer.
Higley coach Eddy Zubey told The World-Herald that no coach invested more recruiting time than Dawson, who made extra efforts this year to get to know Robinson's mother and grandparents. About Robinson, the prep coach said opposing teams would move their running backs to whichever side of the line Robinson wasn't on. The lineman can pressure the quarterback, clog running lanes and chase down ball carriers.
"He's just a big, powerful, quick human being," Zubey said. "He plays in other teams' backfields, he commands double teams, he's energetic, he works his tail off. On the field he's just a force. You will know where he's at."
Nebraska in January extended a scholarship offer to Robinson, who was among the first 25 players from the 2019 class Frost offered after coming on with NU. He took an official visit to Lincoln for the Michigan State game.
"I feel like I have quick feet and am really good with my movement and mobility," Robinson said. "A lot of coaches really compliment me on that, saying I can really move and am not stiff. And the brute strength I bring, just being 6-6, 280, and being able to move as a big guy."
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