Junior Bijan Robinson averaged 10.7 yards per carry last year and was third in the state with 2,023 rushing yards.

The Star is counting down the top 22 high school football players in Southern Arizona. Up next: No. 2, Salpointe Catholic running back Bijan Robinson.

Name: Bijan Robinson

The rundown: Robinson is a 6-foot, 200-pound junior at Salpointe Catholic.

Who he is: Robinson is arguably the best running back to grace the Tucson scene since Ka’Deem Carey. By the time he’s done, Robinson may have left a bigger stamp on the city than the former All-American.

Robinson admired Reggie Bush as a boy, and so it’s only fitting that he wears No. 5 for the Lancers.

“Reggie Bush is the biggest inspiration to me and that’s kind of why I came here and it’s been a blessing ever since,” Robinson said.

Robinson made the varsity team as a freshman, and flashed his potential as a versatile sophomore. He rushed for 2,023 yards while averaging 10.7 yards per carry and scoring 26 touchdowns. With Robinson leading the way, the Lancers went 12-2. They fell short to Scottsdale Saguaro in the class 4A state championship game.

Robinson even went viral. He cleanly hurdled a Tucson High defender when the Lancers and Badgers played at Kino North Stadium.

Robinson added muscle and focused on speed and agility in the offseason, with hopes of carrying the Lancers back to the state championship.

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Junior Bijan Robinson holds offers from UA, USC and Alabama, among others.

Proof he’s good: 247Sports.com ranks Robinson a four-star recruit and the sixth-best running back in the 2020 class. Robinson holds scholarship offers from Arizona, ASU, USC, Utah, Washington, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Michigan.

He said it: “He looks like an elite Division I running back. He’s growing taller and gained good weight, and is very strong. It’s been a great process watching him mature. He’s ready. He’s accepted the challenge and responsibilities that comes with being an elite player. He needs to touch the ball more and he’s going to take on that workhorse role on our offense. He’s our No. 1 option. He’s very difficult to cover and tackle in space. … College coaches love his explosiveness because in two or three steps, he’s already at top speed.” — Salpointe Catholic coach Dennis Bene


Sports producer

Justin Spears is an award-winning sports journalist and Tucson native. He can be reached at jspears@tucson.com. On Twitter @justinesports.