Did you know that yesterday was national signing day? You could be forgiven if you forgot, considering the early signing period has really become the core day for recruiting news. But since the window is officially closed for Baylor’s latest class, let’s take some time to chat with one the biggest recruits of the Aranda era. And I mean that by both ranking and size. None other than Isaiah “Zay” Robinson.
One of the foundational pieces for Baylor’s success under the Aranda regime has been the offensive line. Offensive Coordinator Jeff Grimes and OL Coach Eric Mateos have worked wonders in Waco building a tough group up front that can operate the wide zone offense perfectly. Now that they are heading into their third year with the program, they have a defined style that recruits can see, and they are doing a stellar job at bringing highly talented players into the offensive line group. Enter Zay, Baylor’s highest rated recruit in the 2023 class. ODB had the opportunity to speak with Zay to learn a little more about his recruiting, his play, and life outside of football.
Robinson, a 4-star recruit out of Arlington, TX, is a top 50 recruit in the state of Texas, and is ranked as a top 25 tackle nationally. He’s a 6’7” 288 lb offensive tackle who 247 described as having the prototypical look of an NFL tackle, with the potential of being a future NFL draft pick and multi-year all-conference performer. But, we can read his recruiting profile all day, let’s take a minute to learn more about the man.
Q: What was the biggest thing that stuck out to you about Baylor during your recruiting process?
Z: The culture of the team, school, and the city of Waco. I really admire the person over player because it shows that while football is important to the players and coaches, it’s not the only thing that’s important to them which really speaks to me since I’m involved in so many other things outside of football. Also Waco is the perfect mix of big city and small college town, which fits my personality.
Q: Coach Aranda is a unique character in the coaching world. What was your first impression of him?
Z: My first impression of Coach Aranda is that he’s a lot like me. We’re both kinda introverted and reserved which I really appreciate seeing because that’s not something you really see in a football coach.
Q: What’s the skill that makes you the most successful at your position?
Z: I would say my feet. Both of my brothers play corner so as a kid my dad would have me train like a skill player which eventually gave me quich feet, and it’s helped me so much because it makes it harder for guys to try and use their speed to get around me.
Q: As a lineman, do you prefer aggression or protection? Would you run it every down or do you like to keep the QB safe while he’s in the pocket more?
Z: If you watched me play you would say protection because pass pro is probably when I look the best, but I would definitely say aggression because there’s no better feeling than driving someone into the ground or getting a huge touchdown block.
Q: If you got the opportunity to play another position in a game, which position would you choose?
Z: I’d want to be a running back because who would want to try to tackle me? :-)
Q: What’s your biggest motivation? What keeps your motor running in the 4th quarter when you’re exhausted?
Z: My biggest motivation is always my teammates. I’ve had plenty of moments where I’m totally gassed and I’ll just remember who I’m doing it for and it keeps me going
Q: What do you think your biggest challenge will be transitioning from HS to college ball?
Z: I think the biggest challenge will be the intensity of everything. Even though I’ve had some tough days in high school I know it’s nothing compared to what’s in store.
Q: What are you most excited about at Baylor/Waco outside of football?
Z: I think I’m most excited for college life and everything that Baylor and Waco has to offer.
Q: Your Twitter bio mentions Show Choir and Theatre. What’s the best performance you’ve put on so far, and can Baylor fans expect at least one halftime show from you while you’re at Baylor?
Z: My best performance was definitely when I played the cowardly lion in my school’s production of The Wiz my junior year. And I make no promises that fans will or won’t see anything from me.
Q: What’s your favorite non-football hobby. What are you doing if you aren’t at school/work/practice?
Z: I wouldn’t necessarily call it a hobby but watching Netflix or playing video games are some of the things I do outside of school and sports.
Zay is probably the guy in this class I’m most excited about. Offensive linemen deserve way more credit than they get, and there’s nothing better than a good OL highlight of a D linemen getting destroyed. I have a strong feeling we may get more than a few of those highlights before Robinson’s time in Waco is through.