Skip to main content

James Robinson sets NFL record in debut

James Robinson running with the football

James Robinson (Photography courtesy of the Jacksonville Jaguars)

Former Illinois State football player James Robinson (2016-2019) made waves this weekend, breaking the NFL record for most yards by an undrafted rookie running back in a Week 1 game on Sunday, helping the Jacksonville Jaguars come from behind to defeat the Indianapolis Colts, 27-20.

Robinson started at running back for the Jaguars, rushing for 62 yards on 16 carries and adding an incredible 28-yard hurdling catch to finish with 90 total yards on the day.

As a Redbird, Robinson concluded his standout career ranked No. 2 in rushing yards (4,444), rushing touchdowns (44), all-purpose yards (5,218), and total touchdowns (46). The Rockford native was a two-time STATS FCS Walter Payton Award finalist and was selected to the All-Missouri Valley Football Conference First Team three times during his four years at Illinois State. In his senior season, Robinson was a consensus first-team All-American with honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation, the AFCA, HERO Sports, The Associated Press and STATS FCS.

Robinson is one of two Illinois State alumni on the Jaguars’ roster, joining James O’Shaughnessy (2010-2014). Both Redbirds were listed at the top of the depth chart to start the season and were coached by current Illinois State head football coach Brock Spack.

The Jaguars host the Tennessee Titans next at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday, September 20. Kickoff is slated for 12 p.m. CT and will be aired on CBS.