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Nate Robinson Following Dad At Washington
Release: 08/08/2002
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By JANIE McCAULEY

AP Sports Writer

SEATTLE (AP) - Nate Robinson ran his fingers across his chest, feeling the numbers on his shiny new purple Washington jersey.

If he's got anything on his dad after the first day of his college football career, Robinson knows his uniform has to be a lot cooler than the one his father wore for the Huskies in the early 1980s.

"This jersey is kind of sweet," Robinson said.

His dad, Jacque Robinson, was a star tailback for Washington. He was MVP of the Rose Bowl as a freshman and later MVP of the Orange Bowl.

"My dad was a leader and I'm going to try to imitate that. He was one of the best and I'm going to try to imitate that also," Nate Robinson said.

He has a chance to play this season as a freshman, though coach Rick Neuheisel said he hopes his team will be deep enough that freshmen won't be used much.

Robinson, one of a handful of recruits from the Seattle area, could see action on special teams as a punt returner. He also will play basketball for the Huskies and is considering track, too. He's a state record-holder in the 110 high hurdles.

His football teammates have already nicknamed him "Nate the Great," or just "Great" for short. He played running back at Seattle's Rainier Beach High School, but the Huskies have him listed at receiver for now.

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Robinson dropped two passes on his first day, and that brought on his self-inflicted punishment - 10 push-ups for each ball he missed.

His dad has taught him a thing or two about effort.

"He told me to go in there and be myself, act the same and don't change anything, and just work harder than everyone on the team, 10 times harder," Nate Robinson said.

He made a good first impression Wednesday, when freshmen and junior college transfers practiced for the first time. The returning players report Friday and the entire team begins fall drills Saturday.

"He's obviously a much-heralded local player, who if day one is any indication did not disappoint," Neuheisel said. "He's as natural a young man as you'll ever see, he just looks like he fell off the truck doing it. He caught punts at the end of the day and looked like he'd been doing it for a hundred years."

Neuheisel said he and new basketball coach Lorenzo Romar have spoken about how Robinson will fit in with both programs, and the coaches believe it will work out just fine.

"I'm just trying to fit everything into my schedule," Robinson said. "It's all cramped in there in my mind."

He may be interested in an art major. His dad always left blank paper around and he would draw pictures of his toys.

For now, Robinson is going to do his best to make sure his career starts off on a positive note just like his father's did.

"He accomplished a lot. It's going to be hard beating him," he said. "I want to do whatever they need me to do. If they want me to play center, I'll play center."

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