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Sabino, CDO stars coveted by Cats

Citizen Staff Writer



High profile Tucson-area football stars Adam Hall and Jake Fischer signed letters of intent in February to play at the University of Arizona this fall.

If UA coach Mike Stoops has his way, at least two more Tucson football players will be part of the team in fall 2010.

Sabino High School’s Keanu Nelson, a receiver/corner-back/return specialist, and Canyon del Oro’s Josh Robbins, a safety/wide receiver, have received scholarship offers from the hometown Wildcats in the past couple of weeks.

“It was pretty exciting to get an offer from the school my dad played for,” said Robbins, whose father is former UA and NFL defensive back Randy Robbins and is the cousin of former UA defensive back Mike Scurlock.

“They’re one of my favorite schools and I could see myself playing there.”

In February, Ironwood Ridge linebacker Fischer and Palo Verde receiver/defensive back Hall both signed with the Wildcats.

Robbins, who said Wednesday he is 6 feet 3 and 195 pounds, first announced his presence on the high school football stage when he caught a key fourth-quarter touchdown as a sophomore in the 2007 Class 4A Division I state championship game, which CDO lost 23-21 to Scottsdale Saguaro on a field goal with two seconds remaining.

CDO coach Dustin Peace, who was defensive coordinator the past two seasons, said he tells recruiters Robbins has developed into “a phenomenal free safety.”

Robbins said he loves playing safety, but is open to playing receiver in college.

Former CDO head coach Pat Nugent, now head coach at Pima Community College, said Robbins, who high-jumped 6-6 as a sophomore in 2008, is one of the best athletes he’s ever coached.

“At CDO, he is not going to put up the kind of numbers like the Palo Verde kid (Hall, who scored 38 touchdowns last fall) and others,” Nugent said. “The numbers are not going to stack up, but physically I would put him up there with anybody. He has great speed and can jump out of the gym.”

Peace said he’s been bombarded in recent weeks by college recruiters inquiring about the senior-to-be.

While UA is the only one to formally give Robbins an offer so far, the others expected to in the coming weeks after reviewing game film are Utah, Colorado, California and Kansas State.

The list is even longer for Nelson.

The 5-11, 165-pound “Mr. Versatility” for Sabino has already had 10 scholarship offers according to coach Jay Campos. They are UA, BYU, Colorado, Colorado State, Nebraska, San Diego State, Stanford, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Washington State.

“His greatest asset is his ability to start and stop on a dime,” Campos said of Nelson, who has been clocked at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. “There are guys who might beat him in a 100 or maybe a 40, but nobody starts and stops as quick as he does.”

Nelson scored touchdowns in 2008 by rushing, receiving, punt return, interception return and fumble return.

He had 1,051 yards from scrimmage (571 rushing, 480 receiving) and 443 in punt returns.

“Everyone likes him as a punt returner,” Campos said. “Some recruiters we’ve talked with like him as an inside receiver, some as a cornerback, but all love him as a punt returner.”

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