Arizona Wildcats sophomore linebacker Rob Hankins, after one of the first practices of fall camp, talked about how he had to play as a true freshman, perhaps before he was really ready.
“I wish I could have been 10 years more ready,” he said. “But I had that responsibility and I was happy to have it.”
Sadly, Hankins won’t have any more football responsibilities.
Coach Rich Rodriguez talked at his weekly Monday afternoon news conference that Hankins’ was not making an encouraging recovery from a concussion in terms of being able to play football again.
Later in the afternoon, Rob Hankins Sr. posted on his Facebook page that his son’s career is over. (TucsonCitizen.com also confirmed the news via e-mail with his father.)
Hankins, from Parish Episcopal in Dallas, started the first three games of last season and played in 10 games, making 10 tackles. Former head coach Mike Stoops said last year it was almost unfair to Hankins and fellow true freshman Hank Hobson that they got thrown into the deep end so soon, but there weren’t many options in a thin corps of linebackers.
Hankins entered 2012 camp as one of the favorites to win the middle linebacker job after the summer departure of graduate transfer Brian Wagner. But he barely had a chance to play in camp before suffering the concussion.
Early in camp, he talked about his first game at Arizona Stadium last season and running out onto the field before the game.
“At first, when the fireworks went off, I thought my heart was going to explode,” he said. “They didn’t tell me they had those, and I was already amped up. But once I got out there, it was just another football game.”
Here is what Rob Hankins Sr. posted on Facebook:
Rob Hankins’ fantastic football career ended at University of Arizona with a serious concussion. After more than 5 weeks, the concussion symptoms have not entirely resolved. He has worked with an excellent training staff, team doctors, coaches, and neuropsychologists but must now undergo some treatment. The best decision is to retire completely from football. The risks in going forward in football are far too great.
Rob has played a lot of seasons in the last 10 years and had tremendous success playing on undefeated teams, a state championship team at Parish Episcopal and starting four games at middle linebacker for the University of Arizona in the PAC 12 as a true freshman. He and I salute all the wonderful coaches, teammates, mentors, trainers and supporters along this magnificent journey.
Thank you to Coach Rich Rodriguez and Coach Jeff Casteel from Arizona. A very special thank you goes out to a very special coach/mentor in Rob’s life, Head Coach Scott X. Nady at Parish Episcopal. Coach Nady has done so much for Rob and all the kids in his program at Parish.
Rob will continue to support his Wildcat football brothers and his studies in pursuit of a Sports Psychology degree at Arizona.