Bijan Business: Robinson’s rising stardom is a family affair.

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as if Laken Litman
Fox Sports College Football Writer

Long time Heisman candidate running back Texas And a general election is expected in 2023 NFL draft, Sesame Robinson Played fantasy football games.

He would cut out pictures from game day programs — of any player, not just rookies — then stick his head on toothpicks or Popsicle sticks. He would set up games just like his grandfather did in real life.

Cleo Robinson hangs around Bijan’s idols for work every weekend, has served as a Pac-12 official for three decades, and most recently was part of the league’s top offensive rebounding team. He was the one who collected the programs to bring to his grandson. Now retired in the spring at the age of 75, Cleo is off the field making his grandson’s childhood vision come true.

“I’ve been around a lot of athletes who are leading college football. Now, ‘Hey, it’s amazing to see my grandson doing these things now,'” says Cleo. “He’s the person I’ve admired all this time.”

Bijan Robinson has always been close to his grandmother, Cleo, a Pac-12 official for three decades. (Photo courtesy of Terry Robinson)

As Cleo plays a key role in igniting Bija’s love of the game, her influence grows stronger – touching every aspect of Bija’s life. Their relationship is closer to a father-son than the usual grandfather-grandchild dynamic. Even Bijan calls him father.

“He loved football and he loved my dad,” says Bejan’s grandmother, Terry. “It’s one of the things that scares me when I see him now. [when he was little] He always throws himself on the ground and says, ‘Find me! Challenging! Catch me!’

“And now it’s the opposite, he hates fighting and does everything he can to avoid being treated.”

Alabama will know how tough it is to tackle Robinson in the matchup between Texas and No. 1 Alabama (noon ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App), though the Crimson Tide already knows it will be a big home assignment.

Alabama vs Texas: Keys to the game

RJ Young joins Geoff Schwartz to break down the keys to Saturday’s game between Texas and Alabama.

“He can do everything,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said of Robinson this week. “He’s got speed, he’s got power, he’s a very instinctive runner. He sets up blockers, he’s explosive, he’s got good hands, he’s a good receiver, they use him in the passing game.”

“This guy is probably as good as anyone in the country.”

With the Longhorns expected to win the Big 12 championship behind Robinson’s rising star this season in Austin, Bijan will rely on what brought him here in the first place: his family.

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Bijan’s grandparents have always been a big part of his life. When his mother, Lemore Saul, became pregnant in college, the family moved to Tucson, Ariz., so that she could continue her education and graduate. They decide to move back home with her parents and raise Bija. Cleo walks in as his father figure.

It was a good development for both of them. Cleo and Terry have two daughters, so the women in the house outnumber the men.

Cleo remembers coming home from work trips, yelling to the girls – who were chatting in the bedroom – that he was home, then seeing Bija’s head pop up and yelling: “Oh my, Daddy!”

“The visible [Bijan’s] It was a face, ‘Get me out of here!’

(Grandfather) Father and (Grandfather) Son bonded quickly. When Saul married, a young Bijan had the option of moving into a new home with his mother, stepfather, and children, or living with his grandparents. He decided to stay in place.

“Cleo is the only father he’s ever known and what young boy wants to leave their father behind?” Terry says.

Football was an early bonding point.

Bijan started playing flag football when he was 5 or 6, running the wrong way for a touchdown the first two times he got the ball. He started showing off moves he saw on TV or at Cleo’s games and soon fell in love with Reggie Bush – the number 5 he now wears at Texas. (In fact, Chloe made the famous “Bush Push” game in 2005.)

Bijan and Terry Cleo attended many of the games he coached, especially with nearby Arizona State. A young Bijan gets so animated that he impresses season ticket holders in their rooms.

“They even got to the point where it looked like four men and they were holding Bijan on their shoulders to give him a better view of the game,” Terry said.

Besides his growing passion for the game, there were also early signs of his vision, one of Bijan’s natural strengths. At Texas, he runs north-south, picks up short yards and rarely tackles for a loss. It’s a skill his grandfather noticed when he first started playing tackle football at the age of 8 or 9.

Bijan Robinson had an unusual vision early on, once telling his grandfather Terry, “I know where I’m going before I get there.” (Photo courtesy of Terry Robinson)

“He said, ‘I know where I’m going before I get there,'” Terry recalls. ‘You do?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, when they give me the ball, I know where I’m going before I get there.’

“I thought that was interesting, but I left it there. Later, when I started hearing people talk about the vision, that’s when I knew that’s what was happening, that it was a gift from God. I didn’t understand it either, but I think that was the point where I realized there was something a little different about it.

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While Terry goes to every single game at Salpoin High School, Chloe is forced to miss most of them for work. But he always looks at replays for the two to spoil Bijan’s performance.

At Salpoin, Robinson became Arizona’s career all-time leading rusher (7,036 yards) and touchdown leader (114) in four years. He became the first running back in state history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in three straight seasons. He was named the 2019 Gatorade Arizona High School Football Player of the Year and 247Sports ranked him the No. 1 player in the running back draft and the No. 15 overall player in the country. The highly regarded recruit chose Texas over powerhouse programs like Alabama, USC, Ohio State and Notre Dame.

He ran for 1,127 yards and 11 touchdowns in 10 games as a sophomore at Texas last year and missed the final two after injuring his elbow in a loss at Kansas. And with the 2022 season underway, he’s a Heisman Trophy and Doc Walker Award candidate.

And as his fame grew, so did Bijan’s business.

Bijan Robinson is crushing Neal’s game.

Bijan Robinson is crushing Neal's game.

Matt Leinart caught up with Texas star Bijan Robinson to discuss his NIL deal as well as his love for legendary USC running back Reggie Bush.

From the beginning, Robinson’s football life has been a family affair, from his mother and grandparents cheering him on at high school games to talking shop with his grandfather. Now his Aunt Clarissa manages his business dealings, which includes all of Neil’s contracts.

Bijan has at least 10 partnerships, including C4 Energy and Lamborghini Austin (although he only drives on weekends and prefers to sit behind the wheel of his truck).

“I try not to blink,” he says. “i am not.”

A spice company recently gave him a deal and named it after his mustard: “Bijan Mustardson: The official Dijon of Bijan.”

“You see him do his thing on the football field, you see it in commercials, you read about it.” “Wow, you think what a great man he is,” says his grandfather. “Then you remember: He’s just Bijan.”

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Robinson hears the Heisman hype and sees it on social media, though he tries to ignore it.

“When you start getting into it, you start believing and then you do a little bit,” he says. “So I’m not into it.”

But he’s feeling more confident than ever, having gone from 213 pounds last season to 222 when he spoke to reporters at Big 12 media days in July.

“Now I can break that extra tackle or make that extra move to get into the end zone,” he says. “I’ve got to get that in my body for this season so I’ll be ready for it.”

Last year, Alabama took a deep look at film, including losses to Texas A&M and Georgia.

“Those groups didn’t back down,” Bijan says. “They went in there and punched them in the mouth and they didn’t quit, they didn’t give up in the third quarter or fourth quarter, they made the dog fight the whole game.

“When you match that intensity and you understand that you have to give that same fire back to them, that’s when the games can go the way you want or they did everything they could to get what you wanted. And that’s what they did and that’s what we have to do.”

Bijan Robinson moved up from 213 pounds last season to 222. “Now I can break that extra tackle and make more moves to get into the end zone,” he said. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

While the Alabama game brings great excitement this weekend, what’s most special to the Robinson family is that Cleo doesn’t miss work. In fact, it will be the first time Cleo will be able to participate in consecutive Bijan Games. Retirement has its benefits.

“When I told Bija [I was retiring]He was likeyes!'” says Cleo. “We always talk after the games, but since I haven’t seen it, we just talk in general. Now we can talk in detail.

“People have a tendency to build it up and build it up, but the good things don’t help you get better. You have to know the bad things.”

That’s what Biajan Robinson expects from my father.

Read more on Texas-Alabama:

Laken Littman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She has previously written for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and the Indianapolis Star. She is the author of “Strong as a Woman,” published in spring 2022 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @LakenLitman.


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