BILLINGS — Grady Robison won’t need any extra motivation for his senior football season at Eastlake High in Sammamish, Washington, before he enrolls at Montana State.
Not with the way last year ended.
Trailing 42-17 to Gonzaga Prep at halftime of a Class 4A playoff game in Spokane, Robison, Eastlake’s 6-foot-1, 180-pound quarterback, led a furious rally by throwing five second-half touchdown passes. His final TD came with two minutes remaining, but the Wolves never got the ball back and Gonzaga prevailed 56-51.
“I wasn’t really thinking about it in the moment, but when I look back at it I realize how fun of a game that was,” Robison said during a phone interview with 406mtsports.com. “It would have been that much better if we could have completed it.
“Heading into the locker room at halftime, we didn’t even have a halftime adjustment. It was just all about how hard we were going to work for it. They’re a heavy-run team. It was a really physical game down in the trenches and their line was much bigger than ours.
“So it was just a matter of grit if we were going to get it done or not. We just kept grinding away at it. We just needed one more drive but we ended up not getting it.”
Robison finished the game with 313 yards passing, 153 yards rushing and accounted for six total touchdowns. In spite of the loss, the game put a stamp on what was a solid year for Robison.
Helming Eastlake’s offense, which he said uses shotgun spread/RPO-centric elements, Robison finished his junior season with 1,850 passing yards and 25 TDs, 750 rushing yards and five more scores, and completed 63 percent of his throws. The Wolves, playing in the 4A division of the Kingco Athletic Conference, finished 8-3 under coach Don Bartel.
Robison, who has a 3-star ranking by 247sports and a 2-star designation by Rivals, announced his commitment to Montana State on July 5 via Twitter.
He is one of four to already make verbal commitments to the Bobcats’ 2020 recruiting class, joining Colstrip lineman Trey Yates, Butte Central lineman Aaron Richards, and San Diego area defensive end Sebastian Valdez (who pledged on Tuesday).
Robison said he was originally targeted by MSU defensive coordinator Kane Ioane, who recruits the Seattle area. He was later scouted by running backs coach DeNarius McGhee (a former star quarterback for the Bobcats) and was put in closer touch with offensive coordinator and QBs coach Matt Miller.
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Robison, who also had offers from Northern Colorado of the Big Sky Conference as well as Division II Central Washington, considers himself to be a dual-threat quarterback.
“I can throw, but when the pocket breaks down I can make a play with either my feet or my arm, and my speed is what allows me to do that,” he said. “I’m pretty good at throwing on the run. That’s one of my strengths.
“My speed has always been my best attribute. It’s allowed me to make plays that other guys might not be able to make. That’s how I’d describe myself — I just make plays.”
Robison will join a quarterback position that has been a carousel ride at MSU in recent years.
The Bobcats have added at least one QB in each of Jeff Choate’s seasons as coach, starting with JC transfer Tyler Bruggman and Chris Murray in 2016 and followed by Tucker Rovig (Meridian, Idaho) in 2017, Ex-Oregon quarterback Travis Jonsen, Casey Bauman (Sumas, Washington) and Ruben Beltran (Peoria, Arizona) in 2018, and Blake Thelen (Great Falls High) and John Knight (Colville, Washington) this year.
Troy Andersen was originally recruited to play linebacker when he joined the Bobcats in 2017 out of Dillon, but he was slotted at running back as a freshman and took over at quarterback last season after Murray was deemed academically ineligible. Jonsen has since been converted to wide receiver.
Murray is no longer with the program and Andersen, despite the fact that he was a unanimous first-team All-Big Sky selection and an All-American at QB in 2018, is expected to play more at linebacker this season (though a role on offense can’t be ruled out). So the Bobcats appear poised to use their fourth different season-opening starter in as many years.
That decision will be hashed out in fall camp, which Choate said is scheduled to begin Aug. 2.
Robison, meanwhile, has one more season of high school ball to cherish before he jumps into the fray in Bozeman, though he’s ready to learn and grow once he arrives.
“I just want to soak up everything I can, because it’s going to be a whole new deal there,” Robison said. “I’m going to try to get ahead right away by learning the plays and adapting to a new environment.”
He’s content that he’s chosen Montana State as his destination.
“It’s good to commit early and get it out of the way so I don’t have to worry about anything. That’s really nice,” he said. “I thought I learned a lot last season. Going into my senior year I feel much more comfortable with everything. Overall, I'm happy with where I'm at.”