The A-Train is pulling up in Provo.

Fueled by a degree he earned in three years at Louisville and built like a box car (6-foot-3, 230 pounds), Aidan Robbins wants to be the steam engine that moves BYU through its first season in the Big 12.

“I’m really excited. I think I will be a great fit in this offense. It’s a physical offense. It allows the running backs to get downhill, to make one cut and go.” — new BYU running back Aidan Robbins

“My goal is to win some games and change my life,” Robbins told “BYU SportsNation” last week. “I’m not going to get into the details, but we are going to win some games this year.”

Physical, fast and tough is how the UNLV transfer describes his game, which is how his BYU predecessors Jamaal Williams and Tyler Allgeier are characterized in the NFL.

In recent years, Kalani Sitake’s program, including Williams, Ty’Son Williams and Allgeier, has become a running back railroad to the next level and Robbins likes the tracks he sees laid out in front of him.

“It gives me a lot of confidence that it can be done,” he said. “I’m really excited. I think I will be a great fit in this offense. It’s a physical offense. It allows the running backs to get downhill, to make one cut and go. I like the blocking schemes and the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as well. I’m just excited to be featured in a very explosive offense.”

Coming out of Manual High in Louisville, Robbins opted to stay home and play for the Cardinals. Despite the recruiting efforts from Sitake and running backs coaches Harvey Unga and AJ Steward, BYU was his second choice.

Robbins was disappointed to appear in only nine games at Louisville over three seasons, but he chugged full steam ahead in the classroom and graduated with a degree in business administration.

With his diploma onboard, the A-Train controlled his destiny and took his cargo of three years of eligibility to Las Vegas.

“It was just about getting the opportunity, getting the chance to showcase my skills and do what I’ve been doing since an early age,” he said. “That’s really all I was missing was an opportunity and getting a chance to showcase my abilities.”

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Robbins ran for 1,011 yards and nine touchdowns at UNLV last season. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry and caught 23 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. Against North Texas, Robbins rushed for 227 and three touchdowns. He ran for 146 yards against Fresno State and 115 against San Diego State and picked up the Newcomer Award by the Mountain West Conference.

When UNLV fired head coach Marcus Arroyo after the Rebels’ 5-7 season, Robbins entered the transfer portal and the Cougars pounced. Big 12 membership, Power Five status and NIL opportunities made his choice even easier.

“BYU was the first school to reach out to me. That meant a lot to me,” he said. “This staff has had a good relationship with my family as well (from previous recruiting). I love the culture and they have had a lot of success at the running back position.”

Robbins is the second transfer to lean on past experiences with BYU that left a positive impression and helped influence his decision. Quarterback Kedon Slovis said his parents fell in love with LaVell Edwards Stadium by how they were treated during USC’s 2019 game at BYU.

“My dad was talking about how ‘that’s the cleanest stadium I’ve ever been in, and they bring ice cream to the opposing fans,’” Slovis said. “That was the thing I took away from playing against BYU was how nice the fans were and how great of an environment it is to play in Provo.”

Slovis and Robbins will get their official BYU welcome when they take the field together on Sept. 3 against Sam Houston.

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“I’ve heard great things about him,” Robbins said of his new quarterback. “I’m really excited to get to work with this guy, build chemistry with him, build a bond and brotherhood and play football.”

Robbins is a big running back who studies big running backs like Tennessee Titans star Derrick Henry.

“I do a lot of research and film watching to try and make myself the best version of myself in terms of being a running back,” he said. “I also watch smaller backs so I can work on different aspects of my game, like balance and getting in and out of cuts quickly. That’s how you get better. You watch how the pros do it.”

While size is on his side today, it wasn’t always the case. As a young little leaguer in Kentucky, Robbins was relegated to the offensive line or the defense to protect the other kids.

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“Growing up I wasn’t allowed to play running back because our little league had a weight limit,” he said. “I would strip down to my drawers to try and get under the limit. They would put a big fat X on the back of my helmet, which meant I couldn’t carry the ball.”

The weight limit was lifted in middle school and Robbins has been punishing would-be tacklers ever since.

His call to Cougar Nation as the A-Train settles into his first week of classes is “all aboard!” It’s now his time at BYU and it’s BYU’s time to play in the Big 12.

Dave McCann is a contributor to the Deseret News and is the studio host for “BYU Sports Nation Game Day,” “The Post Game Show,” “After Further Review,” and play-by-play announcer for BYUtv. He is also co-host of “Y’s Guys” at ysguys.com. 

UNLV quarterback Doug Brumfield hands the ball off running back Aidan Robbins during game against Hawaii on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Honolulu. This fall in Provo, Robbins will be taking handoffs from new BYU quarterback Kedon Slovis. | Marco Garcia, Associated Press
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