Army's Jamal Robinson one tough back

Glenville (Ohio) High football coach Ted Ginn remembers always telling Jamal Robinson to slow down. But Robinson never did. "He wants an edge on everyone," says Ginn of his former star running back.

Robinson was the guy who stayed late after practices to workout while most of his teammates were at home sleeping. He ran extra sprints and never took a play off.

Jamal Robinson always wanted it. He still does. And if Robinson gains an edge on everyone during preseason he will open the fall as Army's starting running back.

"This is all that I've worked my life for," Robinson says. "It's been a dream and I will keep pushing."

Robinson entered spring drills as one of seven inexperienced players competing for the starting running back job. The other candidates included freshmen Carlo Sandiego, Tony Dace, Jerry Jones and Wesley McMahand and juniors Rick Lay and Michael Herndon.

None of the candidates has had a carry in college.

Robinson began the first day of practice on the bench with a tight hamstring and it bothered him for most of drills. Still, Robinson, who is 5-foot-7, 178 pounds, impressed Army coach Bobby Ross. He ended spring drills in a heated competition with Dace for the position left open by the departure of Carlton Jones, Scott Wesley and Seth Gulsby.

The threesome graduate later this month. As for Robinson and Dace, they will resume their battle during preseason practice with the other candidates.

"It's going to be tight all the way through," Robinson says. "It's going to be neck and neck. I'm pushing and I will have some time for my hamstring to heal. I want this."

Ginn is confident Robinson get the job. He watched Robinson run for 1,000 yards as a senior. He always picked up the tough yards inside.

"Jamal is a tough, tough kid," says Ginn, whose son, Ted Jr., caught 51 passes for 803 yards with four touchdowns for Ohio State last fall. "He's a blue-collar type of guy. Jamal can really get between tackles. He will take a licking and he still gets up every time."

As a senior, several Ivy League and Mid-American Conference schools pursued Robinson. Division I-AA Lafayette also pursued him heavily. But Robinson, who comes from a family of talented athletes, chose Army.

That makes sense. Selfless hard workers like Robinson fit right into the Academy and are admired by Ross. So don't expect Jamal Robinson to slow down anytime soon.


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