Shrine Bowl Rams

bobby leach

1990 Bobbie Leach

J Jacobs

1991 Joey Jacobs

d bullard

1999 Devellen Bullard

m brown

2002 Martrel Brown

m pittman

2005 Marquel Pittman

JO JO Blanks

2008 Jo Jo Blanks

SEMI PRO RAMS

Joey Jacobs

Lee McCallum

Sean Graham

Ronn Deese

Visitors Since 8/07

mod_vvisit_counterToday27
mod_vvisit_counterYesterday94
mod_vvisit_counterThis week764
mod_vvisit_counterThis month3786
mod_vvisit_counterAll2129125

COLLEGIATE RAMS

Isaac Jacobs UNCP

Steven Jacobs WU

Justin Bullard UNCP

Chase Armstrong
UNCP

Austin D. Locklear UNCP

Dillion Hunt UNCP

Austin C. Locklear
UNCP

Martrel Brown NCSU

Terence Campbell ECU

Marquel Pittman WCU

Kenwin Cummings WU

Cory Locklear UNC

Devellen Bullard UNC

Rodney Hunt WCU

Paul Brooks UNC

Shawn Bridges ECSU

Tommy Tilson WU

Joe Chavis

Ellard Steen FSU

Reginald Oxendine, JR NCSU

Alan Locklear ASU

Kenneth Hall NCCU

Bobbie Leach Chowan

Johnnie Troy FSU

Herbert Pittman FSU

Jarrett Meadors Elon

Larry Sampson WU

Jo Jo Blanks ECU

Marlin Locklear CCS

Malachi Jacobs GC

Welcome

Welcome to the Official Grid Iron Club for the West Robeson football Community

Welcome, this site is the official site of the Grid Iron Club and is intended to be a resource for supporters of football in the West Robeson community. Be sure to keep up with the latest news and information about the West Robeson football programs. All Principals are invited to attend the Grid Iron events. This website is not affiliated with the Public Schools of Robeson County

Click Here
Pembroke's 'JoJo' Blanks 'a perfect example' of never giving up on a dream
Written by Sammy Batten   
Thursday, 30 July 2015
  • Joseph 'JoJo' Blanks

    The former Purnell Swett High standout is making a name for himself at the college level for NCAA Division II Virginia Union.


Joseph Blanks has regained his swagger.

You could see it in the way he carried himself, tall and proud, and hear it in a confident voice last week as he spoke about the upcoming football season at Virginia Union and future career possibilities.

The former Purnell Swett High School linebacker enters his senior year at Union as one of the top players in the NCAA Division II Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The league’s coaches named Blanks to the preseason All-CIAA team, but the 6-foot-1, 240-pounder has set higher goals.

“I want to be an All-American. I want to be the leading tackler in the nation. I didn’t train and put in all that work just to be the best in the CIAA,’’ Blanks said.

The “work’’ Blanks refers to isn’t the typical offseason conditioning and training done by every college football player. For Blanks, it means the failures and mistakes he’s overcome to get a second chance that seemed so unlikely back in August 2011.

Dropping the ball

Blanks enjoyed an all-star career at Purnell Swett, earning Robeson County Defensive Player of the Year honors and a spot in Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas all-star game. He’d continued his football career for two more years at ASA College in Brooklyn, New York, where he attracted the attention of the East Carolina University coaching staff.

The Pirates are led by another Robeson County native, Ruffin McNeill. So it was especially meaningful to Blanks  — JoJo to his friends and family in the Pembroke area — when McNeill offered him a scholarship in January 2011.

Blanks immediately accepted the offer and signed a national letter of intent with the Pirates a month later. But even though he’d earned an Associate of Arts degree from ASA, Blanks still needed to complete about nine hours of classwork at Robeson Community College before he could enroll at ECU.

“He had come back home and at the time there were some tough things going on with his life and family,’’ said Mark Heil, who coached Blanks his final two years at Swett. “His grandfather, who was very important in his life, got sick at the time. There were small children around he ended up having to take care of. He didn’t have access to a car to get back and forth to RCC, or a computer to handle the online class work.

“So all those things kept him from taking care of business.’’

As the summer wore on  and it became clear Blanks wasn’t getting his academic work done, ECU’s McNeill traveled to Robeson County in hopes of motivating him. But Blanks, by then embarrassed by the situation, had retreated into solitude and couldn’t be found.

“Going to a Division I school was my dream,’’ Blanks said. “It was there and then I dropped the ball. That was tough for me.

“I couldn’t watch SportsCenter. I didn’t want to talk to nobody. I wasn’t going out in the community because I didn’t want to answer questions about it. I was at home, I wasn’t training. ... I won’t say I was at rock bottom, but I was very low.’’

A helping hand

James Locklear is the owner, editor and publisher of Native Visions, a magazine devoted to the American Indian community and specifically the Lumbee Tribe, most of whom reside in Robeson County.

Locklear felt a connection to Blanks through their Lumbee roots and football. Locklear had played football at Red Springs High School and later at Fayetteville State.

“I had covered a couple of his games in high school, but that was about it,’’ Locklear said. “When I found out he couldn’t go (to ECU), I saw a chance to reach out and offer a helping hand.’’

So one afternoon Locklear jumped in his car and drove to Blanks’ home.

What he encountered was a young man totally withdrawn from life.

“I drove up to his house and when he came out I almost didn’t recognize him,’’ Locklear said. “He was way out of shape and was up to about 275 pounds.

“He was in a deep depression. But I was determined he wasn’t going to stay that way and that he was going to get into some school one way or another.’’

On Labor Day 2011, Locklear convinced Blanks to start training again. They started in Locklear’s backyad gym, working out six days a week. Some days the workouts included Blanks pulling Locklear’s pickup down a dirt road by his house.

Blanks quickly returned to playing shape, but now needed a college to give him a chance to return to the football field.

“The first place I suggested was Virginia Union because I know the history of the football program there,’’ Locklear said. “Of course, I’m a Fayetteville State supporter because I played there. But it wasn’t far enough away from home. I felt it was better for him to be in a fresh environment.’’

A second chance

Virginia Union, a historically black college founded in 1865 and located in Richmond, is where Blanks got his second chance.

Blanks returned with a vengeance, making 12 tackles in the 2013 season opener against Bethune-Cookman. A knee injury suffered in that game sent him to the sidelines for the rest of the year.

The NCAA granted Blanks a medical hardship, which left him with two years of college eligibility. He responded by ranking second on the team in tackles last season with 52 and earning second-team All-CIAA honors.

“It’s been a long road for me with my ups and downs,’’ Blanks said. “But I’ve finally got a second chance at Virginia Union. Hopefully, I can inspire some kids back home to know they can do anything if they want to.’’

“He is a perfect example of you should never quit on your dream,’’ said Heil, now the head coach at Fairmont High.

Blanks is dreaming even bigger these days. He hopes to pursue a career in professional football after gaining his degree from Virginia Union in business.

“Hopefully, my name gets out there and I can impress some scouts,’’ he said. “Maybe I can get a tryout in the CFL, NFL — whichever door opens at that time.’’

Staff writer Sammy Batten can be reached at  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  or 486-3534.

 
2013 Pembroke Flag Football (1st-4th gd)
Rating:
Views:6575
Category: 
Red Springs vs Union Chapel 5th & 6th 10/9/12
Rating:
Views:7417
Category:2012
Parkton vs Deep Branch 5th and 6th 10/9/12
Rating:
Views:7841
Category:2012
St Pauls vs Union Chapel 5th & 6th 10/6/12
Rating:
Views:7193
Category:2012
Prospect vs Maxton 5th & 6th 10/6/12
Rating:
Views:7612
Category:2012
Parkton vs Union Chapel 3rd & 4th 10/6/12
Rating:
Views:7321
Category:2012
St Pauls vs Red Springs 1st & 2nd 10/6/12
Rating:
Views:7087
Category:2012
2011: Rams vs D. Hillside
Rating:
Views:8670
Category:2011
2011: Rams vs Lumberton
Rating:
Views:8122
Category:2011
2011 Rams vs Hoke
Rating:
Views:7830
Category:2011
5th Heil Show
Rating:
Views:6961
Category:2011-2012 Mark Heil Show
2011: Rams vs Richmond
Rating:
Views:9783
Category:2011
2011: Rams vs Scotland
Rating:
Views:7705
Category:2011
3rd Mark Heil Show
Rating:
Views:6524
Category:2011-2012 Mark Heil Show
Rams vs New Hanover 2011
Rating:
Views:7313
Category:2011
Rams vs Hoggard 2011
Rating:
Views:7423
Category:2011
Rams vs W Harnett
Rating:
Views:7322
Category:2011
2007 Purnell Swett vs AC Reynolds 2nd Rd State Playoffs
Rating:
Views:7349
Category:2007
2011 Rams 56 vs Pine Forest 0
Rating:
Views:8109
Category:2011
2011 2nd Mark Heil Show
Rating:
Views:6278
Category:2011-2012 Mark Heil Show
2011Rams Scrimmages
Rating:
Views:9909
Category:2011
2011-2012:1st Mark Heil Show
Rating:
Views:6445
Category:2011-2012 Mark Heil Show
2010 Final Highlights
Rating:
Views:7465
Category:2010
2010 Rams vs Terry Sanford Playoffs
Rating:
Views:8287
Category:2010
2010 Final Regular Season Heil Show
Rating:
Views:7454
Category:The Mark Heil Show 2010
2010 Conf.Highlights
Rating:
Views:7245
Category:2010
7th Heil Show
Rating:
Views:6485
Category:The Mark Heil Show 2010
6th Heil Show
Rating:
Views:6412
Category:The Mark Heil Show 2010
Rams vs PineForest
Rating:
Views:8023
Category:2010
5th Heil Show
Rating:
Views:6092
Category:The Mark Heil Show 2010
Rams vs Red Springs
Rating:
Views:7953
Category:2010
4th Heil Show
Rating:
Views:6296
Category:The Mark Heil Show 2010
2010 Rams vs South Robeson
Rating:
Views:7963
Category:2010
3rd Mark Heil Show
Rating:
Views:6711
Category:The Mark Heil Show 2010
2010 Rams vs St Pauls
Rating:
Views:7436
Category:2010
2010 Rams vs EE Smith
Rating:
Views:8407
Category:2010
2nd Heil Show
Rating:
Views:6374
Category:The Mark Heil Show 2010
2010 Grays Creek Srimmage
Rating:
Views:7152
Category:2010
2010 Scrimmage Rams vs 71st/Fairmont
Rating:
Views:7283
Category:2010
1st Mark Heil Show 2010
Rating:
Views:6706
Category:The Mark Heil Show 2010
2010 Preseason
Rating:
Views:7018
Category:2010
Pembroke vs Fairmont 2009
Rating:
Views:11961
Category:2009
13th Heil Show 2009
Rating:
Views:7102
Category:The Mark heil Show 2009
Rams vs Lumberton 2009
Rating:
Views:10713
Category:2009
12th Mark Heil Show 2009
Rating:
Views:8162
Category:The Mark heil Show 2009
Rams vs Hoke County 2009
Rating:
Views:9642
Category:2009
11th Heil Show 2009
Rating:
Views:8630
Category:The Mark heil Show 2009
Rams vs Richmond 2009
Rating:
Views:11350
Category:2009
10th Heil Show 2009
Rating:
Views:8552
Category:The Mark heil Show 2009
Townsend vs Orrum 2009
Rating:
Views:11155
Category:2009
Pembroke vs Red Springs 2009
Rating:
Views:12838
Category:2009
8th Heil Show 2009
Rating:
Views:7894
Category:The Mark heil Show 2009
7th Heil Show 2009
Rating:
Views:9646
Category:The Mark heil Show 2009
6th Heil Show 2009
Rating:
Views:7890
Category:The Mark heil Show 2009
5th Heil Show 2009
Rating:
Views:8339
Category:The Mark heil Show 2009
4th Heil Show 2009
Rating:
Views:8560
Category:The Mark heil Show 2009
3rd Heil Show 2009
Rating:
Views:8097
Category:The Mark heil Show 2009
2nd Heil Show 2009
Rating:
Views:8201
Category:The Mark heil Show 2009
2008 end of year highlight film
Rating:
Views:8048
Category:2008
2009 Rams vs 71st Scrimmage
Rating:
Views:8728
Category:2009
Opener 2009 Mark Heil Show
Rating:
Views:8067
Category:The Mark heil Show 2009
T-Shirts Awarded to Prospect Football Team
Rating:
Views:12028
Category:2008
Rams vs 71st playoffs
Rating:
Views:14225
Category:2008
Rowland Ponies  11-08-08
Rating:
Views:9506
Category:2008
Flipping around on the Grid Iron
Rating:
Views:9337
Category:2008
Rams vs Terry Sanford 2008
Rating:
Views:10842
Category:2008
Matt Hunt Tire Flip
Rating:
Views:9450
Category:Misc
Eric Hunt Farmers Walk
Rating:
Views:7485
Category:Misc
Prospect vs Parkton  7th - 8th Grade 2008
Rating:
Views:10316
Category:2008
Prospect vs Townsend 7th- 8th grade
Rating:
Views:11418
Category:2008
Flag Footbal Union vs Prospect 3rd 4th grade 10-18-08
Rating:
Views:7638
Category:2008
The Mark Heil Grid Iron Show week 10
Rating:
Views:9088
Category:The Mark Heil Show 2008
5th and 6th grade Prospect Prayer
Rating:
Views:11049
Category:2008
1st and 2nd Grade Maxton vs Prospect 10-18-08
Rating:
Views:10604
Category:2008
Hardest American Football Tackles
Rating:
Views:6345
Category:Misc
Cheerleading Camp by sweetycheer08
Rating:
Views:5895
Category:Misc
A Year To Remember- #85
Rating:
Views:7685
Category:Misc
Cheer Memories 07-08
Rating:
Views:5964
Category:Misc
PSHS cheer comp
Rating:
Views:5998
Category:Misc
Cheer Sensations & Purnell Swett
Rating:
Views:6052
Category:Misc
Cape Fear vs West Robeson - Sept.1987
Rating:
Views:5878
Category:Misc
2008 The Mark Heil Grid Iron Show Week 9
Rating:
Views:7817
Category:The Mark Heil Show 2008
2008 The Mark Heil Grid Iron Show Week 8
Rating:
Views:7686
Category:The Mark Heil Show 2008
2008 The Mark Heil Grid Iron Show Week 7
Rating:
Views:7549
Category:The Mark Heil Show 2008
2008 The Mark Heil Grid Iron Show Week 6
Rating:
Views:7665
Category:The Mark Heil Show 2008
2008 The Mark Heil Grid Iron Show Week 5
Rating:
Views:7420
Category:The Mark Heil Show 2008
2008 The Mark Heil Grid Iron Show Week 4
Rating:
Views:9636
Category:The Mark Heil Show 2008
2008 The Mark Heil Grid Iron Show Week 3
Rating:
Views:9631
Category:The Mark Heil Show 2008
Flag Football 3rd-4th grade 10-11-08
Rating:
Views:9175
Category:2008
Flag Football 1st - 2nd grade 10-11-08
Rating:
Views:11153
Category:2008
Rams vs SouthView 2008
Rating:
Views:12376
Category:2008
Rams vs Scotland 2008
Rating:
Views:11353
Category:2008
Rams vs St. Pauls 2008
Rating:
Views:11099
Category:2008
Rams vs EE Smith 2008
Rating:
Views:8012
Category:2008
Rams vs Wilm. Ashley 2008
Rating:
Views:10166
Category:2008
Rams vs Hoke 2008
Rating:
Views:7906
Category:2008
Rams vs Lumberton 2008
Rating:
Views:10552
Category:2008
JV Rams vs Terry Sandford 2007
Rating:
Views:5542
Category:2007

Todays Bible Verse

Grid Iron Rams Videos

MIND FREEZE ANSWER

Joey Jacobs 1991-1992

FOOTBALL MIND FREEZE:

Joey Jacobs was the first Ram Football player to receive ALL-STATE honors!

Click here for winners

What You Said

To the brainchilds of this site....GOOD JOB!.

Shawn

NFL RAMS

 

Cowboys 2011-12

NY JETS 2010-11

Kenwin Cummings

8/2011 KC54 interview about #54
9/3/09 KC54 sacks Michael Vick
8/14/09 KC54 gets sacks in 1st preseason game AGAIN!
8/28/08 KC54 leads tackles AGAIN!
8/24/08 KC54 vs Giants
8/18/08 KC54 leads Tackles
8/8/08 sacks Browns QB in First NFL game

 

This website site is not affiliated with the Public Schools of Robeson County.

All content and images are free to download. Please share them with players, friends and family.

Always talk with your family doctor before taking any supplements!

The GridIron Club Does not support the use of DRUGS

Generated in 0.32983 Seconds