I recently had the pleasure of interviewing J.R. Robinson, a defensive back for the Delaware State University Hornets. A multi-positional threat, he plays strong safety and roams as free safety, switching to nickel and dime-back when needed. He has five career interceptions – one for a touchdown, and last season, he had 70 tackles, two sacks, and seven pass breakups. He sat down with Locker Room Update to tell us a bit about his experiences playing with the Hornets and his background in football.
Alex: When did you first fall in love with playing football?
J.R. Robinson: Around the age of 5 my late father was football coach for the pop warner team in Irvington, New Jersey (Golden Knights) and even though I was too young to play I would always have him tape my cleats on gameday as if I was going to be playing with the older kids.
A: Who was your role model in football when you were growing up, and who was your role model outside of the sport during your childhood?
J.R.: On the football field I always looked up to Jaguars safety Josh Evans being that we grew up playing in the same town, again Irvington NJ. He would play high school on Saturday’s and I would try to copy what he wore on Sunday’s in my pop warner games. We played the same positions as well (QB and safety).
A: What’s the most inspirational or powerful thing a coach has ever said to you?
J.R.: The most influential thing a coach has ever said to myself has to have been from my father. He would always tell me, “When in doubt just be J.R.” And this to me was a reminder to always have confidence in myself and trust that I can achieve anything on and off of the field.
A: Why choose Delaware State University?
J.R.: At the time the head coach of DSU was Coach Kermit Blount and he just seemed to be a careful guy who reminded me a bunch of my father. Also Delaware was not to far from New Jersey and it allowed my family to see me play.
A: What was your favorite moment or play at Delaware State University?
J.R.: My favorite moment at Delaware State University has to be the very first game of my career. It was my freshman year and I was the nickel back. It was towards the end of the game and we were trying to finish out a victory. On the last play of the game the opposing team threw a deep ball in the endzone as time expired and I intercepted it to win the game. I loved this moment because my father was there and it was actually the last interception he saw me catch before passing away.
A: Who in the NFL do you see as a role model for what you want to accomplish in football, and why?
J.R.: Once again as a role model in the NFL I would have to say my friend Josh Evans of the Jaguars. He’s a guy that I grew up playing with, watched as I grew older and modeled my game after. To the day we still talk on the phone and he passes me knowledge and pointers here and there.
A: Where do you see yourself in five years?
J.R.: On an active roster contributing to a professional team any way that I can. Proving I can play with anyone no matter the stage. Making a name for myself playing the game I love with a college degree.
A: And to close, what’s the most important thing about you off the field that makes you a better player on the field?
J.R.: When I watch football I critique my position all the time. Seeing what someone did that helped them to be successful or what they could’ve done better in any situation to win a battle against another player. Again, my father was a coach so I naturally have that instinct to be as close to perfection as I can and studying your craft is just as important as getting out there on the field and practicing it.