By Gregg Bragg, The Island Connection Staff Writer
Lowcountry native Edmond Robinson miraculously survived football’s “funneling effect.” Most of the estimated 37,000 high schools in the United States have a football team.
There are also several hundred colleges with football programs in the United States, split almost evenly between three major divisions. Including numbers from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and “Junior” colleges pushes the total even higher and most have close to one hundred players. The National Football League, by contrast, has thirty-two teams, each with fifty-three players. Rolling those estimates over in your mind provides a window into the magnitude of St. Johns High School alumni Edmond Robinson’s accomplishment.
Robinson was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings two years ago in the seventh and final round after completing his senior year at Newberry College. The draft itself is a made for television affair one night every year, but the entire process takes days to unfold. Surrounded by friends, family, his agent Cliff Brady, and coach/mentor/Kiawah resident John Olson, Robinson waited for the phone to ring…for days. Expectations were being managed and alternate plans were in the works when the phone jangled frayed nerves. Robinson was selected as the 232nd person out of 253 choices and was the only Division II player chosen.
Robinson’s selection made him one of eleven candidates for six positions with the Vikings. Again, expectations were managed and alternate plans were floated. There are “practice squads” in the NFL in addition to the regular roster. Participants can still make a decent living, stay in the game, and be in the right place until the right time. “He [Robinson] had always been the best player on every team and now, all of a sudden, he wasn’t,” Olson observed.
Tenacity and hard work took over from there, and Robinson is all set to begin his third year in the NFL. He not only made the cut but recently turned in an impressive 4.56 seconds in the forty yard dash. The time beats his previous best of 4.65 seconds, proving some things do get better with age. Robinson wins every way he can; in the weight room, on the track, in meeting rooms and on the field. Asked about the prospects of more time at linebacker this year, Robinson sounded inspired and ready.
“Things are looking good as of right now. I’ve been splitting reps on the first team so, I mean, it’s looking good. The coach says he’s going to give me a chance to win the job. I’m going to keep training so when we get to camp, I’ll be ready,” says Robinson. Right now, he’s training at none other than St. Johns High School.
Asked if ‘NFL types’ just train all day every day Robinson said, “Yeah, pretty much. This is technically downtime, but at the same time it’s definitely not. I trained here last year and I’ll be training at a place up in Anderson in a couple of weeks. While I’m home visiting mom, I’m training with Coach Solomon, my high school track coach, at the high school. There’s a bunch of guys from Newberry and some other local colleges, and we meet there every afternoon/ evening.” Asked if he was worried about that getting out he said, “No. Anybody can join us. If they can’t hang, they’ll figure it out and leave pretty quick.” Getting the word out about his activities at St. Johns High School is actually the whole point.
Robinson wants to give something back to his home town and will lead a free football clinic at St. Johns High School on July 15 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
The clinic is open to all genders and ages 8-18. The clinic will feature conditioning, position drills, 7 on 7 play scenarios, free lunch, awards, and an autograph session with Robinson and the array of NFL players and coaches assisting him.
“Giving something back is important to me. There’s a lot of kids on Johns Island, West Ashley, James Island, and Hollywood that I know kind of look up to me. I’m looking at those guys like ‘those kids are the same as me.’ I always wanted somebody to come back and nobody ever did so I decided why not. I just wanted to do something for kids who’ve never experienced something like this.
“Not too many positive things come from Johns Island or St. Johns High School. Even the middle schools, there’s not really a lot of positive things being talked about. I hope this will be a jumpstart to a lot of these kids. Provide a spark so they can be the ‘something positive’ coming from this area,” enticed Robinson.
The Vikings are doing well enough with Robinson on the team, and he was a hit even during his rookie year. The Viking Age, the team’s newsletter, said at the time; “7th round draft pick Edmond Robinson also has reason to be happy. With the Vikings down to five linebackers, the door is open for Robinson to make the game-day lineup as both a special teams player and a backup linebacker. Robinson popped during preseason and that definitely helped him when it came time for the Vikings to trim their roster.”
Robinson remains humble in the face of success, determined to improve and exchange his brass ring for something more ornate. He visits his parents often and still calls Wadmalaw home. He is anxious to give something back, and to serve as an example for those who come after him.
Visit his page on the Vikings website for updates on stats and information on one of the Sea Islands’ best and brightest.
For more information or to register for the Edmond Robinson Football Clinic call Charleston County Parks and Recreation at 843.795.4386.Tweet