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LELAND — North Brunswick High School’s Jabril Robinson officially became a Clemson Tiger last week, signing his letter of intent in front of about 100 students, teachers and family.
Robinson gave his verbal commitment to Clemson University during a July visit to the South Carolina school but agreements aren’t binding until recruits sign their letter of intent and send it to the school on Feb. 5, known as National Signing Day.
Before signing his commitment letter, Robinson spoke to those attending the signing.
“I want to thank everyone for their support, even if it was just a kind word,” Robinson said. “The teachers and students have all treated me as family.”
Robinson signed his letter of intent sitting next to his mother, Mashariki Greene, and grandfather Harold Greene.
“I am ecstatic. I am very proud and happy for my son,” Mashariki Greene said.
“This was overwhelming. All his life, I’ve waited for this day,” Harold Greene said.
Mashariki Greene said her son took visits to a few schools, including Clemson, N.C. State University and the University of Florida, but Robinson made his decision during a visit to Clemson’s All-In Cookout, where several recruits visited the campus during the same weekend in July.
Robinson said the family atmosphere at Clemson led to his decision to commit to the school July 19, 2013.
“There was a family feeling. It was the people,” Robinson said. “I didn’t know about Death Valley or the hill until after.”
Robinson said his family members loved Clemson as well.
“They made sure I was in good hands,” Robinson said.
Robinson’s mother and grandfather attended the All-In Cookout weekend with him and were also won over by the family dynamic.
“They treated us just like family. We met no strangers,” Mashariki Greene said. “There were hugs, no handshakes.”
Harold Greene said that even though it is a college, it is run like a family organization, which was “a big plus.”
“They (told Jabril) if you commit us, (even) if you get hurt, we’ll educate you. That hit here,” Harold Greene said, gesturing to his heart.
Robinson said he was unsure where he would play on the defensive line at Clemson.
Although he hopes to continue playing defensive end, he looks forward to playing anywhere on the line.
Several recruiting sites list Robinson as a potential defensive tackle.
“I’d like to get in on the action,” Robinson said. “It doesn’t matter if I redshirt, but I’d like to get a feel for it as a freshman.”
Robinson said that a week after graduating from North Brunswick, he will be on campus at Clemson.
He wants to pursue a degree in a sports-related major, possibly sports management.
“I like the academic program,” Harold Greene said. “Football will take care of itself. The education, I like the best.”
North Brunswick head football coach Garry Bishop spoke to the students in attendance about the what Robinson had achieved.
“He is going to an ACC school, a top 10 program in the nation and he will get a great academic education paid for, for four years, which is worth more than $100,000,” Bishop said.
Bishop said in his years as a coach, Robinson is the most highly recruited athlete he has ever had and the first to go to a top 10 ranked football program.
It is the second time in three years one of Bishop’s players has received a scholarship to play for an ACC school. Keilin Rayner signed last year to play for Duke University’s football team.
North Brunswick has had other students receive college scholarships, including Owen Spencer, who played wide receiver for N.C. State from 2007-10. Nick McNeil played for Western Carolina University from 2000-03 and signed as an undrafted free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2004 and later with the Green Bay Packers, then the Washington Redskins in 2005.
Bishop said Robinson earned trips to two bowl games after his senior year.
One was the Carolinas Shrine Bowl, a game between North Carolina and South Carolina all-stars played at Wofford College.
“The most prestigious game on the East Coast,” Bishop said.
The other was the All-American Bowl, played in Orlando, Fla. Robinson was the first player from NBHS to be invited to the All-American Bowl.
Bishop used Robinson’s success to emphasize to the students they could also have success if they set goals and work towards accomplishing them. He said that was something it took Robinson his freshman and sophomore years to realize.
“I saw a lot of potential in Jabril when I watched him as a freshman,” Bishop said.
“He had good feet, good size. I pulled him into the office and told him he’d have a chance (to play football in college). I told him to watch his grades, but he didn’t, so he had to work his butt off to get the grades.”
Bishop said Robinson buckled down his junior and senior years, gaining strength both in the classroom and the weight room.
He also said Jabril always had good character, which made him liked and respected by his teachers, coaches, teammates and classmates.
Brian Slattery is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.