McADENVILLE – When former South Point, NC State and NFL star Koren Robinson decided to host a football camp at the McAdenville Field where he first rose to fame, he was looking to give back to his community .
He had no idea that something was going to be given to him.
So when the McAdenville Dolphins’ camp and youth football officials announced that Robinson’s No.33 would be the very first shirt withdrawn in the program’s long history on Saturday, the second and final day of this year’s camp, Robinson said. been pleasantly and emotionally surprised.
âI am speechless,â Robinson said. “I wasn’t expecting it at all and it’s quite emotional for me to be honored where it all began.”
Robinson played for the Dolphins in the early 1990s on a field that was later named in honor of Gaston County Hall of Fame coach Doug McDonald, who started the program in the 1970s. .
The idea to honor Robinson came from current Dolphins coaches and staff working in Robinson’s camp this year, including Ashbrook alumni Zeek Bigger and Sean Boyd, Forestview alumnus Perry Floyd, alumni of North Gaston Toren Gordon, Gene Neely and Laramey Watson and the former South Highlight Diontrea King, Tanner Muse and Micah Tribble.
âHe was number 33 here and I was chasing him by playing youth football,â said Watson, a 1999 North Gaston High graduate who played Robinson for the Stanley Blue Devils. âBut everyone chased Koren.
“We just wanted to make sure these kids understand that there is a legend here and a former pro Bowler.”
Robinson played at South Point and NC State before becoming the most drafted Gaston County NFL player in history (No. 9 overall) by the Seattle Seahawks in 2001. Eight NFL veteran Robinson played 96 games (69 starts) wide receiver and eventually became the county’s first and only NFL Pro Bowler player as the kickoff return specialist for the Minnesota Vikings in 2005.
County leader in rushing (1,550 yards) and scoring (126 points) to the Gazette’s offensive player of the year honors in his final year as a running back at South Point in 1997, Robinson went on to become a record wide receiver at NC State while winning the 1999 ACC Rookie of the Year award and being named All-ACC and All-American in 2000.
Now living in Raleigh, Robinson hopes to eventually graduate from NC State and become a coach.
This weekend’s camp started on Friday night and ended on Saturday with the help of several former local teammates and Robinson rivals.
“As soon as I contacted them they were excited to do it,” Watson said of the counselors who worked at Robinson’s camp while wearing “Koren’s Krew” t-shirts. “They all have Koren’s number on the back (33) and all are backing him. He had no idea we were taking his jersey off. We’re obviously happy about that.”
Robinson said being at McDonald Field reminded him of his early days in the sport.
While he first played for Mitch Painter with the Belmont Braves, he says he started taking football more seriously when he played for the Dolphins and coaches Vic Redmond, Mike McWhirter and Scott Lee .
âThey haven’t been easy on us,â Robinson said of his McAdenville coaches. “I remember it vividly. But I’m grateful. I really am. It helped me realize that it wouldn’t be easy to be successful.”
Robinson said he wore the number 33 in honor of running back Tony Dorsett of the Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame.
âTony Dorsett was my guy,â said Robinson, the 2017 Gaston County Sports Hall of Fame inductee. “He was just smooth and I liked his racing style.”
As for being the first to be so honored by the Dolphins with a jersey abandonment, Robinson shook his head and offered, “This is crazy. I don’t even know what to say. It’s awesome. I’m so grateful and c ‘is quite an honor. “
Richard Walker: 704-869-1841; twitter.com/jrwalk22