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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Robert Jones, OL, Middle Tennessee State

Robert Jones Middle Tennessee State 2021 NFL Draft
Robert Jones is a mauler on the Middle Tennessee State offensive line that was recently named to the East-West Shrine Bowl. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.

Talk about your experience as a student. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
I started at Highland Community College out in Kansas. I got my associate degree there. I was later blessed to get the opportunity to come to Middle Tennessee. I am a Sports Management major and scheduled to graduate this upcoming Spring.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
My teammates would say that I’m always happy, joyful and positive. Having good energy rubs off on people. Growing up was hard, and I’m grateful for the position that I’m in.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I see myself as a team player and a leader. I don’t do too much talking. I’m a good listener and I lead by example. When I work hard, the people behind me will see that and hopefully do the same.

I feel that I can play any scheme. While in JUCO, I played left guard. Here at Middle Tennessee, I played right tackle. I can play position at the next level. I haven’t really played center, but I know I can learn it if I had to.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
Western Kentucky’s Edge Rusher, DeAngelo Malone, gave me the best work. He’s probably the best player that I’ve faced. He has good technique.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
There’s so many players on my team that impress me that are amazing athletes. Reed Blankenship is a phenomenal player and an amazing leader. DQ Thomas is another great leader on our defense. He works hard, has a great motor and sets the tone. Jarrin Pierce is a hard worker who came onto the team last year from JUCO. He’s had a breakout year and turned a lot of heads. I have to mention our QB, Asher O’Hare, who’s done some special things. He’s a good player who puts in the work day in and day out. He can throw the ball well and can break a long run if you don’t watch out.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
I had a rough upcoming growing up in the city of Chicago. My biggest struggle was going out to the middle of nowhere in Kansas playing JUCO. It wasn’t the most comfortable place to play for people of color. We had a lot of people judging us off the field. There were things that we had to go through that were just racist like being asked to cut our dreads. Needless to say, that the program got a new Athletic Director. There was a time when I went home and almost quit football. But after talking to my family, I realized that you gotta go chase your dreams. I went back to JUCO and blocked the outside noise and got to work. I was able to get a lot of Division One offers coming out of JUCO, and finally found my way to Middle Tennessee.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
Basketball. I grew up in Chicago which is a huge basketball city. Growing up I wanted to be like Derrick Rose. I tried out for the basketball team in high school, and they cut me my sophomore year saying that I had to cut weight. One day in high school, I was stopped by the defensive coordinator for the football team who told me that I should be playing football, saying that I was a “walking meal ticket.” And the rest is history.

NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 Small School Rankings

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I think I’m most proud of how far I’ve come. Being about to get my Associates Degree and almost having my Bachelor’s Degree is something that I’m proud of. Getting to play at a Division One school has been a great experience. Having gone this route in my life has helped motivate me to raise the standard of success that I didn’t have growing up.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
My second year in JUCO we were facing Independence CC. All the cameras were out because they were there for Last Chance U. I remember it was a zone block play, and I grabbed the 3-tech and slammed him on the ground. They put me on the jumbotron after that block. That was an amazing moment.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
I’m a Chicago fan through and through being a fan of the Bears and Bulls. My favorite athlete is Khalil Mack. Playing on the offensive line and seeing how he works has helped me get prepared for what to expect at the next level.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
Lil Durk’s “Neighborhood Hero” and Polo G’s “Don’t Believe the Hype” are songs I gotta play before a game or workout.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Italian Beef. I got to give a shout out to Giordano’s Pizza. I love their deep dish pepperoni and spinach.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
My favorite TV Show is called “Power” which is on Starz with 50 Cent. My favorite movie is American Gangster, and my favorite actor is Denzel Washington.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
I think I’m a great cook. And maybe when football is over, I might go into culinary school. In my spare time, I like to play video games like Madden, Call of Duty and 2K.

Who or what motivates you the most?
Definitely my mom and my little sisters. My sisters look up to me. The things I went though were hard, and they’re still going through it as they are still living in the inner-city of Chicago. I want to get them out and expose them to different things in the world. There’s a lot more to life than the Hood of Chicago. My past motivates me the most. I look at how far I’ve come, and that I’m so close to my dream of being an NFL player. I’m grinding so that my kids don’t have to go through the same hard times that I went through.

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