STRINGER, Miss. (WDAM) - Jorian “JoJo” Sampson spent his first two seasons of Stringer High School football up front in the offensive trenches at right guard.
Then, in 2019, Sampson decided he was born to run.
“He’s a unique football player,” Stringer coach Morris Cascio said. “His freshman and sophomore years, he actually played right guard for us. ‘Coach I need a chance. All I want to do is run the ball.’
“So, his junior year we moved him into the slot. He got an opportunity to sit back there in the spread beside our quarterback and he just showed out man. Between the tackles, he runs wild. He hits a hole and just goes. Kinda heavy, he runs downhill. He’ll run at you or run away from you.”
Sampson, who was selected as Stringer’s “Player of the Pine Belt,” led the Red Devils’ ground game, running for 739 yards and nine touchdowns.
He loved every minute of it.
“I can be elusive, but I’m a power back,” Sampson said. “I like to run people over, do fun stuff.
Cascio has enjoyed watching his former lineman blossom.
“Our weight program, he’s put on some weight a little bit,” Cascio said. “He was a young guy behind 21 seniors we had a couple years ago and he was waiting his turn. Got a lot of mop up duty at linebacker. He’s played a couple years now at starting linebacker, too.
“He’s just a good athlete, very coachable kid. He loves running the ball. That’s all he wants to do, run the ball.”
Sampson said he loved mixing it up on the field, whether bulling through a would-be tackler or making the tackle on an opposing ballcarrier.
“We some country boys,” Sampson said. “We love contact. We love stuff like hitting and everything. It’s just fun to us.”
Cascio and his Bulldogs just hope they’ll have a chance to have some fun with a season that already has been plagued by the coronavirus.
“You know as well as I do, this year’s been very unique,” Cascio said. “Summer workouts, the way they’ve been. The way we’ve had to lose a couple ball games, fans in the stands – these guys hear every bit of that. They read every bit, the know every bit of it.
“The main question I have to answer every day is, ‘Coach are we going to play?’ These kids are ready to play ball. That’s what they’re out here for, that’s what they want to do.”
Count Sampson in.
“I feel like we have the chance to do something this year,” Sampson said. “Even though it’s moving kind of slow, I feel good about it.
“I’m going to miss everybody here. Been my family for 12 years.”