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Notebook No. 54
Wednesday, February 27, 2002
By Denny O'Brien
Staff Writer and Columnist
Future Pirate Devours Barbells and
Scotland County High's David Jorgensen,
who factors into ECU's football future as
an offensive lineman, is a championship
weightlifter with a world-call appetite.
The Laurinburg Exchange}
In the Weight Room and On the Field,
Scotland Lineman Has a Big Appetite
LAURINBURG — Sometime this summer, Vicky Jorgensen will begin to see a
significant decline in her weekly grocery bill. That's because her son,
David, will be moving to Greenville, where he will play football at East
Until then, she will gladly continue feeding her youngest of two sons —
which happens to have become quite an expense. Drop by the Jorgensen home at
chow time and you'll see first-hand why family meals have put a dent in her
David Jorgensen's standard breakfast consists of at least one bowl of
cereal, a minimum of three eggs, one pack of bacon, and one-half pack of
sausage. An average dinner may include two T-bone steaks, which are often
accompanied by an entire package of crinkle-cut french fries.
That's a pretty hefty appetite, even for a six-foot-three, 300-pound
"What can I say? I'm a growing boy," Jorgensen chuckled. "I can get
It's true, Jorgensen spends ample time in the dining room, devouring his
mother's five-star southern cuisine. The majority of his time, however, is
spent in the weight room, fine-tuning his record-breaking physique.
An avid lifter, Jorgensen works out daily at Scotland High School under
the direction of assistant coach Norman Quick, who was a member of the 1983
East Carolina team that finished 8-3. He supplements his daily dose of sweat
and strain by spending three nights per week with a personal trainer, Brooks
Hale, whom he met through Hale's son, Akeem.
"Akeem (Hale) and I worked out together," Jorgensen said. "He told me a
lot about his dad, who is a physical trainer at Family Fitness Center. So, I
thought about it, and got my mom to sign me up. That was two years ago."
He hasn't been the same since.
Jorgensen was All-Conference for the
Scotland County Fighting Scots and earned
a spot on the Shrine Bowl roster. When the
time came to choose from among his college
suitors, he didn't blink an eye.
The Laurinburg Exchange}
While many kids his age spent their evenings cruising Laurinburg's Main
Street, Jorgensen was in the gym. Instead of chewing the fat with friends,
he was tweaking his technique with Hale, preparing for the Natural Athlete
Strength Association state championships last April in Hickory.
It was there that he etched his name in both the state and national
record books in the high school and teenage division by bench pressing an
impressive 408 pounds. The lift is even more impressive when you consider
that only two Pirates — Phoenix Evans and Bubba Williams — recorded higher
marks during last summer's strength and conditioning drills.
The feat was substantial enough to break the world record in his age
group, he says. But because sufficient judges weren't present, Jorgensen
couldn't be officially credited with the record-shattering mark.
His unofficial mark would fall, too, he vowed, in a more official
"I went back to Hickory in July for the Grand Nationals," Jorgensen said.
"This time, the world record judges were there, and I broke the record with
a bench of 386.
"I don't expect that record to last very long, though. I plan to break it
again this year."
Jorgensen's hard work in the weight room has paid huge dividends on the
gridiron. A four-year performer for the Fighting Scots, Jorgensen earned
just about every award imaginable at the high school level, including
All-Conference honors and a Shrine Bowl appearance.
While at Scotland, Jorgensen anchored an offensive front that cleared the
way for a rushing attack which piled up 2,349 yards, not to mention an
aerial assault that amassed 1,710 yards. The Fighting Scots, who installed
Clemson's spread offense this past season, averaged a whopping 36.6 points
per game en route to a 9-3 finish that culminated with a narrow loss to
Wilmington Laney, the eventual 4A runner-up.
The one thing that is missing from the Scots' stat book, however, is the
number of defensive linemen Jorgensen flattened along the way. Scotland
doesn't tally pancake blocks or grade its linemen, which comes with the
territory of playing a glamour-less position, according to Jorgensen.
"There's really not much glory to being an offensive lineman," Jorgensen
said. "Quarterbacks and running backs get the spotlight, and if we're doing
our job right, we often go unnoticed.
"It doesn't matter to me, though, because I got a lot of experience with
both my pass and run blocking. The one thing that I really enjoy about run
blocking, is the contact, especially if you are a guard that is pulling on
the play. A lot of times, that linebacker will hit the hole, and he won't
see you coming. You can really light somebody up in that situation."
It is that type of scenario that Jorgensen enjoys most on the football
field. And it was his love for physical contact and a diligent work ethic
that caught the eye of ECU offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler, who first
noticed the Laurinburg muscle man at the Pirates' summer cram sessions for
high school football players.
"We had the luxury of having him in our football camp," Shankweiler said.
"There, I had the opportunity to work with him one-on-one, and really see
what he was all about.
"The first thing that popped out was his strength. His work ethic is
tremendous, and he's a very physical player. David was phenomenally strong
for a kid his age, and he knows how to use it, too."
Making Choices: Which Sport and Which
Long before he found success on the gridiron, Jorgensen terrorized
opposing pitchers on the baseball diamond. With a Frank Thomas-like presence
in the batter's box, Jorgensen blasted towering shots with regularity, and
his mother has a nice collection of baseballs to prove it.
Too big to compete at the Pop Warner level due to the league's weight
limit, it wasn't until the seventh grade that Jorgensen made his football
debut. He immediately found his pigskin niche, and discovered that two
sports are better than one.
Eventually, though, Jorgensen was forced to make a decision between the
two. That's essentially the message he got from head baseball coach Tommy
Britt, who had a proposition for the sweet-swinging slugger.
"When I was a sophomore, I was basically given a choice," he said. "Coach
Britt said if I wanted to play baseball, I needed to drop 50 pounds.
"It was a tough decision, because baseball was my first love. But when it
got down to it, I saw a future in football, so I began to focus on that."
The decision has proven fruitful for Jorgensen, who gained attention from
most schools in the southeast. Among his suitors was South Carolina coach
Lou Holtz, who felt the Laurinburg lineman was perfect for the Gamecock
Ask Jorgensen which letter was most important, though, and he'll answer
without a flinch. To this day, he still recalls the exact date he got the
call from the coach he most admired, the one he met as a high school frosh.
"I remember that day like it was yesterday," Jorgensen said. "It was
September 17, and Coach (Steve) Logan called and offered me a five-year
scholarship. He said, 'You can take it, or leave it.'
"A lot of people may have been turned off by that, but I wasn't. I liked
his style. I didn't have to think about it at all. I knew what I wanted, and
I took it."
Such an early commitment could be easily misconstrued as an irrational
knee-jerk decision, which isn't the story in this case. Jorgensen had
developed a strong admiration for both Logan and Shankweiler, mainly due to
their no-nonsense approach.
As a school, East Carolina was everything he wanted, providing top-notch
facilities to go along with the curriculum and the hometown feel he
preferred. Still, those down-home intentions weren't enough to keep the
competition from courting the state's strongest specimen.
"Almost immediately after I hung up the phone, it rang again," Jorgensen
said. "This time, it was coach Caldwell over at Carolina."
"He was recruiting me really hard, and said I had a scholarship waiting
on me in Chapel Hill. He talked to me for about 15 minutes, but I told him
that I was going to East Carolina. Then, right after I hung up, one of the
Wake Forest coaches called. He was trying to sell me on the fact that they
just beat East Carolina, but I didn't care — I was going to be a Pirate."
In short, Jorgensen wanted it to be known — Greenville would be his new
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02/23/2007 01:45:48 AM