Ransom, Jacobs bound for NC Wesleyan

Rodd Baxley | The Robesonian Fairmont’s Damian Ransom will be playing football next season at North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount. Ransom’s versatility in his senior season helped the Golden Tornadoes post a 6-6 record last season and earn a playoff berth.

Contributed photo |
Josh Jacobs, of Purnell Swett High School, will join the football program at North Carolina Wesleyan College this fall. Jacobs had a team-best 711 rushing yards and 137 tackles as a dual-threat player for the Rams last season.

FAIRMONT — As Damian Ransom stood in the media center at Fairmont High School on Friday, he still couldn’t believe how far he’d come in the sport he loved most.

“I started playing football in eighth grade and it kind of worked out for me,” said Ransom, who will be playing football at North Carolina Wesleyan College next season. “There was a point in my life where I didn’t think I would make it in high school, much less the next level.”

Ransom will join the Battling Bishops this fall as a punter and defensive end. As a relatively young Division III program, N.C. Wesleyan has enjoyed much success in its first ten seasons, including a trio of USA South Conference titles and two NCAA tournament berths.

“The program itself is pretty good,” Ransom said. “They have a young team and something to build on.”

Ransom thrived in a jack-of-all-trades role for the Golden Tornadoes in his senior season, helping Fairmont finish with a 6-6 record and earn a berth in the NCHSAA 2A state playoffs.

“Damian did an excellent job for us,” said Fairmont coach Randy Ragland. “We asked a lot from him on both sides of the ball. He was a defensive specialist for us, a fullback and our punter and that commitment to us coaches and the team is appreciated. It’s exciting for me to know he’s going to the next level and I’m just looking forward to keeping up with him next year.”

But football isn’t the only reason Ransom was drawn to the four-year college in Rocky Mount.

“The campus is just awesome,” said Ransom, who plans to major in special education. “It’s a good opportunity for me because it’s not a really big school and I’ll be able to get more one-on-one time in class and stuff. I want to be able to teach and coach one day.”

Reflecting on his rapid progression on the gridiron, Ransom said one man inspired him to start that journey as an eighth-grader at Pembroke Middle School.

“Coach Roger Graham was my coach and he kind of got me going,” Ransom said. “I was able to take my anger out on the field and not get in trouble. Coach Graham told me if I kept doing the right things and kept working hard, then I could make it. I’m glad I made it.”

Swett’s Jacobs chooses NC Wesleyan

PEMBROKE — Josh Jacobs made his college choice on Friday, choosing to join the North Carolina Wesleyan College football program this fall.

The senior at Purnell Swett High School rushed for a team-high 711 yards last season and finished with three touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, Jacobs swarmed opponents for a team-best 137 tackles, hauled in two interceptions and scooped up a fumble, returning it for a touchdown.

Jacobs joins Ransom, of Fairmont, and Bryan Carpenter, of Lumberton, as players expected to be on the Battling Bishops roster for the 2015-16 season.