The Florida Gators haven’t pulled many prospects from the state of Connecticut to play football, but recently that trend has changed. Aaron Hernandez got the ball rolling in the 2007 class and since then Jordan Reed (2009), and Tyler Murphy (2010) have signed scholarships. There could be one more on the horizon. Lineman Tommy Jordan of Ridgefield (CT) is a big time player looking at Florida.
Ridgefield High School will still be in session this summer through June 23, but that doesn’t mean that four-star offensive lineman Tommy Jordan won’t get a chance to get out over the summer and visit some colleges before it is all done.
The scholarly blocker with the GPA “a little over a 3.0” and a 1660 on the SAT likes his English classes but wants to probably major in business in college. The academics will get him a long way, but his prowess on the football field is what has college coaches and scholarships lining up for him.
Jordan says he credits his ability on the football field to his coaches at school.
“My dad played in high school and that was pretty much it,” Jordan said by phone late last week when asked if there was anyone else in the family that played sports. “I started playing in seventh grade and couldn't play before because of the weight limit in Pop Warner ball.
“(My ability) has definitely come from what I learned as a youth and then my high school coaches taught me pretty much everything I learned about the game. All the credit football wise goes to them.”
The coaches that are lining up to see him are a little mixed in what they would want from the tenacious blocker. All of them want him on offense, but some also want him on defense.
“All of them are saying offensive line and a couple are saying they would also like me to try defensive line,” he said of the assistants from different programs hot on his trail. “As of right now it is mainly as an offensive lineman. It is the college's choice and will be up to them. I play both ways the whole game right now.”
While he understands it is probably better for him in the long run to play on offense, Jordan can’t help but like playing defense because of his nasty disposition.
“I like to play defense better,” he said. “I like to hit people and am a little more free ranged with it. It isn't all skill and technique. Obviously there are techniques, but you usually just do what you are comfortable with. It is less thinking and more playing when you are on the defensive line.”
He has seven offers and from some of the best schools in the country. These are the seven he is concentrating on at the moment.
“Florida, Boston College, Duke, Rutgers, Cal, Wisconsin, Syracuse are all the schools that have offered,” he said. “I am looking at all of them but still open.”
One school that there was mutual interest has recently been cut from the list, another mutual understanding.
“Notre Dame, I have talked to them and they have five offensive linemen already committed,” Jordan said. “We talked and they weren't going to extend an offer. That’s cool, I understand all of that, so they are off the list now.”
The others are great schools and Jordan talked some about all of them.
Boston College: “It is a real good school. A bunch of kids from my school try and go there and can't get in, so it is real select. The academics are a big plus. The program and facilities are real nice. Coach Devine, who I talk to a lot, is a good guy. It just has a real nice feel to it, the whole school.”
Duke: “I haven't been down there. Obviously it is a great school. The football program is on the rise...the head coach turned down the Tennessee job and that is a pretty big statement…that is a big plus.”
Rutgers: “I just went out there for the first time a couple of months ago. I was real impressed with the facilities. It was definitely one of the top venues I have seen from a football point. It surprised me how good it was.”
California: “Just recently I got the offer. I might make a trip out there before I make a decision. I want to take a couple of official visits. All I know is what they tell you and they say they need a couple of tackles. They are the number one public school in the country.”
Wisconsin: “I haven't been out there, but from people I know they just say it is just huge football. They fill up their stadium every weekend, it is just crazy. I don't know about comparing to the SEC, but it is just similar type of football.”
Syracuse: “I have just recently been talking to them. Their coaching staff is new and they are going to be on the rise. It is a big school…high profile.”
When talking about Florida, the mood changed….you could envision Tommy Jordan’s eyes light up through the telephone. Jordan has visited Gainesville twice already and has an aunt that teaches in Gainesville.
“I went to the UF-FSU game and that is like an unfair advantage,” he said. “That atmosphere was unbelievable. I like the town size and on game day it was unbelievable. It is really a smart school. I know some kids at our school that have tried to go there in the last few years and they couldn't get in so I know it is a great school.”
Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio is recruiting Jordan and has been the main man in pulling all the stars from the state of Connecticut to UF as well as many of the other top prospects from the northeast. Jordan has taken to Addazio pretty well.
“I talked to coach Addazio and probably am going to have a conference with him call him later this week. I am trying to get down there one more time this summer, but I want to make a decision in the early fall.”
“The coaching is the key. Coach Addazio is unbelievable. When you are sitting in a room with him and he is all amped up, you could just run through the wall for him.”
One thing Jordan has seen from Addazio is drill film with the players he has coached at Florida. Addazio can now point to NFL first round draft pick Maurkice Pouncey as an understudy that has gone on to do big things. With more offensive linemen soon to be drafted, the case is getting bigger for coming to Florida and learning from one of the best in the business.
I have seen all the Gator drill films, those are pretty cool to watch,” Jordan said. “…obviously it is a goal to play professional football. That is probably something I am going to look at more when I get to college. It is just too early for me to make that call. Hopefully I can put myself in that position, and it definitely helps a school that has guys drafted.”
Jordan is adamant that distance is not an issue and he is willing to go wherever he has to the place that feels right.
“It needs to be a place where I will fit in and have a great football experience,” he said when asked what he will make his final school decision based on. “I also want a place that if I didn't play football, I want to be happy going there. I will also look at the depth and where I would fit in…I don’t know if that is a huge factor but it is something.
Could Tommy Jordan be the next scholarship football player to sign with Florida from the state of Connecticut? Florida would like for that to happen, and Jordan seems to like what he sees in the Gators.