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Making a name for himself

By Cliff Smith

Photo from Scout.com




A.J. Jordan was born with a name considered iconic by most of the free world – Michael (Alexander) Jordan. That’s a fact that doesn’t always sit well with a young man as determined and driven as A.J. tends to be. After all, what competitive person wouldn’t want to be known for their own talent and skill rather than the coincidence of having a famous name?

It didn’t take long for the 2011 wide receiver out of Trotwood-Madison HS (Ohio) to come up with a nickname using his middle and last initials. Since then, A.J. has been working hard on the field and off to make sure his name is synonymous with achievement and excellence.

Speaking with his high school coach, Maurice Douglass, gives you an idea just how motivated he can be.

“A.J. has taken it to another level in the weight room since the season ended. You can really tell he’s putting in the work there.” Douglass said of Jordan. “He also running indoor track for the first time this year to work on his speed. Actually he’s on his way back now from a meet at Kent (State) where he ran 50.2 second 400 (meters).”

That effort obviously extends to the classroom as well. Douglass couldn’t help but brag on Jordan’s academics a bit, “He’s always been serious about his grades, so him having a 3.2 GPA shouldn’t surprise anyone. He’s scheduled to take the ACT in April too. I’m sure he’ll do great with that.”

It’s also apparent from Coach Douglass’ comments, where Jordan gets his work ethic. “A.J. has a great support system at home. His parents wouldn’t put up with any nonsense even if he wanted to try (laughing)”.

Add it all up and you have ThaRinger.coms top rated wide receiver in a very deep Ohio 2011 class. You also have a player that top schools from nearly every corner of the country are clamoring to recruit. A look at Jordan’s offer list reveals that programs from every BCS conference except for the Pac 10 have offered a scholarship to Jordan. Though when talking with him, he seems so grounded that you’d never know he has 14 different college coaching staffs trying to sway him their way.

I caught up with Jordan while he was on that bus ride back from Kent State. He gave his current measurements as 6'2’, 195 lbs, and his best forty yard dash was a hand timed 4.36 at last years Bowling Green camp.

On the question of how recruiting is going he had this to say: “It’s going really well. I’m pretty happy with the offers I have. I’d like to hear more from Florida and OSU but I already have some great offers.” He went on to say he considers himself pretty much open to any school interested in him but admits a few stand out right now. “West Virginia, UC, Michigan, Ohio State, Indiana, Illinois, Pitt, and Louisville are probably my top schools. I liked what I saw at Michigan a couple weeks ago. They’re supposed to get back to me about an offer after they decide if they want 1 or 2 outside guys.”

Given that list of schools, some may assume Jordan is looking to be a part of a spread offense. To that Jordan’s response was, “Not really. Actually, I’m looking for an offense that spreads the ball around and has good balance with running the ball. I feel I can help a team on the outside or the slot and I like to think my blocking is a strength.”

As for other factors that will affect his decision, Jordan said “I don’t want to get too far from home. My family is important to me and I want them to be able to see my games. I guess I just want to feel comfortable with everything – the coaches, the school, the area. I’ll know it when I feel it.”

The “when” is still up in the air as well. Asked if he has a time table to commit, Jordan said “Nothing for sure. I’d like to get it down to 4 or 5 schools before the season. I think that’ll make it easier to keep focused and when I’m ready to schedule visits.” However, he may not take all of his allotted official visits. “I’m not sure yet. I’m sure I want to take at least a couple, but I might shut it down if I find the right place.”

One thing is for sure, the fans of whatever school he chooses should be very happy when he announces. Jordan is a well rounded young man who should make some program proud. If you’re a fan of one of those schools, do yourself a favor and remember his name.

A.J. Jordan
Early Projected Ranking: 5.8/