This is no fisherman’s tall tale when it comes to Grapevine junior linebacker Nick Jordan.
Not only is he expected to be an integral part of the Mustangs defense in 2015, he’s also quite the bass fisherman.
There is some symmetry to him becoming an accomplished fisherman as well as defensive play-maker. In each case, he had to be thrown into the new venture without seasoning and just do it.
Each time, he handled it with a no-nonsense attitude. He’s placed in just about every fishing tournament he’s entered. And after a head-spinning start to his 2014 football season, Jordan (6-1, 190) adjusted handled everything fairly well. He helped the Mustangs reach the playoffs.
“I expected a normal progression of him being better,” Grapevine coach Randy Jackson said. “He’s probably ahead of schedule. It’s hard to be a good defense without being physical. He likes contact. He seeks contact. When he gets in there, he’s going to make a play. He’s definitely one of our leaders.”
Jordan’s emergence on the varsity as a sophomore probably should not have happened at all. Jackson inherited a program that was down on its luck with only three wins between 2012 and 2013. His program needed capable bodies to make the 2014 varsity squad as competitive as possible.
“We brought him up earlier than what we would have liked,” Jackson said. “We force-fed him.”
Jordan started in Game 3 against Weatherford and just had to play and learn the hard way. Jordan nearly had the ideal welcome when he had and dropped an interception against the Kangaroos. The play was on a vertical rout that was designed to go to the running back.
“It was tough and there was a big difference,” Jordan said. “There are a lot bigger and stronger athletes out there. But after the first couple of games, I started to get the feel for things. I was really figuring things out when district [6-5A] play started. It came down to me reading keys.”
It’s no secret that Grapevine’s defense has to make major strides in 2015. It surrendered 35 points or more in seven of its 11 games. Jackson is counting on the development of his returning starters, especially his linebackers, to make the difference. Their play is critical for a defense that operates out of a 3-4.
“Honestly, you could look at Nick and think he’s an average linebacker, but his instincts are awesome,” Jackson said. “He finds a way to get to the football. Some kids have a nose to get to the football.”
For his part, Jordan is using the 7-on-7 season to keep working on his fundamentals when he drops into pass coverage and identifying when to pick up running backs coming out of the backfield. Obviously, 7-on-7 doesn’t offer real time results. But what it does do is improve the mechanics for playing the position.
It might lead to an interception in 2015 that wasn’t in 2014.
“I just have to make sure I have got control of my assignments and lead by example,” Jordan said. “The people that want to be a part of this program and help it win are here.”