By Katie Savinelli
As college football plows on, the University of Maryland’s team has had quite a whirlwind of a season. This fall, with the implementation of a new head coach, a handful of victories and a few tough losses, the team has gained nationwide attention. Many wonder whether Maryland has what it takes to really make an impression in college football. But starting offensive lineman Johnny Jordan may know all this better than anyone.
Jordan, a native of Leesburg, Virginia and currently a junior majoring in kinesiology, is on his third season playing for Maryland. As a sophomore, he appeared in 11 out of 12 games, with six starts at center, according to Maryland’s roster. Recruited after a passionate four years at Gonzaga High School, Jordan didn’t initially have football on the brain.
“I played football for the first time when I was in third grade, and I hated it,” Jordan recalled. “I wanted to play baseball or go to the NBA.” Jordan got back into football around the age of 11, and since then his career has taken off.
Since Jordan has had such an extensive career playing for Maryland, he was one of the handful of players who noticed changes made after the new head coach was announced. Michael Locksley, formerly the offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama, had many fans across the country making predictions on the success rate for Maryland before the season even began.
Many have noted that his practice formula used at Alabama matches well with that of Maryland’s this season.
“He brings a lot of what he did at Alabama to Maryland, and that’s nice because you know the recipe that he’s working from is a winning recipe, and that it obviously works at a very, very high level,” Jordan said when asked about Locksley’s coaching style. “You can tell he has a really high football IQ and that he cares about his guys.”
So far this season, Maryland has won three out of six scheduled games. With six more games to come, a lot is up in the air for the Terrapins. Announcers on big sports networks such as ESPN and CBS Sports questioned whether Maryland should be considered a true “football school.” While Jordan loves playing for Maryland, he denied such a claim.
“No,” Jordan said. “We aren’t a football school.” He referenced the need for more school spirit that would likely help the players and possibly contribute to becoming a “football school.” He noted that many times at home games, students will leave before halftime, especially in cases where Maryland is down.
“We can’t have these massive ups and downs,” Jordan explained as he referred to the Howard game and the Penn State game—both of which had a final point difference greater than 50 points. “We just have to be able to execute more and play at a high level all the time.”
At the most recent home game against Penn State, Jordan was reportedly injured around the second quarter. Jordan suffered from “turf toe,” which is a sprain of the big toe joint, resulting from excessive upward bending of the toe. He played the rest of the game, but suffered the consequences afterwards. He was placed on crutches for a few days and was given a supportive boot to take pressure off the toe.
Many other players have suffered injuries this season, which adds to the growing uncertainty surrounding these next few games. Running back Jake Funk tore his left ACL against Temple University and will be out for the remainder of the season, and receiver Jeshaun Jones will miss the entire season after suffering a knee injury during the first practice of training camp. More recently, quarterback Josh Jackson had an ankle injury at Rutgers University and offensive lineman Marcus Minor missed the Rutgers game entirely with a toe injury.
“I’m currently rehabbing,” Jordan said when questioned on the status of his injury. “I mean, you just have to attack every day like it’s a new day, you know, you can’t let a bad day the day before affect your new day. But [I’m continuing] constant treatment and making sure I’m taking care of it.”
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Maryland Football’s Facebook page.
Katie Savinelli is a sophomore multiplatform journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.