How did it feel for you once you got invited out to Oregon for The Opening ?
It felt like finally my hard work is paying off. I had told my dad my freshman year when I had first heard about The Opening that I really wanted to work hard and make it there one day. So to actually be going there really solidifies how I feel about it.
Before we dive into recruiting-related topics, let’s talk Drew Jordan the person, can you help Duke fans understand what you are all about as a person?
Mostly I have strong values and I try to do the right thing always, caring for others reflects back on you as I actually went through a house fire last year and seeing how everything that my dad and my mom and even I had done in service of other people really came back to us. We come from a strong community base and when that fire happened, they really brought us back up and we also were able to bring some more people up too. I really want to show out for my community and I want people to know and see that I have strong family values and beliefs. I also love football and I really care about my friends, that’s about it I’d say. I like to play ball, do things the right way and get a good education.
Wow, what happened with the house fire? How’d you guys handle that as a family?
Well we had woken up in 3am in the morning. Our dog was barking and we thought it was an intruder at first. I had opened my door and there was smoke up to my eyes and my dad actually came out of his room at the same exact time. He grabbed my brother and everybody got out, even my dog. Then from there it was almost like a rebuilding process. People came over and gave us clothes and food and shoes even and money, anything we really needed to start our lives all over again. So from then on my first thought with the house fire was I was still going to go to football practice. I was still doing workouts with my teammates even though I didn’t have the right colored clothing on that we usually have planned for our workouts. I was still there being a leader on and off the field. Then from there me and my family took it one step at a time, found a rental house in the area, started rebuilding our home and now we’re back in the same spot, just in a bigger place. I feel like God puts things in people’s way for a reason and He does it for our purpose and maybe for somebody else’s purpose as well. People in our community grabbed strength from us even though we went through hardships because we still pushed through it.
What do you think you learned about yourself going through that process Drew?
I feel like I found who I really was in that I wouldn’t have to seek other people’s approval for things. I also learned that it’s so important to not only have my own self-interest but also think about the interests of the group. I found more leadership within myself as I was working through it with my dad. Knowing that I could really overcome some adversity is what I was going through in that moment, so I really found who I was as not just as a football player, but as a person too through that.
So when all that was happening, that was probably right around when recruiting was taking off for you—am I right ?
Yes sir it was.
So how were handling all the new recruiting interest at that time in light of everything that you and your family were going through at the time?
You know I think it was perfectly fine because it was almost around this time in the summer last year, so I got a couple of calls from schools and all that, so it was just juggling back and forth and basically it really helped me take my mind off of everything we were dealing with at the house. It actually brought up our family’s spirits more that I was receiving more college scholarships at that time to go play college football and that they wouldn’t have to worry about that financially and all that other stuff with college. It wasn’t too hard going through the recruiting process while this was going on.
Was Duke already involved in your recruiting process when this fire happened?
Yeah they had, I think like two weeks prior to it happening because it was on June 17th last year, I think they had offered me like 2 or 3 weeks prior to that.
A two-part question, how was Duke when they were first starting to get involved with you and how did they handle communicating with you and your family after the fire happened?
Well you know how Duke is, they are very classy. They sent prayers and just really made my family feel at home there even when we visited them up there a couple of weeks after the fire had happened. We were up in Washington, DC for a family reunion during the summer after the fire happened and we just drove down to Duke and they made us feel really at home. From then on it’s just been building a great relationship. There was always a ton of interest from them because I was actually their first 2017 player that they had offered, so there was a lot of interest there. We had time after our family reunion, so we just drove down there and stopped in for a couple of hours and then came home.
What do you remember about how they presented the scholarship offer to you?
Yeah so what they had told me, I had called them to speak to them because I had been at one of their camps, an Elite prospect camp like a week prior to that. So basically what they said was that they had talked as a coaching staff including with Coach Cutcliffe and they had decided that they wanted to offer me a full scholarship to Duke University to be one of their first 2017 recruits and that if I wanted to commit I could commit anytime from there.
How’d you feel about that?
I was pretty excited man, my parents were pretty excited too. Duke opens up so many doors.
When did it transition for you from Duke is a school that “I’m interested in” to “Duke is the school that I’m seriously considering committing to”?
I think my transition to seriously considering them was probably around the springtime. I was finishing up receiving most of my offers from schools. Going through the season and how they had progressed and how their coaching staff was handling themselves with me was big, it just led me to want to spend my next 4 years with them.
So how did you offering your verbal commitment to them happen?
Yeah, Coach Cutcliffe, we had been in his office for like an hour or so and we were talking about life and who he was and different things, then at the end of the talk I just told him that I had decided that I wanted to commit to their program. We joked around for a little bit after that and the conversation went really well with me and my family and him.
Aside from it being Duke and their reputation as a school, what were the other main reasons for you why you wanted to play there and why you wanted to commit when you did?
They just made me and my family feel at home. They just really made us feel like we’re part of the family. The reason why I committed there was I see how the program is going in a direction where they are just one piece away from going to the College Football Playoffs.
How do they view you as a player in terms of what position/role are you projected to play and how do they plan to develop you?
They are probably going to use me as an edge rusher or what they call a “Devil” in their system.
How have the conversations gone with you and their D-Line Coach gone, Coach Albert?
Yeah, I spoke to him a lot lately and we have a good relationship and now I want to go get some more bigtime players. I haven’t completely narrowed it down yet, but I’m going to be talking to Coach Faris about some offensive players we want to get like Deon Jackson from Pace Academy and Kyric McGowan, he’s a slot receiver.
What are your thoughts on how Duke runs their defense and how they utilize their defensive ends?
Yeah I think they are just one piece away in terms of an edge rusher which is where I come in, but I think their defense entirely is really stout right now, they just need a couple more pieces on the defensive line.
Do they view you more as an edge rusher in their system as a defensive end or more as an edge rusher from the outside linebacker position?
More outside linebacker.
Anything in closing you want to share?
Just that when I go to Duke, I’m going to give everything my all.
Final question—do you think the commitment is firm and are you planning any other visits?
Yeah I think I’m going to take my official visits, but I think it’s pretty solid right now. I haven’t planned on where I’m going to take my officials yet though. There’s a couple that are asking me, but I want to focus on my football program right now.