OLNEY, Md. -- In a non-conference grudge match between two talent-laden squads, Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) survived in a 36-29 overtime road victory over Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) Sept. 4. Terrapin Times was on hand to scout several of the elite recruits participating, including current Penn State pledge Ellison Jordan, a four-star defensive tackle who Maryland continues to pursue. Jordan once again filled up the stat sheet, ending up with 11 tackles, three tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a pass breakup.
Below is our take on his game:
An electric, attention-grabbing recruit, Jordan is a bona fide backfield buster. The 6-foot, 270-pounder is the type of defensive tackle who can change an entire game, someone who must be game-planned for and identified on every single play. He’s an intense, fiery competitor with a mean streak, scrapping hard through the whistle on each play.
Physically, Jordan isn’t especially tall, but he has a sturdy, stout frame and a thick base. He has very little bad weight, built solidly from the top down, while there’s still room for him to add even more bulk and strength. And despite Jordan’s shorter arm length, he has violent hands that allow him to actively disengage.
Jordan’s first-step explosiveness is immediately evident, separating him from the average defensive tackle. This guy gets going in a hurry, to the point where it almost looks like he’s jumping the snap early. Fact is, Jordan’s anticipation and initial burst are so superior, it’s difficult for many blockers to properly set up and stalemate him.
At the snap, Jordan comes off the ball low and hard, routinely winning the leverage battle. He fires his hands up rapidly, striking offensive linemen right underneath the pads. Jordan, generating power from his base, often pushes his man straight into the backfield, forcing the quarterback to either move or take a sack.
Even more impressive, Jordan is so potent at the point of attack he can break through some double teams. He’s been known to split the center and guard, stepping right through the inside gap before either offensive lineman can cut him off. It follows that Jordan forces opponents to run away from him; thus he can impact plays even when he’s nowhere near the ball. Backs can’t grind away up the middle, so they head to the outside, where Gilman’s linebackers can clean up.
Jordan’s footwork is on-point as well. He takes quick, nimble steps, keeping his feet pumping while easily navigating traffic to locate backs in the hole. Also, his lateral agility stands out, Jordan displaying the athleticism to run down the line and tackle in space. Jordan’s quite fleet too, allowing him to catch many backs before they hit the edge. He’s adept at fending off blocks (note the strong hands), motoring to the sideline, and closing rapidly on the ball-carrier.
Again, it’s Jordan’s effort that resonates here. Yes, he has the physical gifts to do so, but his ability to track down backs from behind on the opposite side of the field is just as much about desire.
As a pass rusher, Jordan has improved his technique to the point where he can rip-and-go, employ a swim move, or even deke his man with a stunt. Naturally, Jordan can bull-rush many high school lineman and have success, but his arsenal is expanding to include more advanced moves.
And when Jordan angles in on his target, it’s game over. He doesn’t so much tackle a quarterback/running back as much as he plows them. Jordan delivers reverberating thumps that often result in driving his man into the ground. Indeed, once you’re in his grasp, there’s little chance of fighting forward for positive yards.
The main concern with Jordan is his size. Plenty of undersized defensive tackles have succeeded at the next level, and even in the NFL, but there are always going to be questions surrounding their potential effectiveness. Moreover, since his arms aren't that long, he could have trouble getting off blocks and finding backs in the gaps at the next level.
Also, Jordan has to keep adding strength to hang on a Big Ten line’s interior. He could also stand to continue refining his technique in order to be even more ready for college ball.