Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) center Johnny Jordan was supposed to return to College Park, Md., for the team scrimmage March 26, but he wasn’t able to do so. Even so, the 6-foot-2, 290-pound three-star has plenty of affinity for the hometown school and is eager to get back on campus for the first time since DMV Day Feb. 13.
“My schedule has just been crazy with rugby and school, and I haven’t been able to get back to Maryland. But I definitely am looking to get there for a practice and just to hang out with the coaches again. Definitely in the next month I’ll be there,” said Jordan, who holds offers from UMD, Temple, Kentucky, UNC, UVA, Marshall, Memphis and Syracuse. “Maryland is definitely sticking out to me a little bit. I like what they have going on there.”
When pressed, Jordan admitted the Terps, along with UVA, whose staff offered while the Gonzaga product was on campus March 5, sat atop his current leaderboard. That’s a change from Jordan’s previous comments, when he had the likes of UNC and Kentucky firmly in the mix.
“Maryland and Virginia are the only two schools I’ve seen that have really impressed me,” Jordan said. “I could have a different answer in a few weeks once I see a couple more schools, but for right now it’s Maryland and Virginia. I haven’t really been in touch with Kentucky anymore, and UNC just a little bit but nothing too major.”
The Terps, for their part, have been pushing hard for the center recruit. UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim has maintained regular contact, while offensive line coach Dave Borbely and offensive coordinator Walt Bell have been in touch too.
“Coach Aazaar is the DMV guy, and he keeps telling me to stay home and how I’ve got to represent my city and state at Maryland. He’s a great guy and I like what he’s been telling me,” Jordan said. “Coach Bell has been preaching how I’d be a great fit in his offense and how he needs a real smart guy like me at center. And Coach Borbely, my relationship with him is getting stronger. I liked him back when he was at UVA and I went to a camp there, and then I got to know him more as a person at DMV Day at Maryland. And, really, there’s not much difference (laughs). Coach Borbely expects the best out of you and he really pushes you. I love the way he coaches.”
Jordan went on to specifically comment on Abdul-Rahim’s stay-home message. It’s a pitch the Maryland coaches have been offering up in earnest to all local recruits.
“I think it’s a really good approach Maryland is taking. They’re trying to lock everything down within three hours of the university,” Jordan said. “And they’re definitely going to get some guys. The stay-home movement is real, and they have it going on there. It’s definitely something I’m thinking about.”
In addition to his relationship with the staff, Jordan counts Maryland’s strong academics, pending $150 million facility upgrades, and its close proximity to home as the other factors playing in the Terps’ favor. Jordan called New Cole and the various weight room/locker room renovations “amazing” after DMV Day, while he wants to delve deeper into the educational aspects during his next foray through campus.
But while the Terps are trending, Virginia is right there as well.
“I really enjoyed my time at UVA March 5,” Jordan said. “They’re definitely in the mix. Coach [Bronco] Mendenhall was saying the three words that describe are tenacity, physicality and aggressiveness, and he loves that about me. He loves my style and said I’m the kind of player they want at Virginia. Then I have a couple former teammates at UVA, so I have a relationship with those guys too.”
In addition to the Terps and Hoos, Jordan said he speaks to coaches from Marshall, Memphis, Temple, BC, Syracuse and Pitt (no offer yet) the most. The Gonzaga product will visit SU for the first time April 2, and is likely to hit one of his other suitors April 9. Jordan has nothing planned after that, however.
“I don’t really have a timeline set for a decision date. I’m going to commit when I’m ready. It could be any time,” said Jordan, who mentioned official visits were a possibility but not a necessity. “I’m going to weigh all my options and make the decision that’s best for me in terms of relationship with the coaches; how comfortable I am on campus; how well I fit in; and the academics.
“And the thing is, once I commit, that’s going to be it barring some incredible circumstance that comes up. I’m not going to be a guy who reopens his recruitment.”