The Terps secured a commitment from Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) three-star center Johnny Jordan July 30. To gain more insight into the 6-foot-2, 296-pounder, we spoke to his head coach, Randy Trivers.
Our question-and-answer session with Trivers is below:
Terrapin Times: Coach, we didn’t think Johnny would end his recruitment quite this early, but here it is, he’s a Terp. Some initial thoughts on him committing now as opposed to after official visits?
Randy Trivers: I think Johnny has done a great job vetting all the opportunities with schools. He’s fortunate to have a lot of great options, and a lot of the schools have been really, really good recruiting Johnny. And he has been very thorough with the process, getting on campuses and really maintaining great communication and asking the right questions and getting the right information so Johnny could make a great decision and find the best fit for him in all aspects.
You make a decision like this, you’d be mistaken just to be thinking about one or two aspects. It’s such a huge life-altering choice, and Johnny and his family did a nice job really being thorough with the recruiting process.
When it comes to the recruitment of high-caliber athletes, it can be daunting and overwhelming as far as the attention, particularly with social media now and the access people have to a recruitable athlete. So I’m sure it’s a load off his shoulders and his family’s as well. They vetted the situation, and now they’re able to have a good focus on knowing where they’re going and also really enjoy his senior experience as a high-school student-athlete.
TT: When Johnny was going through the process, we got the sense it was going to be either Maryland or UVA. When did you sort of realize he was trending towards the hometown school?
RT: Maryland has always been right there, at or near the top in the recruiting process. Coach [D.J.] Durkin has done a really nice job painting a picture for Johnny and his family, both on the field and beyond. It’s not like Maryland snuck up in the end. They were always right there in the process, and he selected them in the end because it just really had all the things he was looking for. As far as having the opportunity to compete at the highest level, being able to play in a storied conference in the Big Ten, and to be able to play for a program on the rise at Maryland. And certainly being able to get a strong education academically.
And then really to be in the DMV, that was very attractive to him. Being close to home, being at University of Maryland, it isn’t too far down the road from Gonzaga. So to have access to family and friends and things of that nature, I’m sure was attractive as well. It was a lot of plusses, and obviously more plusses than anybody else. That’s what made it a strong decision for Johnny.
TT: Can you break down Johnny’s game for us Coach? What’s he do well and still need to work on?
RT: Johnny’s a fabulous football player. I tell people, he’s as sure of a bet to be a good college player as any young man I’ve met around here. Not saying he’s going to be the best college player, not saying he’s the best player I’ve coached, but he is a shoo-in to be a major contributor for many years on the college level. And I believe that because he has some really, really great qualities.
He’s very mature, very conscientious and has a love of the game. There’s a lot of kids that like football, and love to play in the games, but Johnny has a genuine passion for football. And not just the game, but all the preparation that goes into it. He loves the strength and conditioning part, the practices, the video part, the meeting room part. He has the right mentality to be a great college football player because of how he prepares.
Also, he’s going to be successful because of his physical tools. He’s powerful and agile and flexible and explosive. And he really has a ferocity about him that’s unique for a young man his age that’s right in line with next-level linemen. When you watch him play, he has a propensity for finishing. At the college level, you really have to train young men very hard to learn what a true finish is, but Johnny is a kid that has a unique understanding right now with how to start and finish plays. His level of effort on the field is very collegiate.
He’s a great leader and highly intelligent too. It’s hard to find something on Johnny where you say, he really has to go a long way to improve in this area. Having said that, there is room for improvement, but Johnny is the type that’s such a hard worker, he’ll do it. He loves constructive criticism and understands he can and will get better.
TT: Can you comment on how Johnny is around his teammates? What’s his personality like?
RT: Well Johnny, his likability rating is very, very high (laughs). He’s the kind of guy, you hate playing against him because he’s going to block you all day long and never give and inch. But you love playing with him and being around him, because he has a really positive attitude and sets a great example on the field.
He’s fun loving off the field and has a great personality and sense of humor, but man he knows how to turn on the switch. He can relax and hang and be down to earth; he is kind hearted with how he interacts with people. He’s very good with people, the way he communicates. He’s sincere and just a great human being. But he can flip that switch when it’s time to compete, and that’s part of the leadership.
Also, he’s a strong, strong student at Gonzaga. He serves the community, he’s great with classmates and he’s a spiritual young man. He checks off a lot of really good boxes.
So Maryland is getting a guy they will never ever have to be concerned with his commitment to the classroom and representing the university the right way. He’ll be a strong ambassador for the program, because he’s such a great person.
TT: And last question, Coach, how important was this commitment for Maryland in terms of landing a recruit from Gonzaga? In the past, Gonzaga hasn’t always sent kids to the Terps, so could this be viewed as something that rebuilds that bridge?
RT: Historically, I’m not sure what the relationship has been with Maryland and Gonzaga, as far as guys here that were offered and recruited by Maryland. This is the first year I’ve been here a young man has been offered by Maryland, so it’s new ground for me.
But it’s a good thing for Maryland, and for them to reach the level of success they’re seeking, they need to do a good job with local players. There’s an array of talent in the area, and if Maryland can procure that talent consistently, they have a chance to have a home base and field really good football teams with hometown talent.
It’s great for Maryland and certainly great for Gonzaga. To have a Gonzaga Eagle right down the road that people are very proud of, it will be a motivating factor for other young men to follow in Johnny’s footsteps. He’s admired by the current players, but I imagine in the future, guys will look and say, ‘Hey, there’s Johnny Jordan, former Gonzaga Eagle, doing great things at Maryland.’ And as long as Johnny stays healthy, I think things definitely will go well for him.
It’s a positive for Gonzaga, and it’s a positive for Maryland, all the way around.