Perham (MN.) senior Payton Jordahl has worked hard to get a scholarship for football and get his education paid for by playing multiple positions for his team, but it didn't look like that would be a possibility. One day everything changed as he jokingly snapped a football as a long snapper in practice and amazingly did great. That was the moment when he knew his opportunity to play at the next level was a real possibility.
His recruitment has taken a turn in the road since and he has a partial offer from North Dakota State along with receiving interest from Minnesota, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota Moorhead State, Mankato State, North Dakota, Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa and Wisconsin. He took an unofficial visit yesterday to Minnesota and talks about that personal time he got while there.
"It wasn't my first time on campus because I went down there last fall for a game and attended a junior day, but today was my first visit with one on one time with the coaches," Jordahl told GopherDigest. "It was a more personalized visit and I got a better in-depth look at the school and campus. I enjoyed the visit a lot. I didn't really get to see Coach Kill because he was busy, but I got to talk with Coach Kostich, Coach Sawvel and Coach Nunez."
"I got to meet with them for like a half hour and they told me in the position they are in with the depth chart regarding the long snapping position, it is a unique situation right now with their long snapper being a senior. After he graduates, they are not sure if they got another guy that can do it or not. That leaves me confidence that they could be in need for a guy at the position and why they are so interested in me. They didn't talk about any scholarships stuff, which is understandable because it is too early in the process and they need to lock down all their other positions, but they are very interested in me."
The 6-3, 210-pound versatile Jordahl also plays linebacker, tight end, fullback, slot for his team, but got the Golden Gophers attention when he attended their specialist camp and performed very well at long snapping. Coach Kill is looking consistency in his team and expects his long snapper to be held to the same standards as well.
"I went to Minnesota for their specialist camp and what set me apart from everybody at the specialist camp was my athletic ability," said Jordahl. "All the kids there could snap a football, but not to many could sprint down the field and break down to make a tackle. That is one of the things they really enjoyed about my skill set was that I could make a tackle."
"The long snapping duties in high school might not be huge to some, but it is on my team. In my opinion if the coach has his priorities right, then special teams is 1/3 of the game. I know Coach Kill does know the importance and my dad is the head coach for my team, so he tells me that if you go unnoticed as a long snapper, then that is a good thing. That means you didn't mess up and that is what coaches want in a long snapper, which is consistency."
During his time visiting at Minnesota, there were many positives that came out of it, but he noticed one thing that really stood out to him, which was the close knit coaching staff they got."I have been following the Gophers for quite sometime and I can tell the coaching staff is so together," said Jordahl. "I know they are one of the coaching staffs that have together the longest time and haven't split up that much. They got that coaching chemistry, which is very important in my opinion. I take academics very seriously and the coaches take it very serious as well. They stress how big academics are and I really admire that. I saw that their goals are to win a Big Ten championship and win in the classroom. That is what college is about realistically to get a education."
"They got great facilities as well. They just very top notch and state of the art buildings along with the campus being very beautiful. It is a very big campus, but still has that small community feeling. The Gophers could be force in the Big Ten in a couple years. I see a lot of good things with Minnesota."
Scholarships for long snappers can be a tricky situation for long snapper recruits, but Jordahl knows he won't be rush into any decision before he absolutely knows it is the right one.
"It would mean a lot if Minnesota offered me," said Jordahl. "One of the big things is that I hope football is a way for me to pay for college. It may sound selfish, but I would really love to have my school paid for. It will be a deciding factor, but won't be the biggest factor. The biggest factors will be how I feel around campus, when I think I can start and do they have the academic program I am looking for. It is always nice to get money, but it is also always nice that reinsurance they share by giving you money to play football. A scholarship would be nice, but it won't be my deciding factor."