Huskers going after do-it-all prep in Iowa

Jordan Bernstine has the luxury of being able to play both sides of the ball with equal adeptness. That means he's going to give you something whether he's trying to send someone into the stands or send the stands of the home crowd into a frenzy with one of his scoring plays. That gives colleges a nice problem as well, and teams like Nebraska, who have offered Jordan, still aren't sure what he'll play. They just know they want him as a member of the big red.

The era of specialists is supposed to be this great thing, but within all the hoopla over kids that are great on third down, the kids that can do it all get lost in the shuffle. The tag "athlete" almost seems to be a curse nowadays, when not even 10 years ago, if you could play both sides of the ball, had the athleticism to play multiple positions, that was markedly more valuable to a team that someone that was going to be a weapon on only third and short.


That's Bernstine as he gave Lincoln high school last year a weapon that was good for over 10 yards per carry on the ground, over 20 yards per catch through the air, almost 23 yards per punt return, over 49 per kickoff return and 72 tackles on defense, over 50 of them solo, along with four interceptions and three forced fumbles, all of which he recovered.


And they say being an athlete is a bad thing?


Kansas and Nebraska don't think so, already having offered the the Iowa prep star, but the mail has obviously been coming from a lot more teams than that. It's something that Bernstine himself is getting used to, but even dating back to seventh grade, he thought that this was a game he could play. "I just noticed that I was a lot faster than everyone else back then," Jordan said of his days playing in junior high. "I wasn't thinking that I was better than anyone else, but it seemed like I could do things other guys couldn't."


That ability and flexibility on either side has made him obviously the main weapon for Lincoln high. But at 6 foot tall and around 180 pounds, there's a variety of positions you can figure him to play at Division 1-A.


Jordan would say that he's open to any and all, not wanting to limit any of his potential, but like all players, he does have a preference, even if at least one of his parents don't agree. "I like defense," Jordan said. "I like being able to flow to the ball and just being able to hit people is great. My mom would rather see me on offense, I think because she wants to see me score."


Scoring is nice, but Jordan recalls one particular game just this last year, where he didn't score, but the way he felt afterwards, it might have been at least as satisfying. "It was the last play of the game against Roosevelt, we were winning and this guy comes over the middle on a post," Jordan said. "Oh man, that was the hardest I have hit anyone in my life."


"It was funny, because they had already lost and this guy wasn't getting up, so that was just like icing on the cake."


You can see that while Jordan may have the ability to play offense, his mentality leans him to play the other side of the ball.


But as all good athletes will do, Jordan is open to any position on the field, giving no preference to any other if it comes down to choosing a school. The main thing with him, like with many thinking about playing at the highest level of college football, is just getting on the field and doing what he does. "It's basically just about contributing to the team, because that's what I want to do," he said. "I'd like to play safety or something like that, but if I can help the team, put me anywhere."


"I'm not selfish. I will do whatever I need to, to help the team."


Nebraska is recruiting him as an athlete, the message seeming to be that he is being looked at to play anything from wide receiver to defensive back or even safety. Kansas is likewise, recruiting him for his ability to play a variety of spots. For Jordan , he's confident even though he knows how different his current level is to that he's planning on playing, he'll be able to adjust to whatever any team needs.


"I know the biggest part is the transition in adjusting to speed and the size of the players you go against," he said. "That's why I am lifting weights now, working on my upper body and lower body, so I can make sure that when I get there, I am ready to play."


"It's a big adjustment for anyone, but I'm not worried, because I know I will do what it takes. I'm going to do whatever I can to help whatever team I go to."


Which team is the question and that's one that won't be answered for some time, as Jordan 's schedule this off-season will be to take in "Junior Days" at both Nebraska and Kansas and then heading back to the home of the Huskers for one of their two regular summer camps.


After that, who knows, because Jordan is playing it all by ear. And of the other teams showing him interest such as   Iowa , Iowa State, Wisconsin , Indiana , Illinois , Missouri and Michigan State , he's just waiting to see what they do.


And Bernstine isn't committing to any real favorites right now, not having a real dream school at this point and certainly not looking at any one school as the school he wants to be. The variety of schools he's looking at is almost equal to all of the positions he can play. So, for him, it's all a matter of time.


No big deal, because he's got plenty of that, while he's working on getting bigger, faster and stronger and yes, even more versatile than he was before. If he manages to do that, his name will go from being a solid prep star to one of the best in the Midwest and the Huskers and Jayhawks will very soon have some competition for him in the future.


"I'm just taking everything in and seeing what happens," Jordan said. "I want to know as much as I can about the teams looking at me and I will take a look at some others if other teams start showing more interest."


"The most important thing is just getting better at what I do, but it's just as much for the team as it is myself. I think this year we will have a really good team."

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