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
And they say being an athlete is
a bad thing?
think so, already having offered the the
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,"
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
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
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
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
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
You can see that while
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,
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."
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.
is likewise, recruiting him for his
ability to play a variety of spots. For
, 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
then heading back to the home of the Huskers for one of their two regular summer
After that, who knows, because
Jordan is playing it all by ear. And
of the other teams showing him interest such as
, he's just waiting to see what they
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,"
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."
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