DURHAM, N.C. --- Thanks to UNC pledge Jordon Brown, Southern Durham jumped out to an early 13-0 lead – which turned into a 27-7 halftime lead – in route to a 39-28 victory over crosstown rival Hillside during Friday’s third annual Bull City Classic, which was held at N.C. Central’s O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium.
Jordon Brown, Southern Durham, 2016
Brown’s 67 yards on 19 carries (3.5-yard average) seem pedestrian, but the running back was understandably keyed on by Hillside’s defense (a plan that was confirmed by a Hillside coach prior to the game). Still, though, Brown played a major role in Southern’s first half explosion, having a hand in three touchdowns, plus scoring on a two-point conversion (see the below video).
Southern used Brown similar to how UNC plans to use him within its no-huddle, one-back spread offense (i.e. in the mold of Romar Morris or T.J. Logan). Although he primarily lined up in the backfield, it wasn’t uncommon to see Brown in the slot where he’d run a route or run sweep.
Brown was targeted for passes twice. On both he ran a swing pass and made the catch (clips 1 and 11), but the second reception was erased by a penalty. Sandwiched between those catches, Brown caught a backwards pass, took a couple steps as the defense converged, and then tossed an on-the-money pass to a wide open receiver for a 47-yard touchdown (clip 4). Obviously UNC didn’t recruit Brown for his arm, but the play showed his versatility and football intelligence (i.e. keeping his route behind the QB but not so much that it tipped off the defense).
As a ball carrier, Brown is a one-cut ‘back with tremendous vision. As displayed during the game’s opening touchdown (clip 3), he will set the defense up and then cut the opposite direction into an opening. He’ll then use his burst to explode through that opening while brushing off arm tackles.
Despite his 5-foot-11, 186-pound frame, Brown will fight for every last inch and thus gain the tough yards. That’s primarily because he doesn’t waste time “dancing” in the backfield – he’ll choose a gap, tuck and cover the ball, and plow into said gap with forward lean with legs churning (clips 2, 7, 10, 13).
While encountering a defender one-on-one in the open field, Brown has enough wiggle to evade said defender and leave him grasping at air (clip 12). As mentioned above, he always runs behind his pads.
Jamal Currie-Elliott, Hillside, 2018
Hillside’s offense featured a rushing attack of its own – a two-headed charge consisting of four-star sophomore Elliott and Michigan State pledge Abdul Adams, a 2016 prospect who transferred in prior to the season. Elliott has been offered by UNC, as well as others.
Elliott’s final numbers (17 rushes for 79 yards and a touchdown) bettered Brown’s. But, 69 of his yards – plus his lone touchdown – were accrued during the second half against a defense that was more concerned with the big play thanks to a three-score lead.
Adams, whose strong running was more effective against a loaded box, rushed for a game-high 115 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.
Jalen Greene, Southern Durham, 2017
Greene, a 6-foot-3, 180-pounder, is a dark horse within the 2017 in-state QB race. Starting just his third varsity game, he completed 77-percent of his passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns, but tossed three interceptions. His first interception came on a pass that bounced out of the hands of the intended receiver, while another was a shoestring grab by the defender when the receiver fell down on a screen.
It was hard to truly evaluate Greene as a passer because nearly all of his attempts were quick, short throws. To his credit, though, his ball is catchable.
Greene also rushed for 46 yards on nine carries. Most of his runs came on read-options.