Like his peers, San Diego (Calif.) Cathedral Catholic’s Jordan Genmark Heath grew up loving football, but he did it an area not known for the game.
In fact, there weren’t many kids that even played the game. Denmark Heath was born and raised in Sweden where he estimates there are only about 4,000 kids in the entire country playing the American game.
Genmark Heath was one of those, beginning when he was seven years old. He was on the Swedish National Team and actually became the youngest starting quarterback in the history of the Under-19 team, playing when he was 15. He also participated in the other futbol growing up and continued both when he moved to the United States his high school freshman year.
"It was a dream [to come to the United States]. Then my stepdad actually won a green card in a lottery,” Genmark Heath said. “We decided let's do it and see what happens and now I'm here.”
The recruiting designation of “athlete” couldn’t be used more aptly. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Class of 2017 athlete has played a number of different sports and positions. He gave up soccer after his freshman year, but soon picked up basketball. He recently posted a photo of himself playing lacrosse on Twitter.
For Cathedral last season, he played quarterback after sitting out six games due to transfer rules. But his college future could be on the defensive side of the ball where he has looked solid playing safety during summer 7-on-7 events.
“I really don't have a natural position because I'm listed as an athlete and that's what I'm being recruited as. But I think in college I'll probably end up somewhere in the safety, receiver, running back range.”
His play has been gaining him more and more attention. California offered Wednesday becoming his most high-profile scholarship offer. He previously had received offers from San Jose State, Cal Poly and Dartmouth and said he also has been hearing from Washington.
Like many international students that come to the United States, academics are of utmost importance for Genmark Heath.
“Coming from that background, I want to find a school that has a good mix of academics and athletics at the same time because, knock on wood, you never know what is going to happen after football and you always have to have something to fall back on.”
That is one of the attractive things about USC. Denmark Heath said he knew of even before moving to the United States.
“I mean it's a powerhouse. USC is always good. It's known everywhere,” he said. “There are people in Sweden, Denmark, Norway. People know about SC wherever you go.”
Genmark Heath said he plans to attend summer camps at both USC and UCLA. He hopes “to get my name out there” and ultimately earn more high-level scholarship offers.
Check out Genmark Heath's highlights from his junior season: