Take Eric Jordan, for example. The star running back at Las Vegas High School checked in at 5-foot-8, 149 pounds at the Scout.com mini-combine at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas Wednesday afternoon.
Yet Jordan is an exceptionally dynamic, productive football player who is quickly gaining avid attention in recruiting circles. He ran for 2,772 yards and 37 touchdowns as a junior last fall in earning all-state first-team recognition.
Wednesday, he ran two impressively consistent 40-yard dashes, covering the distance in 4.46 and 4.45 seconds. He struggled with his footwork in the quickness tests, finishing the pro agility run in 4.67 seconds and running the 3-cone drill improperly. But he was very impressive catching passes out of the backfield in one-on-one drills, showing off a skill that he has rarely employed during his prep career.
"I will (catch more passes) this year though," he said.
Last season, however, Jordan was Las Vegas' workhorse. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, in the Nevada Class 4A state semifinals last fall, Jordan rushed for 291 yards and three touchdowns (of 61, 80 and 57 yards) in a 21-14 victory. The rest of the team rushed 10 times for minus–2 yards and the Wildcats did not complete a single pass. In a 21-7 state championship game defeat, Jordan rushed for 114 yards on 24 carries and the rest of the team lost six yards.
"He pretty much carried us as we got deep into the playoffs," Las Vegas head coach Chris Faircloth said Wednesday, after watching his star pupil perform at Bishop Gorman, in front of a gallery that included USC coach Pete Carroll. "We became very one-dimensional, couldn't do much else with the football. Everybody else knew it. He's the kind of kid that just accepts the challenge… It didn't matter how many times he carried the ball, he just keeps grinding and keeps grinding and keeps grinding. He's a winner."
In a telephone interview last month, he also said he had an offer from USC. At that time, Jordan said his favorites were USC, Notre Dame and Wisconsin, but Wednesday he said he does not have any favorites. "They are pretty much all the same right now," he said. On Scout.com's combine registration form, however, Jordan listed Nebraska, Florida, Notre Dame, USC, Oregon, UCLA and Arizona State as the top seven schools that are recruiting him.
It is not surprising that Jordan does not have a list of favorites at the ready; he is pretty subdued regarding the recruiting process.
"It's not a big deal to me right now," he said. "I'm not going to be worried about it. I'll just worry about getting stronger, getting bigger and faster. I'll let my coach and my dad handle all the other stuff."
According to Faircloth, Arizona State, Michigan State and Colorado have stopped by Las Vegas High School during the spring evaluation period. By the time the evaluation period is complete, Faircloth expects to have seen every Pac-10 school, among other programs, including Oklahoma (next week) and Tennessee.
"He is a pretty good recruit," Faircloth said. "Everyone is making sure to touch base…He's a pretty special kid."
Faircloth said that while Jordan's speed is impressive – he will never be caught from behind, Faircloth said – there is more to Jordan than a sprinter's stride.
"I think he's biggest asset is he runs real fast out of the backfield and he's very tough to get centered up on," Faircloth said. "He makes the first guy [miss]."
Jordan, who has run for 100 yards in 27 consecutive games, is being recruited predominantly as a running back, despite his diminutive stature.
"Everybody is recruiting me as a running back except Michigan State," he said. "They are recruiting me as a receiver." Jordan prefers running back, but said that receiver is okay as well. "I won't complain about it if it happens," he said.
Despite checking in at 149 pounds, Jordan said he bench presses 295 pounds and squats 390. He wants to get bigger but he has not set a target weight.
"I've been trying to gain weight for a long time," Jordan said, "but I get stronger without gaining weight. I get faster."