Minium: Jordan Young showed leadership and engraved his name in the ODU football record book
Through Harry mini
NORFOLK, Virginia – High school football coaches know that it’s usually smart to have your best athlete as a quarterback. Even though he’s not a great passer, and even though he’s by far the best player in your defense, you’re better off with you’re the best guy at handling the ball.
That is why Jordan Young played quarterback at Coatesville High School in Coatesville, Pa. He was the best athlete on the team. And had he been playing defense, he likely would have had a number of Power 5 schools scholarship offers.
He was a pretty good quarterback, completing 208 of 324 passes for 2,270 yards and 20 touchdowns. He ran for 669 yards and 20 more touchdowns. Temple, where his father, Anthony Young, played soccer, and Georgia Southern and UMass all recruited him as a quarterback.
But he knew his only path to the NFL was to play defense. “And I didn’t have a lot of defensive films,” he said.
“I had a few schools that interested me because of my size and my potential. But no one really followed through because I didn’t have a movie.”
The Old Dominion coaches were among the few to see this potential. And partly because the ODU recruited him as a linebacker, he signed with the Monarchs.
“I loved the guys and the atmosphere here,” he said. “I also knew that if I was going to play at the next level, it probably wouldn’t be at the quarterback position.
“I am so grateful that the coaches at ODU believed in me and gave me an opportunity.”
The ODU devotees are equally grateful that Young chose the monarchs. Now 6-3 / 3, 230 pounds, the sixth-year senior linebacker is arguably the best defensive player in ODU history.
It was also engraved in the ODU record book. Ahead of Saturday’s regular season final against Charlotte at SB Ballard Stadium, Young has 328 career tackles, 12 of which tied Craig wilkins for the school record of 340.
He had eight tackles in last week’s 24-17 victory at Middle Tennessee, when he moved up to second, passing TJ Ricks.
Wilkins is a legendary name in ODU football. He started and captained the top four ODU teams, all of which had winning records and made waves in the FCS qualifiers. In his final year, the Monarchs were 11-2 and finished sixth nationally in the league soccer league standings.
Wilkins is also second to Oshane Ximines, now with the New York Giants, with 169 tackles for one loss and first with nine fumbles and interceptions.
Wilkins was a graduate assistant when Young was a freshman in 2016.
“After my first season in the red shirt, he told me he wanted me to go out and beat his record,” Young said. “The connection I have with him is special. TJ Ricks texted me after I passed him and told me to go first.
“I’m not chasing it. If I accomplish it along the way and we do what we’re supposed to do and win, then I’m happy. But personal bests don’t mean much to me.”
Much of what Young has brought to the squad over the past few seasons doesn’t show up in the box’s score. He was one of the main leaders of the team during the darkest years of ODU football. Him and the offensive lineman Isaac Weaver and placekicker Nick Rice are three captains.
ODU had 5-7, 4-8 and 1-11 in the first three seasons he played and ODU did not play last season due to the pandemic. When Blake seiler was hired as the ODU defensive coordinator, he realized within days that Young was a “special player and a special person”.
“Jordan is captain for a reason,” Seiler said. “Jordan is pretty reserved, he’s not very outspoken. But he leads his teammates. Outside of the building he does so much to mentor these guys.
“He has laser focus. When you talk to him he clings to every word. When we meet he tells the guys to sit down and pay attention.
“Jordan is the kind of guy we’re all going to work for someday.”
ODU started the season losing six of their first seven games, but have since won four in a row. A victory on Saturday would almost certainly propel the Monarchs into their first bowl game since 2016.
Young was a freshman in a red shirt on that 2016 team and has fond memories of ODU’s visit to the Bahamas Bowl. He said he would like to go back to a bowl, but he doesn’t look forward to what might happen after Saturday.
“If we don’t beat Charlotte, we’re not going anywhere,” he said. “Charlotte has a good team and we are just focusing on winning the next game.”
Young comes from a family of footballers. His father lived in Temple with Todd Bowles, the former Washington Redskins star who won Super Bowl titles as a player, coach and administrator. He is the defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He said he spoke often with Bowles, who remains a close family friend, as well as Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, who coached his father at Temple.
“It’s so great to have that connection,” Young said. “When I’m going through a tough time or need advice, it’s good to know that I can call them.
“It’s also great to know that I have my dad. He knows so much about football.”
As are his younger brothers, Avery and Aaron, who play at Rutgers University. His younger brother, Aaron, is a sophomore half-athlete. Avery is a junior red shirt defensive back who has 226 tackles, two interceptions and 24 defensive assists over his four seasons.
As the children grew older their football and basketball games were legendary in the neighborhood.
“We played every sport imaginable,” Young said. He said he gave his father old family videos, which he transferred to a USB drive, on Father’s Day so that his father could cherish the memories of his sons.
“I just looked at those old tapes,” he said. “We were running around the epaulet house in a Philadelphia Eagles costume. We were playing football, we were playing basketball.
“We’ve never been bored. My brothers, they’re such a blessing. Not everyone has that kind of relationship with their brothers. I love these guys.”
There are often conflicts between Rutgers and the ODU games and there is a major conflict on Saturday. It’s Seniors Day for ODU, Young’s final regular season game as a monarch. But Avery also celebrates his day as a senior when Rutgers hosts Maryland.
This means his mum and dad will be in different locations on Saturday – his mum will be in Norfolk waiting for him on the pitch when the senior ceremonies take place at 1:30 p.m. His father will be in Piscataway, New Jersey, with his brother.
“Honestly, it didn’t strike me that this was my last home game,” Young said. “I guess it will hit me when I walk the field.
“I’m not looking beyond this game. I try to enjoy every minute I have with my teammates. I’ve been here six years and I know it’s a long time. But in some ways, the time just flown by. “
Young said he and his brother would likely return to Pennsylvania once the season is over to start preparing for the NFL Draft.
“Every NFL scout is asking about him,” Seiler said. “I know that is part of Jordan’s goals.
“He has the pedigree and family ties to Todd Bowles and Bruce Arians. He will have his opportunity and I know he will be prepared.”
Young said that whatever happens on Saturday he is proud of what he and his teammates have accomplished in 2020 and 2021 under Rahne.
“I kind of wanted to help lay the groundwork for what their staff wanted to do and what their vision was,” Young said.
“We have restored what ODU can be when we win, when the community, the fans support us.
“It shows what ODU can be in the future. I am excited about the future of this program.
“I’m just glad I was a part of it.”
Minium worked at the Virginian-Pilot for 39 years before coming to ODU to cover athletics for odusports.com Follow him on Twitter @Harry_MiniumODU, Instagram @ hbminium1 or email [email protected]