Jordan plays offense with defensive mentality

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RIDGEFIELD, CONN. (AP) - Tommy Jordan never dreamed much would come of his trip to a Florida football camp after his sophomore season Ridgefield High School.

Now the 6-foot-5, 280-pound tackle is set to become a Gator.

“I kind of just went down in June,” said Jordan, who at the time had only been playing football for three years due to youth league weight restrictions. “I guess my coaches told them I was coming. I really didn’t talk to any coaches or anything other than (assistant coach) Steve Addazio. And that was just a standard chat.”

But Addazio, a Connecticut native who has maintained his strong ties to the state, and the Florida coaching staff were watching _ and loved what they saw.

Jordan _ on The Associated Press East Region 25 list of top recruits _ received scholarship offers from Florida and Boston college the following September, turning his world upside-down.

“It was a shock,” Jordan said. “If you had told me in eighth grade that I’d be in this position, I would have said you were nuts.”

Suddenly, coaches from everywhere clamored to meet him. One glance and a handshake was typically all it took.

“They’d see him and give him a scholarship right there,” Ridgefield coach Kevin Callahan said.

Jordan comes with a boost of speed and agility honed as a basketball player. He runs a 5.1, 40-yard dash and can dunk. He also made 43 tackles and had five sacks on defense as a junior.

“Coach Addazio says Tommy plays offense with a defensive mentality,” said Callahan, who believes Florida plans to use Jordan at center. “That’s what he says is the best part of Tommy’s game. He’s a ferocious type of player. I’m actually surprised he wasn’t recruited more for defense.”

Jordan picked Florida, No. 4 in the Top 25 preseason poll, because of his blossoming relationship with Addazio and his family.

“I felt really comfortable with him and I’ve become friends with his son, Lou,” Jordan said. “They have the best coaches in the country, so why not?”

Though he had surgery last winter to repair torn labrums in both shoulders, Jordan says his recovery is coming along well. He was cleared to start playing football in August and will wear a brace this year.

“There’s a little limited range, but I feel awesome,” Jordan said. “It’ll heal in time and shouldn’t be too much of an issue.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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