LAS VEGAS, Nev. — It’s strange for Brevin Jordan and his mother to think back about what Cedric Moss used to tell them regarding what Jordan’s football career could bring. Moss was engaged to Beverly Jordan when he died in a car crash in 2015, and he always had a thought about where Brevin Jordan, a promising tight end in Las Vegas, should head to college: Miami.
Moss and Beverly Jordan dated from long distance for the eight years they spent together, but whenever Moss spent time with the Jordans, he’d make his pitch. Wouldn’t it be crazy, he’d ask, if Jordan wound up playing for the Hurricanes?
“Me my mom looked at each other, like, ‘No. That is way too far,’ ” Jordan told DieHards.
Three years later, Moss’ wild premonition has somehow become reality. Jordan always figured he’d play for Southern California. Then he assumed he’d suit up for UCLA. In the year after Moss died, though, Jordan just kept seeing signs pointing to Coral Gables, Fla. Miami tight ends coach Todd Hartley started poking around at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas and getting to know Jordan. The young prospect, just a sophomore at the time, started to learn about Miami’s reputation as “Tight End University.”
Almost exactly a year after Moss’ death, the Hurricanes finally offered. The following spring, Jordan finally visited the Miami metropolitan area. A few days after that, the 4-star tight end pledged to the Hurricanes and never looked back. He enrolled at Miami in May and is potentially on track for a starting role as a freshman. Improbably, Jordan is the next in line to represent the Hurricanes’ legacy of standout tight ends.
— B r e v i n J o r d a n (@Brevinjordan) April 16, 2017
It took Jordan some time to admit he was a tight end. He started his football career as a defensive end, playing alongside his brother a few years up and terrorizing opposing offenses with his boundless energy. Eventually, Jordan slid to running back and earned a reputation as one of Vegas’ best young athletes. When he turned 8, Jordan finally was playing in the right age group and immediately won his league’s MVP award.
Even when he first arrived at Bishop Gorman, Jordan figured he’d be a wide receiver. The Gaels had other plans. As a freshman, Jordan checked in at about 6-foot-2, 200 pounds. He was a ready-made tight end, and by the end of his freshman year he was suiting up for the varsity team. When he returned for his sophomore year, Jordan’s trajectory was clear.
Louie Rodriguez could see the receiver’s potential right away. The assistant coach arrived at Bishop Gorman ahead of Jordan’s sophomore year to coach running backs and tight ends. Rodriguez spent his prior years in the college ranks — first as a graduate assistant at Boise State, then as the run game coordinator for the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, a Division II program. The Gaels were loaded with talent then — they still are — but Rodriguez could see a few standing out above the rest: defensive tackle Haskell Garrett, inside linebacker Palaie Gaoteote and Jordan.
“You could already tell he had the potential to be really good,” Rodriguez told DieHards. “He was kind of raw at the beginning as far as catching the football, but, man, he worked his butt off.”
Jordan’s talent is at least somewhat natural. Darrell Jordan, the tight end’s father, was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons and at one point held the Bishop Gorman record for tackles in a game. Oshay Jordan, the elite prospect’s older brother, played quarterback for the Gaels for a year before injuries piled up and cut his career short. Jalen Jordan, the youngest brother, just wrapped up his freshman year as a wide receiver at Bishop Gorman.
Darrell Jordan, who coincidentally played tight end, was Jordan’s first football influence. He pushed all the kids to play and used to tell Beverly Jordan all about the innate football IQ that Jordan possessed. Then Oshay Jordan stepped into the role. When the oldest brother had to stop playing, he took Jordan under his wing to get him ready for life with the Gaels. Jordan’s 175-pound frame wouldn’t fly, so the brothers worked out together every day heading into Jordan’s freshman year to get him up near 200 pounds.
“And then every day after we worked out, we’d eat beans and turkey,” Jordan said. “He paved the way for me to be a good football player.”
Rodriguez could immediately let Jordan loose as a blocker. Jordan now claims a reputation as one of the most spectacular receiving tight ends in the country, but coaches originally fell in love with the athlete’s willingness to throw his body around. He even spent part of his high school career moonlighting as a linebacker.
Jordan caught 10 passes for 166 yards and scored 4 touchdowns as a sophomore. It was enough to start the slow trickle of offers. Colorado extended his first before the end of the year. Louisville, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Washington all followed by the end of January. In the spring, Jordan showed signs of the versatile offensive weapon he had become for his final two seasons at Bishop Gorman. Miami finally offered on Aug. 23, 2016 — eight days shy of the one-year mark of Moss’ death.
“He was a huge Miami fan. I’m talking to the blood, in his veins. Huge, huge Miami fan,” Beverly Jordan said. “It was crazy, incidental, spiritual guidance — I don’t know what you want to call it, but it did seem that after he passed, that everything started kind of lining up toward Miami.”
Moss was born in Miami and even though he never attended the university, he loved his Hurricanes. Dig into his closet, Jordan said, and you’d find a collection to rival any diehard. Living thousands of miles from home in Colorado, Moss had Miami shirts, shorts, shoes and even the classic letterman jacket. His whole family still lived down in South Florida.
Everything finally aligned for Moss in the summer of 2015 and he was ready to finally move to Nevada. He set out to join the Jordans on Aug. 31 when a car accident took his life. He never got to see the Jordans fall in love with the school he already had.
“He’d be going crazy,” Jordan said.
It took more than just an offer for the Hurricanes to sway Jordan, though. The Miami metropolitan area is a long way from Vegas, so Beverly Jordan needed to be convinced.
First, Miami coach Mark Richt made it clear Jordan wasn’t just a priority — he was the priority. She started to feel a little bit better. Then, she touched down in Florida with her son for a visit April 11. She felt even a little more comfortable. Finally, on the flight home, Jordan told his mother he was sold. Now she had no choice. Four days later, Jordan publicly announced his commitment.
— Todd Hartley (@coach_thartley) April 16, 2017
Rodriguez, who got promoted to offensive coordinator ahead of the 2017 season, had lofty plans for Jordan and so did Hartley.
Jordan took a step as a playmaker as a junior. With a roster as talented as what the Gaels had, it can be hard to carve out a major role before a player’s senior year. Jordan finished with 501 receiving yards — second most on the team — anyway. Rodriguez wanted to unleash him even further for his senior year.
Bishop Gorman had to keep Jordan in tight sometimes because of how gifted a blocker he is, but Rodriguez wanted to use him everywhere. He lined up in the backfield as a fullback. He split out wide and became 4-star dual-threat quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s favorite target. The Gaels ran one screen play to Jordan so consistently they could treat it as an automatic first down. Against Las Vegas’ Palo Verde High School, Bishop Gorman ran it on a third-and-long to get Jordan loose for a surprisingly easy 86-yard touchdown.
The wackiest idea, though, was to let Jordan play quarterback. Bishop Gorman’s playbook always had wildcat formations, usually designed to get a speedy wide receiver or running back an extra blocker to work with. Last season, Rodriguez decided his best option was his 6-3, 250-pound tight end. Jordan rewarded him with 3 rushing touchdowns on 9 carries.
“There’s plays that he ran as a tight end that probably won’t be run this year,” Rodriguez said. “We don’t have that type of guy right now.”
Jordan became a rarity at the high school level: a 1,000-yard receiver at tight end and a clear go-to option at the position. The Hurricanes don’t look to the west often, but Jordan was a prospect Hartley felt he couldn’t miss.
At this point, it’s no secret what Miami hopes to do at tight end moving forward. The example was set in 2016, when the Hurricanes played tight end Christopher Herndon as an in-line tight end or H-back and split out fellow tight end David Njoku to essentially be a hybrid receiver.
Will Mallory, the other 4-star tight end in Miami’s class, should be the successor to Njoku. Jordan is the logical extension of Herndon’s skill set — an unappreciated blocker willing to do the dirty work when in the lineup with another tight end; and one of the most versatile offensive weapons in the country when alone at his position.
Hartley’s vision was enough to sell Jordan on coming across the country for college.
“All Coach Hartley had to do was show me the film, how he used David and Chris. Once he did that, I knew immediately,” Jordan said. “The way they used Chris was perfect. I was like, ‘That’s the way I want to be used.’ ”
Even as open as Jordan is about his life, there are a few things he expects people won’t know. The elite receiver is actually a quarter Korean — his mother was even in South Korea before moving to Vegas at a young age. He’s only attended one college football game — when Miami beat Notre Dame in November. And before every game, Jordan likes to wash his hands with holy water.
Beverly Jordan describes her middle son as a “prayer warrior.” When he was 8 or 9, Jordan was grumpy because his PlayStation or Xbox was malfunctioning. When Beverly Jordan returned from work, her son was ecstatic. He had prayed and prayed, Jordan told his mother, and his console started working.
“I think that confirmed his faith,” Beverly Jordan said with a laugh.
This is why Jordan’s path to the Hurricanes can never feel just like chance.
The first time the Jordans heard from Miami, their minds immediately rushed to thinking about Moss. Plenty of schools, Richt told Beverly Jordan, will say they want her son. The Hurricanes, on the other hand, needed him.
Now Jordan is 2,500 miles from home, fulfilling a legacy he never really realized existed until a few years ago. Somehow, he’s the perfect fit.
“I truly believe God and Cedric, they did something and they worked something out,” Jordan said. “I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”