After off-field woes, Jordan enjoys season in the sun with Hough

The Hough High School football program is off to a better start than anyone but the players themselves could have expected.

After winning two of their first five games, there’s a sense of optimism surrounding the inexperienced Huskies. And with no seniors on the roster, the squad can compete heedlessly with the safety net of at least one more year of high school football to follow.

But not all Huskies have another season to fall back on.

As a fourth-year junior, the future is now for Hough running back Quintaris Jordan. Jordan’s high school sports career expires next spring because of Charlotte Mecklenburg School’s eight-semester rule.

So with a sense of urgency, Jordan’s spent the first five games crashing into linebackers as if they were made of paper and escaping the clutches of defensive ends like he was loose change in a pocket with a hole in it. Jordan knows each time he puts on a Hough uniform, it will be the first and last time he faces an opponent. That’s why he runs with the football as if he wants opposing defenses to never forget his name.

This season, Jordan’s reckless abandon on the gridiron has led to a team-high 421 yards and three touchdowns. In a 16-0 victory over Waddell on Sept. 3, Jordan rushed for a ridiculous 223 yards 20 carries. His first game in a Husky uniform wasn’t too bad, either. Jordan chewed up 106 yards in Hough’s season-opening win at Rocky River, scoring the first touchdown in school history.

“It was exciting to see (Jordan) score the school’s first touchdown,” Hough coach Bobby Collins said. “‘Q’ is a yes-sir, no-sir kind of kid. He practices with a blue-collar attitude. No negative talk – he just runs the plays we ask him to. As a first-year coach, that’s what you want out of your running back.”

While it’s clear that Jordan has settled in as the workhorse in the Hough backfield, he wasn’t always the clear-cut choice. At first, Collins doubted the 6 foot 2, 185-pounder’s ball-carrying skills when Jordan asked to run the football during tryouts. The Husky coach eventually relented to his player’s request and was pleasantly surprised.

“On the first day of practice, I didn’t think he could carry the ball,” said ­Collins. “But then we put shoulder pads on, and he ran over somebody’s chest. When I saw that, it was all over for me.”

The wrong backfield

Collins wasn’t the only coach to underestimate Jordan’s rushing skills based on a first impression. As a freshman, North Mecklenburg  High School coaches told him he was too big for the running back spot on the junior varsity squad and put him at safety.

Deep inside, however, Jordan believed he should have been in the offensive backfield. Not only did he have the size and speed that made him fearless in a bruising sport, he also possessed the mental makeup to run full speed into a pile of 250-pounders without flinching.

Jordan, however, never got another chance to show the North Meck coaches what he could do. As he’s well aware these days, his physical and mental tools weren’t always enough to keep him on the North Meck roster after his freshman campaign. Woes in the classroom took him down, too.

Jordan struggled academically early in his high school career. After sitting out his sophomore year with a knee injury, he wasn’t academically eligible to play during his junior year at North Meck. But instead of wallowing in self-pity, Jordan picked himself up and attacked the classroom like it was a linebacker standing between of him and the goal line.

On his father’s advice, he asked North Meck officials to set him up with a tutor after school to assist him on his comeback trail. With help, Jordan turned his academic status around, and his commitment to the classroom has continued since transferring to Hough.

Now that he’s eligible to play, Jordan will have a chance to show his former school that he’s not too big to play running back; the Huskies will host North Meck on Friday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m.

“I’m ready for that game,” said Jordan. “I have a lot of friends on the team talking some (good-natured) trash. They joke that they put me on their hit list.”

But don’t misunderstand Jordan’s story; it isn’t about revenge against his former school. Jordan said he blames no one but himself for his past eligibility issues. He prefers to serve as a cautionary tale for future athletes who don’t make school a priority, and he wants to be an inspiration for those who hope to change their ways.

“He busts his butt in study hall,” said Collins. “His mentality in school is also blue-collar. He sits in the front of class – like all of our players are expected to do – and pays attention because he knows it’s not just about him anymore. It’s also about being on the field for his teammates.”

Years from now, as Jordan looks back on his life, he’ll fondly remember his only season of varsity football. It’s something so special to him that it can’t be compared to his three years at North Meck. When it’s all said and done, Jordan said he wants to be remembered as a Husky.

“This season has been exciting for me,” said Jordan. “It’s like a dream come true to play in front of my friends and family who come out to watch us on Friday night.

“After I graduate high school, I’ll tell them I was a Husky,” said Jordan. “I’ll tell them I represent Hough High School.”