Hawkeye football recruit fulfilling family dream


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Two pairs of rubber soles grazed the brick-colored track encircling the finely mowed grass of Bates Field. Mariah Jordan and her father’s routine of working out on the City High track was a typical endeavor on slow-moving summer Sundays.

But on this particular Sunday, Mariah Jordan, then a junior at City High, broke their habitual run with a question.

“Dad, what if I go to the University of Iowa to run track and Ellis comes to play football? Wouldn’t that be a dream come true?” she recalled.

Her father, almost savoring the thought, looked at his daughter and said, “Yeah, Pumpkin, that’d be awesome.”

Now in the midst of her first season as a Hawkeye hurdler, Mariah Jordan’s vision was cemented with brother Ellis Jordan’s decision to walk on to the Iowa football team along with teammates John Chelf and A.J. Derby in Iowa’s 2010 recruiting class.

“Being a Hawkeye has always been something I wanted to do since I was a little kid,” Ellis Jordan said. “I had a great football season, and things turned out the way I wanted them to, and I was able to come to Iowa. I just know the program here is one of the best in the nation.”

City High head coach Dan Sabers is still astonished by the drastic improvement Jordan displayed as a senior running back.

“To think you take a kid who didn’t even play tailback as a junior, and then he rushes for about 1,500 yards [his senior year],” Sabers said. “So one, either the head coach doesn’t know what the heck he’s doing as a junior or two, it just all of a sudden came together.

“So of course I am just going to say it sort of all just came together.”

The Little Hawks ended their 2009 season undefeated and the Class 4A state champions. Ellis Jordan rushed for 172 yards and scored three touchdowns in City High’s 42-14 win over Marshalltown in the championship game in the UNI-Dome.

As the 5-7 tailback made his way back to the bench for the last time, spectators rose to their feet and applauded to honor the youngster.

“As a father of my son, I saw him come into this world and into his life — it gives me chills to talk about right now,” Jordan Jordan said, remembering the crowd’s support of his only son. “To see my son out there and to have the opportunity to do what he did and to do it very respectfully … And to see him walk out and the crowd give him a standing ovation. It was a very proud moment.”

Mariah Jordan was also captivated by that final moment in the stands, knowing how much her brother lives for the game of football.

“I knew how hard my brother worked and how much time he put into football,” she said. “I always told my brother dreams could be reality. I saw him accomplish a dream and a goal at the same time.”

After officially visiting Iowa last weekend to talk with Hawkeye players and coaches, Ellis Jordan had no jitters. He’s poised to commence the first step of his life long dream of becoming a collegiate football player for his hometown team.

“I am just prepared and ready to start working hard and show people that I have the ability, the man of my size, to play at the Division-I level.”

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