After a slow start to his college career, junior quarterback Leighton Jordan of Temple Jr has emerged as one of the best players in football this season.
Jordan, who ranks fifth among FBS players in the sacks, has put together three straight games involving 4.5 sacks and seven tackles to lose, greatly improving Temple’s defense.
Jordan’s speed off the edge created problems for Rutgers. He finished with Kessen in Temple’s 16-14 loss to the Scarlet Knights last week.
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In the fourth quarter, Jordan sacked quarterback Evan Simon for a 15-yard loss to knock Rutgers off target with less than seven minutes remaining. Case Jordan almost got Temple back, but the offense failed to turn a fourth down just over two minutes into the clock.
Head coach of the year Stan Drayton was not surprised by Jordan’s outstanding performance.
“His job is to be an impact player,” Drayton said at the post-match press conference on Saturday. “His job is to make plays when his number is called within the defensive scheme. He’s just doing his job. He’s doing what he’s supposed to do.”
The expansion of Jordan’s role in the field of defense. He had rotational shots as a defensive lineman and scored one sack and 5.5 tackles for the loss in 2021.
Jordan was transferred to the outside full-back when Drayton was signed. The Year 5 player credits Temple defensive coordinator DJ Elliott for his development into a new position.
“I’m feeding his energy,” Jordan said. “I feed on his training. I am a wrong learner. I learn from my mistakes and write them down. He also corrects me in the movie room, telling me what I need [to work on]. “
The original move to full-back was a challenge due to Jordan’s lack of coverage experience. Learn more about coverage schemes after watching hours of the movie.
The midfielder’s urgency is not Jordan’s only strength.
“You turn the film on, it fits in with the guards and deals with making his way through,” Drayton said at a press conference two weeks ago. “He does not swing. He is a strong footballer.”
Over the past decade, Temple has developed successful passing games, including giants quarterback Quincy Roach and Arnold Ipeketty, who transitioned to Power 5 programs.
Jordan applied what Roche and Epikte taught him and upped his game.
“They had a ledge and a chip on their shoulder,” Jordan said. “They wanted to reach that goal they had in mind. They had a plan and they followed that plan.”
Jordan devised a similar successful plan. He relies on his teammates and defensive line coach Antoine Smith to learn more about his fast passing techniques.
“He’s always with me,” Jordan said. “You always tell me what to do. He trains me differently because it’s not me [position] Fitness Trainer.”
Jordan also spoke with offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Danny Langsdorf and offensive line coach Chris Weisehan to gain more knowledge about how midfielders and offensive linemen work.
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The whole development of Jordan took place in Philly. He graduated from McKeesport Area Senior High School five years ago and made a good impression on the program.
“He was one of those guys who light up a room,” said McKeesport coach Matt Miller. “He has a great personality.”
Jordan is scheduled to graduate in December with a degree in adult and organizational development, with a focus on education.
His passion for teaching translated to the quarterback room.
“I teach kittens how to watch movies,” Jordan said. “They always ask me good questions, and I am always one call away. I am always here to help people.”