Sooners getting hard-edged player, soft-hearted kid in Union’s Devon Jordan

Sooners getting hard-edged player, soft-hearted kid in Union’s Devon Jordan

Union’s Devon Jordan, a four-star cornerback with state track champion speed, on the verge of his dream signing with Oklahoma.

Guerin Emig

By Guerin Emig

| Dec 20, 2023, 6:00am CST

Guerin Emig

By Guerin Emig

Dec 20, 2023, 6:00am CST

TULSA – Devon Jordan was a little guy, years from growing into a four-star cornerback on the verge of signing with Oklahoma, when he spotted a turtle in the middle of the road.

“His first animal,” said Bridgette Jacobs, Jordan’s aunt. “He made me stop and pick it up so he could bring it home. That turned out to be a snapping turtle.”

Sooners fans curious about what they’re getting in the Union High School senior, who will officially sign with OU Wednesday, might start with that moment, symbolic of the soft and hard sides that those close to Jordan see. 

“Day-Day’s got a lot of siblings that he wants to take care of. He’s constantly trying to motivate them or his teammates,” Union coach Kirk Fridrich said at the mock Signing Day ceremony the school hosted Tuesday morning. “He’s just got a heart for trying to help people, which I really like… 

“But also just the edge he carries onto the field. He loves the challenge and is a back-against-the-wall kind of guy knowing a team has a great player he can go against.”

The challenge isn’t for everybody, which is why the majority of teenage football players with FBS skills insist on playing with the ball in their hands. Fridrich sensed Jordan wasn’t everybody and approached him early in the youngster’s Redhawks career. 

“I played receiver before I played corner. (Fridrich) pulled me to the side,” Jordan said. “He was like, ‘JT Broughton (the Union alum starting at corner for Utah) was a sophomore when Tre Brown (the Union alum who started at corner for OU) was a senior. I was a sophomore when Jayden Rowe (the Union alum currently at OU) was a senior.’ 

“He saw a vision in me. He already knew what was coming.”

Jordan combined the nuances of cornerback with the speed he burned to help Union win the 2023 Class 6A 400-meter relay state championship. (He says he’ll finish his senior year at Union to defend that championship in May.) 

It didn’t take long for his potential to materialize.

“Probably before my junior year started,” he said. “It was just a different feeling. The game got slower. I got faster, stronger. And then that seven-on-seven season really showed me that I was the guy.”

Jordan’s progress was reinforced as colleges invited him for official campus visits. 

“Kansas State, OSU, TCU, Alabama, Texas A&M,” he listed.

Brent Venables and cornerbacks coach Jay Valai got involved for the Sooners. 

“Coach Venables is the head coach I talked to the most out of any school,” Jordan revealed. “When I went there on my first unofficial visit in, like, May, I came to his office and he wanted to let me know I had a scholarship offer.”

Jordan said he first fell in love with football watching OU and Dallas Cowboys games with his grandpa. Venables didn’t have to sell hard, but he had a three-lettered trump card just in case. 

“Shoot, they’re going to the SEC,” said Jordan, who committed to the Sooners in October. “Why not represent my home state and just go get it in the SEC?”

That made Tuesday morning, when Union staged the Signing Day ceremony inside its UMAC arena, no surprise to anyone who gathered. 

“I said that to him all his life, speaking positivity, manifesting his life, speaking things into existence,” Jacobs said among the throng of friends and family. “That way, they (Jordan and his siblings) can get where they want no matter what comes into their way. Instead of focusing on the negative, they’re going to focus on the positive.”

Jacobs talked about Jordan looking after his siblings and other neighborhood kids, hair trimming in the garage included. She wiped a tear when he brought up his grandpa, her father, who has since passed away. 

She provided an update on her nephew’s makeshift zoo. 

“An albino snake, a hedgehog, a bearded dragon,” Jacobs said. “He’s always loved animals. He has a huge heart. He will give you the shirt off his back. He’ll do anything for anybody. He’s just an amazing kid.”

“I’ve known ‘Day-Day’ a long time,” Fridrich said. “Just so proud of what he’s done.”

“Feels good, man. Feels great,” Jordan said of Tuesday morning’s ceremony, a moment OU fans can use as a bookend. “Like a dream come true.”

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Guerin Emig is a columnist for the Sellout Crowd network. Read his work at selloutcrowd.com and guerinemig.com. Reach out with feedback and/or ideas at [email protected] or (918) 629-6229. Follow him on Twitter at @GuerinEmig and Instagram at @guerin.emig. .

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