Dallas Colleges: nick jordan

Burnt Orange Breakdown: Nick Jordan

June, 11, 2014
Jun 11
Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we're taking a deep dive into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series will take a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from him. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 28 Nick Jordan
Sophomore kicker

Recruitment rewind: Mack Brown extended an offer to Jordan in the summer of 2011 and he became the Longhorns' 18th verbal pledge almost instantly. Jordan was considered one of the nation's top kickers out of Coppell (Texas) High and converted 15 of 20 field goal attempts on a team that rarely had to settle for field goals.

Career so far: As a true freshman, Jordan was Texas' on-again, off-again placekicker and had decent results for his debut year. He connected on 9 of 15 field goal attempts, making seven of his last 10 with a long of 40, and converted 31 of 32 PATs. A healthy Anthony Fera took over those duties in 2013, in addition to punting, and went on to become an All-American and Groza Award finalist. Jordan did not appear in a game last season and will be credited with a redshirt.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Jordan regains his starting duties kicking field goals and extra points after impressing Texas coaches in fall camp. He was thrown into the fire as a rookie and is now in his third year in the program, with a new special teams coach who has made no definitive plans on who's starting. He has kicked in big games, he's waited a year and now he wants his job back.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Another year on the bench. Nick Rose seems to have the early lead for the kicking duties exiting spring ball and he has proven to have one heck of a leg. Chris Vaughn, the new special teams coach, wasn't around in 2012. What Jordan did then doesn't matter much. It's all about who the best man for the job is by the end of August.

Future expectations: Jordan has three more years of eligibility remaining and plenty of time to get back to where he was as a freshman. He and Rose came in the same class but are now a year apart in eligibility (Rose is a junior), so there is a chance that, even if Rose wins out, Jordan will get his chance eventually. No doubt he'd rather win the job now.

Position battles to watch: Kicker/punter

March, 7, 2014
Mar 7
Editor's note: This is the fifth and final part of a weeklong series breaking down Texas’ most important spring position battles when the Longhorns begin practice in two weeks.

Moving on: Anthony Fera, who leaves as the most decorated kicker in Longhorns history after a remarkable 2013 season. Fera was the first consensus All-America selection and Lou Groza Award finalist in school history and also one of the Big 12’s best punters. Texas fans figured replacing Justin Tucker would be impossible, but Fera was arguably better in his second and final season in burnt orange.

The contenders: Despite losing Fera, the Longhorns do bring back one experienced placekicker in Nick Jordan and a junior-to-be in Nick Rose who has handled kickoffs for two seasons.

Texas also brings back William Russ, who will be a senior this fall, as well as junior Ben Pruitt, sophomore Michael Davidson and redshirt freshman Mitchell Becker.

Moving forward: After years of divvying up the duties among the staff, Texas finally has a designated special teams coach in Chris Vaughn. He’ll also coach the secondary with Vance Bedford, but is responsible for finding the next Fera on this roster.

This time, though, it seems more likely Texas will go back to having a two- or three-man unit for handling kicks this season. At least, that seems like a likely outcome because of Rose’s specialty -- booming kickoffs. He raised his touchback rate from 36 percent as a freshman to 42 percent in 2013 and should be given an opportunity to earn another role in year three.

Jordan did not appear in a game last season but hit on 9-of-15 field goal attempts as a true freshman in 2012, holding down that job for 10 games while Fera dealt with a groin injury. He hit seven of his final 10 attempts that year and was understandably inconsistent for a rookie. The job should be there for the taking for Jordan this spring.

But Vaughn wants competition. He says he’ll put all his options on the field this spring, put them in pressure situations and find out who stands out.

Russ is a bit of a dark horse in this race, a scholarship player who has dealt with injuries during his career. He and Becker might be the best options at the moment for finding a punter, but there’s no reason to count out Pruitt, Davidson (who recorded one kickoff last season) or anyone else at this point.

Prediction: A too-close-to-call battle in spring ball. Seems like a safe bet right now would be that Jordan is the placekicker, Russ and Becker are battling for punter duties, and Rose continues to hold down the kickoffs. But if someone is good enough to do multiple roles, the staff won't be afraid to consolidate responsibilities.

Big 12 spring breakdown: Special teams

February, 27, 2014
Feb 27
As we await the start of spring ball, we’ve been examining and ranking the positional situations of every team in the Big 12. Thursday, we close this series out with special teams.

1. TCU: Honorable mention All-Big 12 place-kicker Jaden Oberkrom was 13 of 14 on field goals inside the 50 last season and drilled a 56-yarder late in the fourth quarter at Kansas State. B.J. Catalon was second in the league in kickoff returns and took one to the house in the opener against LSU. Freshman Cameron Echols-Luper took his first punt return 51 yards and had a 41-yarder in the season finale against Baylor. Brandon Carter has had moments in the return game in the past as well. Ethan Perry will be a three-year starter at punter, rounding out a formidable special teams unit.

2. Baylor: Corey Coleman led the league in kick returns, and Levi Norwood scored twice off punt returns. The Bears are loaded with potential game-breakers in the return game and welcome back All-Big 12 punter Spencer Roth. If Kyle Peterson proves to be a reliable replacement for departing kicker Aaron Jones, this special teams unit will have no weakness.

[+] EnlargeTyler Lockett
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesAlong with being a top-flight wide receiver, Kansas State's Tyler Lockett can also provide big plays in the return game.
3. Kansas State: The Wildcats feature one of the best kickoff return men in the game in Tyler Lockett, who doubles as an All-American WR candidate. Jack Cantele, the younger brother of All-Big 12 K-State kicker Anthony Cantele, only missed two field goal attempts as a sophomore and nailed a 41-yarder as time expired to beat TCU. Defensive tackle Travis Britz also returns after leading the nation with four blocked kicks.

4. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders will feature a lethal one-two punch in the return game in Jakeem Grant and Reginald Davis, who took a kick back for a touchdown in the bowl game. Receiver Jordan Davis also has return experience. Kicker Ryan Bustin returns after garnering honorable mention All-Big 12 honors last year.

5. Oklahoma: The Sooners lose the most explosive return duo in the league in Jalen Saunders and Roy Finch. Sterling Shepard and Alex Ross could be among the players who replace them. Oklahoma boasts the league’s most efficient returning place-kicker in Michael Hunnicutt, who nailed 24 of 27 field goal tries last season. The Sooners have a secret weapon in Nick Hodgson, who led the league in touchback kickoffs last season. Jed Barnett, fifth in the Big 12 in punting average last season, returns as well.

6. Iowa State: The Cyclones had four players make first- or second-team All-Big 12 last season, and departing punter Kirby Van Der Kamp was one of them. Replacing his production won’t be easy, though incoming three-star freshman Colin Downing will try. DeVondrick Nealy, Jarvis West and Aaron Wimberly all had several dynamite moments returning kicks. Cole Netten was 13-of-18 on field goals as a freshman,

7. West Virginia: Nick O'Toole leads the Mountaineers on special teams. The “Boomstache” was 15th nationally in punting last season. The Mountaineers have all their returners back in Wendell Smallwood, Mario Alford and Jordan Thompson, though more big plays are needed from this group -- the Mountaineers ranked last in the league in both punt and kick returns in 2013. Josh Lambert comes back after making 17 of 23 field goals as a freshman. The Mountaineers also enjoy a luxury in Michael Molinari, who can do a little bit of everything.

8. Texas: The Longhorns lose their punter and their kicker in consensus All-American Anthony Fera. That hurts. Nick Jordan, who made nine of 15 field goals in 2012, could reclaim his job. Daje Johnson -- who returned a punt for a TD against Oklahoma -- Duke Thomas, Quandre Diggs, Marcus Johnson, Kendall Sanders and Jaxon Shipley all have experience returning.

9. Kansas: Return men Connor Embree (punts) and JaCorey Shepherd (kicks) both come back. The Jayhawks also return kicker Matthew Wyman, who connected on a game-winning 52-yard field goal to beat Louisiana Tech. The freshman, however, only made two field goals after that and eventually lost that job to departing senior Ron Doherty. Trevor Pardula was third in the Big 12 in punting as a junior and received votes for Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year.

10. Oklahoma State: After enjoying All-Americans Dan Bailey and Quinn Sharp the last few years, the Cowboys were finally mediocre in the kicking game last season. Ben Grogan struggled as a freshman, making just 11 of 18 field goals while missing two critical attempts in the early-season loss at West Virginia. The Cowboys were also last in the league in punting. Oklahoma State signed three-star kicker Zach Sinor with hopes of curing some of those ills. The Cowboys were still dynamic in the return game, but with Justin Gilbert and Josh Stewart both gone, Oklahoma State could lean on juco transfer and track star Tyreek Hill for a jolt on returns.

Weak and Strong: Texas Longhorns

March, 18, 2013
Turnover is an annual tradition in college football, but with that, teams' strengths and weaknesses constantly shift, too. Today, we'll continue our look at the biggest strengths and weaknesses for each Big 12 team.

Next up: Texas.

Strongest position: Running backs

You simply could not ask for anything more from one position, and I might make the case that this is the strongest unit in the Big 12 in terms of pure skill. The Longhorns lost D.J. Monroe from this unit last year, but they run four deep and each brings something special to the table. Johnathan Gray has the best balance of the quartet, and the rising sophomore looks like a favorite to win the starting job on the back of his strong first step. The starting position is a bit pointless ultimately, considering all four will get touches, especially Malcolm Brown, a balanced back with a great feel for space between the tackles who leans a bit more toward being a power runner.

The other two backs are pure specialty, but every backfield can use those. Joe Bergeron is a 240-pound bowling ball who rolled his way to 16 touchdowns a year ago, more than anyone else in the Big 12 except Collin Klein, who finished third in the Heisman voting. On the other end of the spectrum is Daje Johnson, a sophomore speedster who averaged 11.5 yards a touch last season. He had touchdown runs of 45 yards (New Mexico) and 84 yards (Baylor) that showcased his speed. This is a solid group with elite talent and tons of depth and versatility. Texas has recruited running backs so well lately, and it's showing up on the field. What more could you ask for?

Weakest position: Specialists

Texas has solid talent in the return game with Quandre Diggs and Jaxon Shipley, but the kicking game was a disaster last season and the Longhorns are trying to find an answer at punter to fill in for Alex King, who graduated after averaging better than 45 yards a kick on his 43 punts last year. The big problem that carried over from last season is at place-kicker. Texas finished last season just 11-of-19 on field goals, tied for the worst mark in the Big 12 and 107th nationally.

Penn State transfer Anthony Fera was the biggest hope at the position, but he was nagged with a persistent groin injury and has been working mostly at punter this spring after making 2-of-4 field goals last year. Freshman Nick Jordan made 9-of-15 kicks last season and has to be better to hold onto his spot.

Texas has recruited well all over the field and doesn't lose much from last year's team, but when I survey the depth chart, kicker and punter are clearly the biggest weaknesses for the Longhorns. The players currently on the roster are long on potential but short on real accomplishments.

More Weak and Strong.

Breaking down spring camp: Texas

February, 20, 2013
As spring camps begin, we'll offer up a preview and let you know what to watch for in each team's 15 practices over the next couple of months. Texas will start spring practice first, so today we start with the Longhorns.

Schedule: The Longhorns begin spring practice on Thursday and will host a spring game on March 30.

What's new: Offensive playcalling duties have fallen to co-coordinator Major Applewhite now, who was promoted when partner Bryan Harsin left to become Arkansas State's head coach. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz mulled a move after the season, but ultimately stuck around to help revive a defense that struggled in 2012.

On the mend: Defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat will likely be limited after undergoing surgery on a torn pectoral, but linebacker Jordan Hicks should return following a hip injury that cost him his 2012 season and a sexual assault charge that was eventually dropped stemming from an incident during the Longhorns' bowl trip.

Stepping up: Kenny Vaccaro's versatility will be tough to replace, but figuring out who will try and fill his role at safety will be huge for Texas' defense during the spring. My money is on Mykkele Thompson, but don't rule out junior Josh Turner or even a position move for physical junior cornerback Quandre Diggs.

New faces: Texas is welcoming a handful of early enrollees this spring, headlined by quarterback Tyrone Swoopes. Offensive lineman Jake Raulerson, the 2013 class' first commit, is also enrolled along with linebacker Deoundrei Davis and tight end Geoff Swaim, the nation's No. 4 junior college player at the position.

Breaking out: Linebacker Peter Jinkens already made an impact as a true freshman, but don't be surprised if he leaves spring practice with a starting gig, beating out a few older players like Steve Edmond and Kendall Thompson. Jinkens earned a start against Iowa State and snagged an interception in Texas' Alamo Bowl win over Oregon State, but the 6-foot-1, 213-pounder from Dallas could be a budding star in a linebacking corps that needs help after a disappointing 2012.

Under the radar: Texas struggled in the kicking game throughout 2012, making just 11 of 19 attempts, the lowest percentage of any Big 12 team. Nick Jordan had to carry the load as a freshman while Penn State transfer Anthony Fera battled a groin injury. They'll be back to battle this spring, and though it won't get much attention in a camp loaded with intrigue, its importance can't be overstated for a team that doesn't hang points by the buckets and played in six games decided by one possession a year ago.

All eyes on: Quarterback David Ash. Being just OK is no longer acceptable. He was reasonably efficient last season with a passer rating of over 153, but faltered late in the season and struggled with inconsistency. If Texas is going to be great, he has to be great, and most importantly, consistent. No more well-deserved benchings in favor of Case McCoy. Ash limited his interceptions and was fifth in the league in passer rating, but he's got to be even better as a junior.

Big 12 stock report: Week 4

September, 19, 2012
Unfortunately, I've run out of money-based terms to throw around meaninglessly, so you'll have to settle for me getting to the facts.

Here's what's up and what's down across the Big 12 entering this week:

Rising: Collin Klein

Kansas State's dealt with some slow starts this year, but Klein's been pretty constant through three games. He's completing 72.9 percent (43-of-59) of his passes for a 609 yards, five scores and two interceptions. Klein completed only 57 percent of his throws last season and had just over 1,900 yards in 12 games, with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Falling: Landry Jones

Jones' slow start has to be of at least some concern, even if the odds are with him turning it around. He's completing only 62.5 percent of his passes through two games, which is down less than half a percent from last season, but Oklahoma's only played UTEP and FCS Florida A&M so far. It's going to get more difficult. Additionally, Klein has 135 more yards on five fewer attempts than Jones. The two will be going head to head on Saturday. Jones' completion percentage is currently better than only one Big 12 starting quarterback: Kansas' Dayne Crist. He's averaging just 7.4 yards per attempt, compared to 10.3 for Klein.

Rising: Kirby Van Der Kamp's leg

Van Der Kamp is going Van Der Krazy (I'm so, so sorry) through three weeks. He's punted 19 times, and 14 of those have been pinned inside the 20-yard line. Coach Paul Rhoads referred to Van Der Kamp as a weapon this week, and he's certainly helped Iowa State win the field-position battle during the Cyclones' 3-0 start. Even more impressive: Iowa State hasn't given up a single yard or return on those 19 kicks. The only problem: The sophomore's activity suggests some offensive issues within the context of the Big 12. He has eight more punts than any other Big 12 player, and half the league has fewer than six punts. Through three games, Texas Tech has punted just twice, the fewest in the nation. TCU and West Virginia have just three punts through two games, tied for the second fewest in the nation.

Falling: Texas, Kansas kickers

The epidemic of poor field goal kicking hasn't left the Big 12 unaffected. Texas has missed a field goal in all three games this season, and freshman Nick Jordan is just 3-of-7 so far. That 42.9 percentage ranks 80th nationally. Kansas' Ron Doherty is just 4-of-8 through three games, too. In fact, through just three weeks, every Big 12 team has already missed at least one kick. West Virginia hasn't attempted a field goal, but missed a PAT.

Rising: Texas Tech's defense

There's plenty of talk about Texas Tech's offense, and for good reason: Seth Doege's 12 touchdown passes are two more than any player in the country, and he's thrown just one interception in 101 attempts. But how about the defense? The competition hasn't been strong, but the improvement under Art Kaufman is already clear. Texas Tech ranks second nationally in total defense, giving up just over 3 yards a play. The Red Raiders are also tied with Oklahoma for the Big 12's second-best scoring defense at just 10 points a game. (TCU has given up just six points in two games.) Last year, Texas Tech gave up 39.3 points a game, better than only three teams. It also gave up 485 yards a game, better than only five teams.

Falling: Kansas State's grabby hands

Kansas State nabbed 18 interceptions last season, returning three for scores. That ranked second in the Big 12, behind only Oklahoma State, who was second nationally with 24. Nigel Malone led the Big 12 with seven picks, too. Through three games this year, though, Kansas State has just one interception. Only Oklahoma has fewer than two interceptions this year, and the Sooners have played one fewer game than K-State. Last week, Kansas State allowed North Texas to complete 25-of-28 passes, too.

Texas aims for top kicking game

August, 10, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas -- At the tail end of Texas’ season, with the kicking game about to be shambles, Mack Brown put in a call for help.

“We actually called the soccer club … and said, ‘Got anybody that can kick and has a great leg?’” Brown said.

That’s how Michael Davidson, who had never kicked a field goal in a game, but spent the entire Christmas break at Houston’s Strake Jesuit High School teaching himself the few things he had watched on YouTube, tried out and was put on the roster after spring practice.

[+] EnlargeAnthony Fera
Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesPenn State transfer Anthony Fera brings the most experience to the Longhorns' roster of kickers.
“He's a guy that's got a great leg and we'll watch him,” Brown said.

Davidson is not the only guy Texas will watch this fall. There are eight kickers and punters in Texas’ fall camp. Three of those are scholarship players -- Anthony Fera, the transfer from Penn State, incoming freshman Nick Jordan and sophomore Will Russ.

Clearly, Justin Tucker’s value just went through the roof. The last time one player had to be replaced by so many others Herschel Walker and the Minnesota Vikings were involved.

But Tucker was a guy who did it all for Texas. And he handled it well. Just ask Texas A&M.

In fact, Texas has always had a guy who could handle the kicking duties. In Brown’s 14 years the Longhorns are 8-for-8 on game-winning field goals. Net punting has been more hit or miss with a high of No. 3 in 2007 and a low of No. 93 in 2009. Most of Brown’s years, Texas has been middling at best.

With the 2012 season at least appearing to be one where Texas could be a lower-scoring, grind-it-out, field-position offense, kicking and punting could play a large role. Larger than most even expect.

“We set a lot of goals for preseason camp,” Brown said. “What we do is, No. 1, would be to try to have the best kicking game in America.”

OK, maybe there could be more pressing concerns, but at least according to Brown, the team’s first goal is the kicking game.

Guess he saw the red zone stats last year, too. (Worst ever touchdown percentage by any team in Big 12 history.)

Since that emergency call was placed to the Texas club soccer team, a few other calls have come into Texas. The first was from Alex King, a punter previously at Duke. He needed a place to go to graduate school and a team on which to punt. Texas took a look at his 42-yard average and said there was a walk-on post waiting for him.

The next call came from Fera. The Penn State transfer wanted to be back in Texas, and closer to his mom who has MS. Texas needed a veteran kicker -- Fera was 14-of-17 for the Nittany Lions last year -- and welcomed yet another kicker.

King and Fera, like the other specialists, were only guaranteed a roster spot, not a starting one.

“We told Anthony that when he came to visit and we told Alex that,” Brown said.

What Brown told himself was it might be nice to have a veteran at least competing for the kicking and punting spots. Texas had used a true freshman before -- Dusty Mangum was 16-of-23 on field goals in 2001 -- but typically a team does not relish placing a young player in such pressure situations.

“I like the fact that we are not putting so much pressure on young, talented kickers and punters and we will at least have experience as an option,” Brown said. “I think that those two older guys can really help our young ones, that are talented, come on, too. So we are really excited about both those additions, and both of them just kind of fell in our lap and we didn't expect or pursue either one of them.”

But now, with all the players in Texas’ lap, the Longhorns can set about pursuing Brown’s goal of being the top kicking team in the country.

Fera fills a big need for Texas

August, 2, 2012

Texas might have answered one of its largest questions before camp has even started.

Anthony Fera will transfer to the Longhorns, giving Texas an experienced kicker in a spot where it had none.

[+] EnlargeAnthony Fera
Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesAnthony Fera, who hit 14 of his 17 field goals, should step in and make an immediate impact for Texas.
Fera has two years of eligibility left after transferring from Penn State and will be eligible for the 2012 season. Fera’s scholarship counts against Texas’ 85 as per the NCAA’s ruling on the PSU scandal.

Fera, a Houston St. Pius X prospect who hit 14-of-17 field goals last season, gives the Longhorns a legitimate threat on field goals. Jordan Tucker graduated after a season in which he hit 17-of-21 field goals, and his departure left the Longhorns with a huge void. William Russ and Ben Pruitt battled for the job in the spring but the results were less than impressive.

Texas does have incoming freshman Nick Jordan. It also brought on walk-ons Nick Rose (Dallas/Highland Park) and Michael Davidson (Houston/Strake Jesuit). Grant Sirgo redshirted as a walk-on in 2011.

Alex King, who is exclusively a punter, transferred from Duke at the start of the summer.

With the addition of Fera, Texas now has seven potential place-kickers. Three of those players, Fera, Jordan and Russ, are on scholarship.

While Texas has had success with true freshman kickers before -- Dusty Mangum was 18-of-26 in 2001 -- the Longhorns, due to a lackluster passing game, figure to be a team in need on a strong and reliable leg.

Jordan has the strength, and the range from 60 yards and in. But the reliability part is what worried Texas. Fera, due to his experience, might be slightly more reliable in pressure situations. Fera was perfect from inside 40 yards. That bodes well for Texas, which had the worst red-zone touchdown efficiency in the history of the Big 12 in 2011.
Penn State junior kicker Anthony Fera has contacted the Longhorns about joining their program, his father told ESPN.com, and he’s returning home this weekend to consider a visit to Texas.

Tony Fera confirmed that his son is planning to visit his family in Cypress, Texas, on Saturday to discuss his potential transfer options.

“There’s a lot of rumors flying around about if he’s going to Texas or all these schools,” Tony Fera said. “I can say he’s coming home to his parents this weekend and that he’s going to consider a visit while he’s down here.”

Fera, a Houston St. Piux X product, has heard from more than a dozen schools this week. He’s still contemplating staying at Penn State, where he’s on track to graduate in December. If he does leave the Nittany Lions in the wake of the program’s severe NCAA sanctions, it will most likely be for a chance to play closer to home.

“We’re certainly considering that, and UT is one of the schools that we’d consider hearing what they have to say,” Tony Fera said.

As a redshirt sophomore, Fera became the first Nittany Lion since Chirs Bahr in 1975 to be the starter for field goals, kickoffs and punts a season ago.

(Read full post)

Coppell K could see action right away at Texas

March, 14, 2012
Coppell's Nick Jordan might not have any time to watch and learn during his freshman year at Texas.

With the kickers the Longhorns have on campus struggling this spring, the job could be Jordan's for the taking.

HornsNation's Carter Strickland took a look at the Texas kicking situation Wednesday. Here's an excerpt about Jordan.
Jordan has the credentials. He was considered one of the top five kickers in the country, played in the U.S. Army All-American game and missed only five field goals in high school.

“We saw him kick out on a 60-plus-yard field goal, and he pulled it a little bit left,” Brown said. “But so we have seen him with a very strong leg.”
Read the full post here.