More than a name

Four-star LB Jordan Mastrogiovanni is as tough on the field as his name is long

Originally Published: May 15, 2012
By Damon Sayles | ESPN RecruitingNation

DALLAS -- He's one of the best linebackers in the nation, but on the Dallas Jesuit High School campus, they hardly ever call him by his name. It's not done to be mean. It's because saying Jordan Mastrogiovanni's last name is only slighly easier than blocking him.

All together now: MAS-tro-gee-oh-vah-nee.

Six syllables. Fourteen letters. One very important name to the Jesuit football team.

[+] EnlargeJordan Mastrogiovanni
Damon Sayles/ESPN.comFour-star LB Jordan Mastrogiovanni's last name might be a handful, but recruiters from across the country don't seem to have a problem with it.
"I get that all the time," Mastrogiovanni said of the constant mispronunciation of his last name. "I don't let it bother me. A lot of people just call me 'Mastro.'"

When it's time to play football, opponents, analysts and college scouts refer to him as "No. 7." That's because the four-star inside linebacker wearing that jersey for Jesuit is often seen in the right place at the right time. Whether it's a jarring hit or an important tackle for a loss, Mastrogiovanni is building a nice reputation for himself.

Mastrogiovanni, the No. 6 inside linebacker in the country, has more than 20 offers from FBS schools, including LSU, UCLA, Notre Dame and Texas A&M.

"I really did not think that everything would happen so quickly for me," Mastrogiovanni said. "I just feel so lucky to have so many opportunities at so many different programs. I am extremely thankful."

The multiple offers are even more impressive knowing that Mastrogiovanni picked up his first offer the first week of January. Purdue was the first school to extend a football scholarship, and others quickly followed.

Jesuit coach Brandon Hickman has watched Mastrogiovanni's progress on the field, and he understands the recent success. It's his timing meshed with his meticulousness that makes Mastrogiovanni arguably the de facto leader of the Jesuit defense. Mastrogiovanni recorded 77 tackles (32 unassisted), seven tackles for loss, two sacks and two interceptions during the 2011 season and he's helped Jesuit develop into a threat among the Dallas-area competition.

"Off the field, he's fun to be around. He's a happy-go-lucky young man," Hickman said. "I'll see him in the hallways or in the cafeteria, and he's always got a smile on his face.

"When he gets on the field, he turns into a different person. He comes out to practice every day ready to work. He knows how to turn the switch on when he gets out here. He brings the attitude and intensity level we need for this football team."

Hickman said Mastrogiovanni's the definition of a leader by example. He's not an overly boisterous vocal player on the field, but his play quickly garners respect. Opponents immediately know who No. 7 is -- and they're immediately searching for where he's located.

Ranked the 23rd player overall in Texas, Mastrogiovanni's highlight tape shows his plethora of talents. He's a big hitter with solid speed. Mastrogiovanni's a downhill runner whose reaction time makes him very intriguing. Because of his quickness, Mastrogiovanni can play either inside or outside backer, but he has found a comfort zone playing inside for Jesuit.

Mastrogiovanni said he is in the process of narrowing schools but isn't planning on making a final decision until early in the summer.

"I am enjoying the recruiting process and feel extremely lucky I am going to get a chance to play at the next level," Mastrogiovanni said. "I am looking for a program that has a good environment, strong academics, strong tradition and team chemistry that makes it feel like a family.

"There have been a lot of great programs who have shown interest in me that fit that. To me, it's really been a blessing."

Hickman feels Mastrogiovanni has the goods to become a household name on the college football circuit. Pretty soon, everyone will be calling him "Mastro."

"I think he's going to have a bright future in college," Hickman said. "He's a great leader for us, and he's going to do nothing but improve in college."