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Paetow senior cornerback Michael Jordan verbally committed to play for the Air Force Academy on Tuesday, June 27.
Michael Jordan has played a significant role helping establish Paetow's young football program as a rising force in Class 5A in the Greater Houston area.
No, not that Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan. The Panthers' senior cornerback.
Paetow's M.J. is making people remember Michael Jordan as a playmaker on the football field, not just the basketball court. It's his game, not the name, that drew interest from Air Force, where Jordan committed Tuesday to continue his football career.
"I'm actually a junior, so I thank my pops for that name," Jordan said, laughing. "I get different reactions from all over, but the majority were mostly good. Usually, people would just ask me if I was a basketball player, or even played basketball. I would just tell them I played football, and nine out of 10 times, I would get a confused face from people. Some people would just laugh or joke around with me."
Paetow's Michael Jordan is doing just fine carving his own path. The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder had 34 tackles with four passes defensed last season for the Panthers, who have won 17 of 21 games over the last two seasons. Jordan picked Air Force over Army, Columbia, Memphis, Navy and Prairie View A&M.
Junior Highlights 2020
Junior Highlights 2020
Junior Highlights 2020
"I knew committing to the Air Force Academy, I would get a high level of academics, as well as playing an elite level of football," said Jordan, who holds a 3.5 grade-point average. "I would be in a good position for life after football."
Jordan spoke more with VYPE about his recruiting journey and more.
Q: What was the coaches' vision for you at the Air Force and how they plan to use you?
A: "Air Force recruited me to play defensive back, whether that's being a nickel, boundary corner, field corner, or even a little safety. But at the end of the day, I know they are putting me in the position where I know the team needs me best to help us win football games."
Q: How would you describe the recruiting process?
A: "The recruiting process treated me very well. I loved visiting all the campuses that recruited me, but the hardest part was just being patient and waiting for God's timing to put me in the position for all this to happen."
Q: When did you start playing football, and what was it about the sport that you fell in love with?
A: "I was 4 years old when I started playing football. My dad is an alumnus for Tulane University football, so I always grew up watching football and being around the sport. As years just went by, I fell more in love with the sport, and coming from a football family, I just knew from day 1 this was the sport I wanted to play for a long time."
Q: At what point did you realize college football could be a part of your future?
A: "I for sure knew college football was meant for me once I got my first football offer from the University of Memphis. At that exact moment, I knew all my hard work paid off and I really had the chance to live my dream out and play college football."
Q: Now that you have your commitment set, what are your expectations for yourself and the Panthers this season?
A: "The expectation for myself is to keep working hard and keep being consistent at what I am doing. I want to achieve another first team all-district (selection) for myself and do whatever I have to do for our team to win. As far as my team, I expect us to go undefeated in the regular season and make a long run in the playoffs. Last year, our season didn't turn out the way we wanted to from the (COVID-19) situation making us forfeit the (area playoff) game. I truly felt like that just pushed us harder in the offseason, having a chip on our shoulder and all of us wanting to prove people wrong next season."
Q: In what ways do you think you'll be a better player this upcoming season than last? What have you worked on during the offseason?
A: "Next season, I think I will be an even more physical corner and play faster and more explosive than I ever have. I spent a lot of time in the weight room, working on my lower body strength a lot and just getting more mobility. I ran track to get faster and competed with teammates every day, pushing each other in every activity."
SPX TE Logan Tanner
Logan Tanner and Bert Emanuel Jr. lead the next round of Matt Malatesta's next grouping of his Super 60 -- the top Houston-area recruits for the Class of 2022. Check out prospects #50-41 and don't forget to find the last grouping below!
The first-team, all-district selection has huge upside. So many college recruits have come out of the Alief area and he's the next big thing. He's only going to get better as he fills out his 6-foot-3 frame and improves over the summer. He will rise in the charts over the next few months. Houston, Utah State and New Mexico are first to throw their names in the hat.
Do not sleep on Jacoby Brass. Yes Ross and Leonard are getting big offers but Brass is legit at 6-foot-3. A hand-in-the-dirt guy in college, he will stop the run and bully offensive linemen. For now he will play on the edge.
Man, I like this guy's leadership and ability to make BIG plays. He beat Westfield with a Hail Mary and picked apart The Woodlands in the postseason. He has great size and is a pocket-passer. Davenport's stock should rise over the summer with 7s play, but schools are missing on this guy.
Gates projects... big-time. He's all of 6-foot-5 and can put on 25 pounds. He's explosive as a two-sport athlete. He throws for the Klein Oak track team. He's getting on the radar quickly with offers from Tulane and UTSA quickly.
Another guy who holds offers from Arkansas and Tennessee from way back. Are they commitable? He has good size and explosion that would make him a DI guy. He has grades that make him an Ivy League student-athlete. Let's see how it plays out. He suffered an injury that kept him out much of the 2020 season.
You can't teach size. Calvin Harvey is gigantic on the field at 6-foot-8, 300-plus pounds. He's a solid run and pass-blocker who will only get more confident as a senior. UH, North Texas, SMU and La Tech are on him hard.
Keith Wheeler jumped onto the recruiting scene early with an offer from UH as a sophomore. It's cooled significantly since then. He has the tools to be a No. 1 WR but he needs a breakout summer and senior season. It's now or never for Wheeler, who has the measurables to be a star.
Tanner transfered to St. Pius X from Klein Oak. Great decision after catching for over 1,000 yards last season. He is heating up due to his 7-on-7 play as well. Grades, size, athleticism means high to mid-Major DI offers.
Michael McBride is just a football player -- he eats, sleeps and breathes it. He is a student of the game and is in the right place at the right time... all the time. McBride has good size and can hold up supporting the run. Army and UH have offered but he can do a lot of things on the football field.
Emanuel has the pedigree as his dad played in the NFL for a decade and his sisters were stars for Georgia softball. He has the size and elite speed. His dad played QB in high school before signing to UCLA and eventually playing at Rice. His calling card was his speed at WR. Could that be Juniors'? He has a solid arm, but his feet are elite.