Brevin Jordan’s high school varsity debut was one he’d rather forget.
“I had three dropped passes. I had three passes thrown to me, and I dropped all three,” recalls Jordan.
“(After that), I didn’t have confidence in myself. I didn’t think I was a good player. I mean, I was considering moving to linebacker. But the coaches at Bishop Gorman never gave up on me. They kept pushing me to be great. I’m so grateful for that.”
Jordan soon evolved into one of the top high school tight ends in the country before storming his way to a standout career at the University of Miami.
Today, he’s a top-ranked prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft.
“Jordan brings an exciting blend of size, athleticism and ball skills that make him dangerous at all levels of the field. He’s a monster after the catch and challenging the seam,” writes Joe Marino of The Draft Network.
“He has a chance to be a dangerous weapon if used correctly.”
During his early days on the sunbaked fields of the Nevada Youth Football League, Jordan was dangerous at a different position — running back. With the ball in his hands nearly every play, opposing fans weren’t shy to voice their frustration.
“People used to be like, ‘This kid’s a beast. Where’s his birth certificate?,’” says Jordan, who was in fact young for his age group.
“But we were just a football family. My father was drafted into the NFL. My older brother’s passion for football rubbed off on me, then it crept down to my younger brother. My mom used to bring sandwiches up to the fields because we’d be there all day.”
When it came time to attend high school, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nevada) was a natural choice.
Not only had Jordan’s father and older brother both attended Gorman, but the school boasted strong academics and a dominant football program — at the time of Jordan’s enrollment, the Gaels had won five consecutive state championships.
Jordan also realized a position change was in order. After sprouting to a lanky 6-foot-3, his body no longer befit that of a running back. He also knew the shelf life of the average running back was painfully short. In his mind, a switch to wide receiver made all the sense in the world.
But Rod Burgman, head freshman football coach at Bishop Gorman, didn’t see it that way.
“Coach Burgman said, ‘Man, screw (receiver). We’re going to move you to tight end,’” recalls Jordan.
“At the time, I’m only like 200 pounds. I move like a skill dude. Tight end? What are you thinking?! But it’s all thanks to Coach Burgman, because, without him, I don’t think this process would’ve gotten started. Tight end is a great position because when you drop a ball or make a mistake, you’ve got room to just throw somebody to the sideline or take your anger out on a block. I think it was the perfect position for me.”
Jordan’s development wasn’t without growing pains.
His aforementioned drop-ladened varsity debut dented his confidence, and he finished his sophomore season with a modest 10 receptions.
Yet a closer look at the box scores revealed flashes of future brilliance.
Four of his ten receptions had gone for touchdowns, and he’d averaged an eye-popping 16.6 yards per reception. He’d also found the end zone during Bishop Gorman’s state championship victory.
And though Jordan didn’t know it at the time, Gorman was in the midst of the most remarkable four-year stretch in high school football history. During his time there, the Gaels won four state championships and captured three “mythical” national titles.
This wasn’t just a winning culture — this was a laser-focused, take-no-prisoners, we-should-be-mad-if-we-don’t-win-by-50 culture. That atmosphere played a crucial role in Jordan’s development.
“Bishop Gorman helped shape me into the man I am today. It was like a college program. If a young cat came in with the wrong attitude, saying he didn’t want to practice that day or something, he was going to really hear it from somebody,” says Jordan.
“We felt like we were going to outwork everybody, nobody was going to keep up with us. We used to run bleachers all the time, we did Duck Walks all the time. We focused on doing all the little things right. That attitude translated to our games and I still carry it with me.”
By the summer preceding his senior year, Jordan had grown into a four-star tight end.
That status afforded him an opportunity to attend The Opening Finals, the most high-profile high school football camp in the nation. The list of invitees reads like a who’s who of the 2021 NFL Draft, punctuated by names like Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Ja’Marr Chase, Penei Sewell and Kyle Pitts.
For Jordan, The Opening was an opportunity to see just how far this whole tight end thing could really take him.
“I knew I was going up against the best. I went up there and dominated. That opportunity gave me a lot of confidence that I was actually pretty good and that I could make it far with this position,” Jordan says.
Amidst an avalanche of recruiting attention, one school stood out — the University of Miami. Jordan felt the Hurricanes showed him the most love throughout the process, and he could envision being part of something special there.
He committed to the U and arrived on campus in early summer. The first few months were dizzying and downright exhausting.
“I came in as a 17-year-old pup. That summer, the game was just moving super fast. But over time, it gradually slowed down. We really started competing when we got to fall camp. I was in there with the ones going against Jaquan Johnson, Sheldrick Redwine, Michael Pinckney — going against the straight dogs of the team,” says Jordan.
“And the game just slowed down completely. By the time I got to LSU for the first game of the season, I was good to go.”
Jordan made a quick impact, snagging 32 passes for 287 yards en route to second-team All-ACC honors as a freshman. He followed that with a sophomore campaign that saw him grab 35 receptions for 495 receiving yards, earning him first-team All-ACC recognition and consideration as a finalist for the John Mackey Award.
Jordan was deployed as a pro-style tight end during the first two years of his collegiate career.
He put his hand in the dirt and was frequently expected to win at the point of attack on run plays. During practice, that often meant blocking one of the nastiest edge defenders in college football — Gregory Rousseau.
“Greg was a problem in practice, bro. This was primetime Greg,” Jordan recalls with a chuckle.
With Jordan as his sparring partner, the 6-foot-7 Rousseau racked up 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss in 2019.
When Rosseau opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns over the coronavirus, Jordan found himself blocking Jaelan Phillips.
Phillips had been forced to sit out the prior year after transferring in from UCLA. It wasn’t much of a respite, as Phillips promptly went on to an All-America campaign of his own.
Both Phillips and Rousseau are now forecast as first-round talents.
“I blocked the best of the best in practice every day. If you look at Greg and Jaelan, they’re huge dudes. Strong, athletic, fast. That process I had to go through in order to get better helped shape my career,” says Jordan. “It made the games a lot easier.”
In 2020, Jordan saw his role expand with the arrival of new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and his ‘Power Spread’ offense. The two found quick chemistry.
Lashlee, dazzled by Jordan’s dynamic skillset, began deploying him as a slot receiver and H-back in addition to a traditional in-line tight end.
Despite playing a mere eight games in 2020, Jordan set new career highs for receptions (38), receiving yards (576) and touchdowns (7). Extrapolate those figures over a full NFL season and you have a potential All-Pro campaign.
A little more than five years after his painful varsity debut at Bishop Gorman, Jordan declared for the 2021 NFL Draft as one of the top tight end prospects in the class.
He’s most often compared to Jonnu Smith, the man Bill Belichick recently assessed as a “really good tight end” who is “probably the best (tight end) in the league after the catch” shortly before he brought him to New England on a $50 million contract.
But as with any prospect, there’s not a consensus on Jordan’s ability among the many wannabe GMs on social media.
“I’m getting messages like, ‘Kyle Pitts is better than you,’ or ‘Pat Freiermuth is better than you,’ or just, ’You’re short.’ I get it all the time,” says Jordan.
“I do absolutely use it for motivation, but to me, it’s all a joke. I’m just blessed to even be in a situation where people think they can DM me about my football skills.”
However, when more respected football analysts question Jordan’s willingness and tenacity as a blocker, it does strike a nerve.
“People who say (I can’t block) obviously don’t watch the film. I blocked my first two years at Miami. That was a true, pro-style offense where I was a true Y tight end. I had power schemes running to me, I had counter schemes where I had to block D tackles … It was all I did my first year. To be honest, I think (I was) underutilized at Miami because of those situations,” says Jordan.
“My role expanded this past year with Coach Lashlee. He loved my athleticism so he kept me in the slot a lot more.”
Perhaps the insinuations behind the critique also get under Jordan’s skin.
Effort is perhaps the most essential ingredient to blocking success, so when an otherwise capable athlete can’t or won’t do it, it can raise questions about their character — e.g., if they’re not willing to do the dirty work required to win, can you truly count on them?
That’s not Jordan’s game. Just ask Greg Rousseau.
“For me, the thing that stands out about (Brevin) is he’ll pull around and hit a 320-pound D-tackle and smack him,” Rousseau once told the Miami Herald.
“Blocking D-ends, linebackers — he will put his nose in anything.”
The athletic genes of Jordan’s late father, who was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1990, have undoubtedly served him well, but it’s his mother, Beverly Jordan, who he counts as his greatest inspiration.
Beverly was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer when Brevin was just four years old.
Doctors believed she had just a few years to live.
Beverly refused to accept that prognosis. She endured chemotherapy and a double mastectomy with indomitable optimism and unfathomable courage.
And she won.
After a long fight, Beverly’s cancer went into remission.
The head of a single-part household, she’s since forged a career as a successful Las Vegas realtor and put her three boys through private school.
“My mom is a warrior. If you asked me how she’s done it, I couldn’t tell you. She sent the three of us to private school, she raised three God-fearing men. It’s unbelievable,” says a glowing Jordan.
“Her smile, her humility and her passion live in me every day. This game of football, I think this is all for her. I love the game of football, obviously, but this is for her because she deserves it all.”
On her Twitter account, Beverly is every bit the loving mom you’d expect, telling Brevin he “makes (her) soul smile” and occasionally reminding him to make sure he eats enough.
Jordan’s inner fire is also fueled by a desire to represent his hometown.
Bishop Gorman may be a high school national power, but Las Vegas is still slept on in the football world. Jordan hopes his career inspires the next generation of athletes out of the desert.
“It’s a city that doesn’t get a lot of respect for the football talent. There are a lot of guys flying under the radar in Las Vegas. To be part of the fraternity that makes it all the way to the NFL, it’ll mean a lot. It’s a huge deal for me,” says Jordan.
He’s also excited to use his platform as an NFL player to stand up for what he believes in.
“I want to use my platform to highlight social injustice. The Black culture fighting against police brutality. I’m Korean, too, so fighting the Asian hate that is going on in America right now. I stand for all that stuff, man. The NFL is a huge platform, and I can use my platform to influence a lot of people and get other people’s voices heard,” says Jordan.
Deep down, he’s also seen the incredible possibilities that often lay on the other side of doubt. He now has a desire to find out how great he can truly be.
“To all the young athletes out there, just keep going. Because it’s going to get hard. You’re going to have doubts. You’re going to have times where you’re not confident in yourself,” Jordan advises.
“But keep going. Because I was right there with you guys. I’m just a kid from Vegas and I still can’t believe I’m going to the NFL. It’s totally surreal to me. So just keep going.”
Inside Look: Training With Bishop Gorman’s Powerhouse Football Program
Old-School Strength with All-Pro Tight End Travis Kelce
Rob and Dan Gronkowski’s Training Tips for Tight Ends
Photo Credit: AP Newsroom, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Student Sports