Jace Jordan didn’t begin his college career at Lenoir-Rhyne, but in his first year on the school’s football team, he made himself right at home in the Bears’ backfield. After previously being listed as a wide receiver on the roster at Reinhardt University in Waleska, Georgia, Jordan transferred to Lenoir-Rhyne and was one of several running backs to make an impact in 2019.
Jordan saw action in eight of the Bears’ 14 games a year ago, amassing 595 yards and five touchdowns on 67 carries while also catching three passes for 32 yards and a score. His average of 8.9 yards per carry was the most among ball carriers with double-digit rushing attempts for Lenoir-Rhyne.
Jordan’s best performance occurred in a 56-28 road win over Mars Hill on Sept. 28, 2019. He finished with career highs in carries (15), rushing yards (159) and rushing TDs (2) against the Lions, with both of his scores coming in the second half.
Jordan nearly reached the 100-yard plateau in his first game of the season as well, registering 96 yards on five carries in a 34-17 home victory over Newberry on Sept. 21, 2019. He added six carries for 85 yards and two TDs — including his first receiving score —against UVa-Wise in last year’s homecoming contest before topping the century mark for a second time in the regional championship game against West Florida last December (11 carries for 114 yards and a TD).
Following the graduation of the Bears’ second-leading rusher, Jaquay Mitchell, Jordan should receive even more carries in 2020. Ameen Stevens returns for his junior season after pacing Lenoir-Rhyne with 154 carries for 817 yards and 17 TDs, but if first-year head coach Mike Jacobs uses a running back rotation similar to the one Drew Cronic employed during his two seasons in Hickory, look for Jordan and a host of other ball carriers to enjoy fruitful falls on the gridiron.
Jordan also displayed the ability to return kicks against Mars Hill last season, returning a pair for a total of 69 yards and taking one back 49 yards in the second quarter of that contest. While those were the only two opportunities he received to return kicks, his success in that particular game could still give Lenoir-Rhyne’s coaching staff another option to think about when deciding who will see time on special teams during the 2020 campaign.
Furthermore, while Jordan only played in eight games as opposed to 14 for Mitchell and 13 for Stevens, his average of 74.4 rushing yards per game led all Lenoir-Rhyne rushers. He seems plenty capable of taking on a bigger workload and helping lessen the pressure placed on Stevens and the Bears’ remaining ball carriers.
Only time will tell what awaits Jordan in 2020, but he certainly seems poised to contribute at a high level whenever his number is called. And another successful season for him in an expanded role would go a long way toward helping the Bears boast a vaunted ground game once again.
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