Reggie Jordan is slowly starting to realize that the football reputation of Missouri Western State is legit and growing all the time.
At first, the NCAA Division II tight end was skeptical that even his invitation to the NFL Combine was real or someone just playing a cruel joke.
The email address the NFL had on file for Jordan to send the invite was the wrong one. When he didn’t respond, a representative of the league called him to get the correct address.
Jordan was still skeptical and called his former teammate and Missouri Western alumnus, Chicago Bears defensive end David Bass, to confirm the email was kosher.
“This doesn’t happen very often with D-II kids,” said Jordan.
If and when Jordan joins and NFL team, Missouri Western will have placed more players in the NFL than Division I schools like Akron, Ball State and Western Kentucky, schools that offer full-ride scholarships.
The Green Bay Packers haven't been scared away by the small-school pedigree with one of the current three Missouri Western players on NFL rosters in running back Michael Hill.
Jordan looks to become the next Missouri Western State Griffon to play professional football, joining Hill, Bass and St. Louis Rams kicker Greg Zurlein after being finally taking part in the NFL Combine in February.
“It’s quite the experience, honestly," said Jordan. "I didn’t expect none of this, of course, coming out of a small school, you didn’t expect much."
Measuring in at 6' 3" and 240 lbs. at the Combine, Jordan doesn't have the size and stature of elite NFL tight ends, but the quickness is there.
The times Jordan put up in the three-cone drill (7.22 seconds) and short shuttle (4.30 seconds) were among the best players at his position.
Even though a traditional tight end role might be out of the question for Jordan at football's next level—or at least on a regular basis—he would figure to fit at H-back, where he played in college.
"They had me moving all around," said Jordan. "I played a little H-back, moved me to tight end, had me out in the flat.”
As a junior in 2012, Jordan had nearly half his receptions (23) go for touchdowns (11) and kept that momentum going his senior season. He finished his college career with 52 catches for 679 yards and 17 scores.
Perhaps most impressive was the success Jordan had running the ball on fake punts in college. Over the course of his career, nine total rushes covered 257 yards, an average of 28.6 yards per carry, many of them coming on special teams.
“After the third one, I expected them to game plan against it, but we just continued to have success," said Jordan. "We used to run a shield punt, so I get the direct snap and just take off.”
When the draft takes place in less than two weeks, Jordan just hopes to become the latest selection made from Missouri Western State.
"I think it’s starting to become a trend," said Jordan, "and hopefully it continues.”
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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