Better Know a Buckeye: Michael Jordan

By Vico on April 22, 2016 at 10:10 am
Michael Jordan at a U.S. Army All-American Practice

Our "Better Know a Buckeye" series continues with its 11th installment. We profile Michael Jordan, an offensive lineman from Canton, Michigan.

Michael Jordan

  • Size: 6-7/316
  • Position: OT
  • (Hometown) School: Canton, MI (Plymouth)
  • 247 Composite: ★★★★
  • National Ranking: 127
  • Position Ranking: 13 (OT)
  • State Ranking: 3 (MI)
  • U.S. Army All-American
  • USA Today All-American (Second Team)

Jordan comes to Ohio State from a township of Wayne County (i.e. Detroit) that is at the midpoint between Detroit and Ann Arbor. The west end of Canton actually bleeds into Superior County Township, which is in Ann Arbor's county (Washtenaw). Recruiting analysts expected him to sign with Michigan as a result. However, several visits to Ohio State and an abrupt change in his timetable spelled good news for the Buckeyes. He committed on May 7 of last year and enrolled in January.

I provide a comprehensive profile of Michael Jordan below. I retell his recruitment and some of the reasons he chose Ohio State. Thereafter, I provide a scouting report of Jordan, highlighting his strengths and areas for improvement. I close with a projection that Jordan may likely see early playing time in 2016 and provide some highlight film for the reader to watch at the end of the feature.


Plymouth High School's proximity to Ann Arbor makes Michigan a preferred landing spot for an eligible football prospect coming from its ranks. However, the high school does not produce a lot of football prospects. Prospects with FBS potential tend to be MAC-caliber. The last prospect from Plymouth to sign with a Power Five program was Brennen Beyer in 2011. He signed with Michigan.

Most onlookers expected Michael Jordan to be the highest-profile prospect that Plymouth had produced this century and one that would make that transition to Michigan. Brady Hoke's staff anticipated he would be a top prospect in the summer of 2014 when they hosted him for a camp. He got a scholarship offer from Michigan a few days later, his first offer of any kind.

However, Jordan was also interested in Michigan's main rival, Ohio State. He's originally from Ohio. He has extended family in Cincinnati and Mansfield. Both led to a receptiveness to Ohio State for a prospect just a half-hour drive from Michigan's campus. He attended a one-day position camp at Ohio State just two days after he received his Michigan offer. He returned a month later for Friday Night Lights. He left such a strong impression on the coaches there that they offered Jordan on the spot.

The visit to Columbus also left an impression on Jordan, who made it a priority to return to Ohio State for its 2014 game against Cincinnati. He left with great things to say about the atmosphere and his interaction with the coaches and other recruits there for the game.

Offers in hand from Michigan and Ohio State, Jordan knew he would be among the top prospects in the entire Midwest, let alone just the state of Michigan. He focused his recruitment on what might be the consensus top four football programs in the area: Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. 

This focus led to a lot of unofficial visits through the fall of 2014. He was actually in Notre Dame for its 31-0 shutout of Michigan in early September. His visits thereafter focused on the in-state schools. He visited Michigan State for its rout of the Wolverines. Dantonio's staff offered him three days later. He returned to Michigan for the Wolverines' game against Indiana and returned to East Lansing for the Spartans' contest against the Buckeyes.

He ended his tour of Midwest powers with a trip to Columbus for the Buckeyes' regular season finale against Michigan.

Michigan fared poorly in most of the contests in which Jordan made his unofficial visits. We know that was indicative of a larger trend near the end of Hoke's tenure and led Michigan to dismiss him and replace him with Jim Harbaugh.

Do note that it is not surprising that Michigan was the subject for all but two of his unofficial visits to the four schools he targeted through the fall. Most analysts expected him to be a Michigan pledge sooner than later. Jim Harbaugh's change of pace only reinforced those predictions.

Yet, Ohio State's coaches, especially Kerry Coombs and Ed Warinner, were successful in getting in Jordan's ear and encouraging him to take more unofficial visits. He was a routine visitor in Columbus through the winter, often seen at Ohio State basketball games as part of his visit. He even attended the spring game with his entire family.

Recruiting analysts learned two weeks after the spring game visit that Jordan had an abrupt change in his timetable and that he might commit sooner than he had anticipated. That was bad news for Michigan, which expected to play a long game with Jordan.

It also meant Ohio State was going to be successful in prying Jordan from Michigan's grasps. We found out that was the case on May 7, 2015.


Michael Jordan committed Ohio State on May 7, 2015 as the 11th member of its 2016 recruiting class. He chose Ohio State over competing offers from Michigan, Michigan State, and Notre Dame.

He elaborated on some of the reasons he chose Ohio State in our community interview from August. He regarded Ed Warinner as one of the best offensive line coaches in the country as one reason he chose the Buckeyes.

The biggest influence in my becoming a Buckeye was the whole team and the entire coaching staff. The players feel like family and that's huge. Also, for my position specifically, (Ed) Warinner is a great offensive line coach and I know he's capable of getting the best out of me.

To the chagrin of Michigan fans, he also expressed his interested in the Fisher College of Business as a reason he chose Ohio State over the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at Michigan.

The deciding factor for me in my decision to be a Buckeye was the academic prestige at Ohio State. They had my major and minor, which was huge, because I wanted to study international business and Chinese.

Ohio State fans should always tip their cap to a prospect who chooses Ohio State because he is interested in emerging markets in Asia and sees his future studying them.

We take for granted now that Jordan was a safe pledge to Ohio State because he is currently enrolled, but it was an unexpected event when it happened. There were residual fears Michigan would eventually win him back.

Jordan teased a "huge announcement" in October that led some to fear he was going to flip Michigan. In fact, he was just announcing he would enroll early.


Michael Jordan is a massive tackle prospect. That influenced a lot of the optimism early into his recruitment about what he could do at a major program. 247sports says he's just under 6-foot-6. Ohio State lists him at 6-foot-7. Winter conditioning drills allowed him to tip the scales over a solid 300 pounds. He already has naturally long arms.

Put another way, Jordan has more than ideal size at offensive tackle no matter the measurement error in his reported height.

An Army All-American and USA Today second-team All-American should be dominating his peers, especially in an area that does not produce a lot of talent. His demonstration of dominance in games excites coaches and those who love watching offensive linemen. He routinely pancakes his defender. His bio at Ohio State reports an average of six pancake blocks a game as a senior. 

He was even pancaking defenders on punt duties. Most offensive linemen in high school see punt duties as a "rest play". Jordan sees it as an opportunity for another pancake.

Jordan enrolled at Ohio State as a devastating run blocker in high school. He'll be among the best in his 2016 class at paving the way for Ohio State's running backs. His light feet are a strength of his, perhaps an artifact of his experience on his school's wrestling team. His light feet allow him quick, choppy steps he needs to slide in pass protection or pull on his run-blocking assignment.


Jordan is a great run blocker but green in pass protection. Ohio State fans may have already read this in spring reports and may have seen it for themselves in the spring game. 

This is true for almost every offensive lineman coming to college, except for those from talent factories like IMG and St. Thomas Aquinas. Most high school football is run-intensive. College football requires more balance than Jordan currently has. His light feet will help him in his adjustment.

He's improved over the course of his junior and senior seasons relative to what he was as a sophomore in high school. It should not be surprising that he has made such a strong impression with the coaches in less than four months on campus. His pad level is improving and so is his hand placement. I think there's more he could do, though. He'll want to focus on making his hands more "violent" at first contact with a defender and focus on his hip snap. He'll want to work on keeping his back straight when making contact with a rusher.

All of these are correctable issues. Jordan's early returns this spring bode well for what he could do over the course of his career.


The depth chart at offensive line is crowded and it would otherwise be difficult for someone like Jordan to command early playing time. That said, he still might do exactly that. I am not sure the extent of the playing time he will get in the fall but he should be on the two-deep as a true freshman, even if it is at guard right now.



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