The first time Greg Studrawa heard a reporter say Michael Jordan's name, he couldn't help but smile.
"For a freshman who should still be in high school who graduated early to be here, to play at this level of football and doing the things he’s doing, yes I’m surprised and impressed at that," Ohio State's new offensive line coach said Thursday after the Buckeyes completed their seventh practice of the spring season.
"That," is the fact Studrawa, and even head coach Urban Meyer, are receiving questions about an 18-year-old that should be preparing for his high school senior prom instead of taking snaps with the first-team offense at one of the top college football programs in the country.
"He just loves it," Meyer said of Jordan Tuesday. "He doesn't know if it’s right or left sometimes, but at this point, we don't care."
The 6-foot-7 and 316-pound force worked at left guard during the portion of the practice open to the media Tuesday, a position of need for the Buckeyes as they prepare for the 2016 season (Billy Price is working at right guard, but said it is just experimental as he played at left the last two seasons).
It's also a spot that shouldn't really be held by a true freshman. Meyer has said on more than one occasion how both the offensive and defensive line are the most difficult units for members of his most recent recruiting class to contribute in their first year. The pure size of opposing players and wear and tear in the trenches needs to be reserved for bodies that are a little further developed.
The 2016 season remains more than five months away, so things can — and most likely will — change. But nearly halfway through spring drills, Jordan's efforts stand out among his peers.
"We have a culture around here, plus-2," senior captain and center Pat Elflein said Thursday. "So say you go five yards, you go seven yards. Or the play is five seconds, go seven seconds. He's been doing that. He gets after guys."
Most freshman offensive linemen need a good bit of coaching before they get their shot between the lines on Saturday afternoons. The footwork and other intricacies with regards to moving the masses for a ballcarrier or protecting the quarterback can take some time to perfect.
Jordan sits in that category, but turns heads with his willingness to go the extra step, finish a block or attack a drill with every ounce of strength he owns.
"He’s a big man that’s really extremely talented physically," Studwara said. "He can move and bend and do a lot of things so athletically he can over compensate for a bad step or a bad hand placement. That’s the thing that’s surprised me the most about him.
"And, he’s a really intelligent young man. You tell him things one time and he picks it up really quickly."
“Say you go five yards, you go seven yards. Or the play is five seconds, go seven seconds. He's been doing that. He gets after guys.”– Pat Elflein on Michael Jordan
You might recall that Jordan plans to major in international business with a minor in Chinese at Ohio State, a significant piece of his recruitment puzzle that allowed the Buckeyes from Canton, Michigan, prime ground for their archrival, the Michigan Wolverines.
He is cerebral in the eyes of those around him, and even though he hasn't met the media yet as an Ohio State football player, Jordan is doing all the necessary steps to make his name the one that continues to pop up this spring.
It also keeps his position coach to keep smiling when he talks about him and a team captain in his meeting room impressed.
"I won't say he has the spot locked up, but I like what I see right now with Michael," Elflein said. "He gets in here and learns the protection, learns the footwork, the proper footwork to make these double teams really efficient. I think if he can learn that, then he has a chance to compete with some of the guys that are coming in trying to start."