The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 3, 2014

Recruiting whirlwind for East senior as signing day nears

By Jonathan Deal
jonathan@athensnews-courier.com

EAST LIMESTONE — For as long he can remember, Jordon Gandy wanted to play basketball, at the college level and beyond. Through his junior year, he appeared to be on the right track as a rising star on East Limestone’s basketball team.

All that changed when Gandy was persuaded by friends to join the football team last fall. Less than a year later, the receiver has more than a dozen offers.

“It’s been pretty crazy, lot of college coaches coming in,” said Gandy. “I had no idea it was going to happen like that. “They started coming in after the season. Back-to-back-to back, they started coming in here. They’ll call me out of class and talk to me about the campus or anything else.”

Gandy had not played football since his freshman year and didn’t know if his success on the hard court would translate to the gridiron.

“I’ve been playing basketball a lot longer than I have football,” said Gandy. “After my freshman year, I thought I was just going to focus on basketball. I just liked basketball more. It was just way more fun to me at that time. I still went to all the (football) games and sometimes I missed being out there on Friday nights playing.”

Gandy proved to be a quick learner. In a predominantly run-heavy offense, he excelled as a receiver, averaging 17.5 yards per catch. In total, the senior had 49 receptions for 857 yards and eight touchdowns.

Gandy showed his versatility averaging 14 yards per carry, including an 86-yard end-around touchdown. On special teams, Gandy returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns. He also picked off a pass and returned it 96 yards for a score, all while playing in one the toughest 5A regions in the state.

But the moment that really drew the eyes of college coaches was his performance in the final game of the season against Class 6A runner-up Auburn. Playing against a defensive back committed to play at UCLA, Gandy had a career-high 240 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

“They had a lot of good DBs. Every time coach Pugh called a pass play, I went up and got it,” said Gandy. “He said he was going to throw a whole bunch at us. He told me just to adjust and get the ball.”

Gandy’s recruitment really picked up after that game. Along with Southern and OVC conference schools seeking his signature, bigger fish have entered the picture as signing day nears.

Just last week, new Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino stopped by Capshaw to pay Gandy a visit.

All this during basketball’s busiest season. But all the added attention hasn’t given him a big head or affected his game, according to East Limestone basketball coach Chad Drake.

“Jordon is such a humble kid,” said Drake. “I’ve never heard him in the locker room boasting about it. Some of the kids pick at him about it. I don’t think it’s caused any distraction whatsoever. He’s comes here and does what I ask him to do every day in practice.”

Gandy visited Louisville Saturday and will check out Murray State today. When he returns, he’ll try and lead the Indians to an area championship game.

“I just have to go out there and play,” said Gandy.