The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 7, 2014

East senior will play football, basketball for Murray State

By Jonathan Deal

EAST LIMESTONE — Jordon Gandy isn’t your typical high school football recruit. The East Limestone senior has all the talent in the world, but went relatively unnoticed until late in the recruiting process.

That’s because he only played one year of football. He didn’t attend camps or send in highlight tapes. Instead, he focused on basketball, the sport he thought would earn him a scholarship one day.

But as word began to leak about the 6-foot-4-inch wide receiver giving football a try, teams began contacting him — before spring practice.

“Murray State was always coming by the school, coming by the house and talking with me,” said Gandy. “Every time I got out of class, it was mostly because Murray State was talking with me. I like the coaches up there.”

Murray State’s persistence paid off, even when more colleges became interested.  Wednesday, Gandy faxed in his national letter of intent to sign with the Racers.

“It’s been crazy,” said Gandy. “I was stressing, seeing what Louisville was going to do. I’m glad that it’s over. I’m glad that I’m going to Murray State.”

Bobby Petrino offered Gandy earlier in the season when he was the head coach at Western Kentucky. When Petrino was named the head coach at Louisville last month, he immediately began recruiting Gandy, visiting the school a week before signing day.

In the end, Murray State, also in Kentucky, made Gandy an offer he couldn’t refuse — an opportunity to be a preferred walk-on to the basketball team.

“I always wanted to play basketball, that’s why I gave up football,” said Gandy. “Even though I’m going down for football, I’m going to enjoy being able to play basketball.  They said they didn’t have a problem with me walking on.”

Gandy made his commitment official Thursday morning at a ceremony in the school gymnasium.

“He’s probably the best athlete we’ve had since I’ve been here, but he’s a better kid,” East Limestone head football coach Jeff Pugh said at the ceremony. “This guy has been an ambassador for our school. He deserves every opportunity he’s got.”

As students, coaches and teachers took turns congratulating and taking photos with Gandy, it was clear why Murray State, Pugh and others had such nice things to say.

“The people that missed out on him will know in a few years what they missed out on, because this is a great kid,” Pugh said. “We’re all proud of him.”