However, this also means plenty of turnover for the team, and many spots that need filling. For some young players, this is their chance to make their mark and shine.
Redshirt sophomores Jordan and Justin Herdman find themselves in this situation, as starting linebacker Casey Chin was drafted in the third round by the BC Lions. Prior to this season, Jordan played second string linebacker behind Chin, but now, he finds himself stepping in as the Clan’s starting middle linebacker.
With this change, Jordan must take on more of a leadership role: “[I need to] work on communication, because middle linebackers have got to be able to run the whole defence. You’ve got to know where everyone is, and you’ve got to block some people sometimes. They count on you a lot to be there to lead them.”
“[It was a] pretty big jump, I’d say, from high school to NCAA level, but I’ve enjoyed it.”
Although this is the brothers’ third year at SFU, they have been playing football for as long as they remember. When asked when they got truly into football, Jordan responded, “Probably when we were about three years old. Our dad would take us out to the field, and we would do different drills for football, just training, and he made it fun for us which was a big thing, and we really enjoyed it at a really young age.”
It may have helped growing up as the sons of a professional football player in Winnipeg, whose passion for the game the twins seem to have inherited.
“Our dad played football as well, he played professional football. He played in the NFL, the CFL, and even the USFL so we had a lot of talent passed down from our father,” explained Justin. “He always helped us with our footwork and other things like that. He always helped us when we needed it.”
Athletically, the two were not only limited to football; in high school, they both played basketball as well, with Justin playing power forward and Jordan playing shooting guard.
However, even in high school, their true passion was football. Jordan explained, “We were much more serious about football while basketball was just more for fun, where we still competed but it was more just to stay in shape during the offseason.”
Once the time came for university, they decided to stick solely with football, but it took a bit of adapting from the pace of high school football to the fast pace of the NCAA.
“The first year we came here the biggest thing was the speed of the game, it was a lot faster, a lot of stuff going [on] but eventually you start to get more comfortable. Defence starts becoming easier because the game slows down for you,” Justin said.
Jordan elaborated, “Players are a lot bigger, more mature. You have to [do] steady training, make sure you’re at the top of your game, [watch] a lot more film and plays are a little more complicated, different formations. [It was a] pretty big jump, I’d say, from high school to NCAA level, but I’ve enjoyed it.”
“After practice, you’ve got to stay up late sometimes to get a lot of studying done.”
The other side of university athletics is that it is still university; in addition to games and practices, athletes have to manage the academic workload. Jordan and Justin are no exception, with Jordan receiving the GNAC Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) award, an award that goes to athletes who are also exceptional students. Jordan received the award for achieving a 3.99 GPA in physics.
Jordan stressed the importance of time management and studying. Justin added, “After practice, you’ve got to stay up late sometimes to get a lot of studying done.”
Although they both dream of one day playing professionally, they also have plans for their SFU degrees in biomedical physiology, hoping to eventually become radiologists. “It would be great to play in the NFL or the CFL, that’s always been my dream to do. One of my goals is to play professional [football] but I’m also doing very well in school so I would like to go to medical school to pursue radiology and become a radiologist,” Jordan stated.
For right now, though, the twins have a budding athletic career ahead of them and are focused on helping the Clan achieve a winning season.