A passion to recover

BY DEXTER L. MCCREE, Feature Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — Morgan State University in Baltimore and the MEAC football conference will soon know what everybody in St. Pete is already aware of: Jordan Presley is an extraordinary young man.

Entering high school from a small middle school can be a shock to a 14-year-old student.  High schools are much larger than the average middle school, so a student who left the eighth grade with 700 students will walk into a scary situation as a freshman dealing with 2,000 kids.

Nonetheless, high school is where you create the best memories and learn to cherish those special moments like prom or grad bash.

“I can remember my first day as a little freshman vividly.  I remember exactly what I wore, trying to impress the other students in this new environment,” explained Jordan, adding that he felt like a little fish in a big pond.

Jordan’s high school career flew by very quickly, but remembering the significant parts in his life just makes him smile.

During the first half of high school, he attended Lakewood High.  During that time, he had a diverse group of friends who were all shapes, sizes and color.  Many people knew him, and it made him feel good.  At Lakewood, he played football, basketball and ran track.

“My good friends and I put our blood sweat and tears into those sports,” stated Jordan.  “I have memories that will never go away, and I am very grateful that I was a part of Lakewood High School.”

In his junior year, Jordan transferred to Clearwater Central Catholic, a small private school, to further his opportunity to play football at the collegiate level.  Transferring was a major cultural change.  He wasn’t thrilled about leaving a school where he was cool with his friends to go to another school where he didn’t know anyone and 95 percent of the students were a different color.

“It was really hard for me.  The educational part was hard to adapt to and was more rigorous then Lakewood,” said Jordan.

Things became even more challenging in his first game as a Marauder. He tore his ACL, which required surgery and caused him to lose a whole year on the field. Up until that point, trying to overcome a significant injury and perform at a level to receive a scholarship had been his biggest challenge.

It became the driving force in his recovery. His motivation and hard work helped him receive a scholarship to play at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

“During my high school career, I have been through a lot of ups and downs, but I made it through.”

At Morgan State, Jordan will be majoring in sports medicine with a minor in the art of physical therapy. His time on the injured list helped him to choose a career path. He’s passionate about helping other athletes recover from major injuries and getting them back on the field, playing the sports that they love.

Morgan State has landed a good one in Jordan. His parents, Earl and Safrone Presley, stand behind him 100 percent in all of his endeavors.

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