Playing for Milton (Ga.) High School, Jordan McDonald is one of the top running backs in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. The ability to prove his value as a running back recruit is evident based on the competition that Milton High School plays, and it’s also evident with McDonald’s running back skills, regardless of the competition. That would be why the Under Armour All-American has college programs from across the Southern United States continuing to recruit him.
UCF, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky, Indiana, Florida State, Wake Forest, Virginia, USF, South Carolina, Charlotte, Florida International, Georgia Tech, Florida Atlantic, Jackson State, Jacksonville State, Nebraska, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Maryland, LSU, Louisville, Kentucky, and Liberty.
Built like an old-school running back one might see during a NFL Films production, McDonald’s 6’1”, 220-pound frame would be best described as developed and college ready. Going into more detail, his lower half is truly what one would consider capable of handling 20-plus rushing attempts per game. McDonald’s upper body provides promise as well.
Broad shoulders and a developed chest showcase natural physical features as well as time well spent within a weight room. His arms are also muscular and provide the strength that helps him keep defenders from ripping the football away from him.
Moving forward, the biggest adjustment is one all college players need to continually refine, and that would be flexibility for all parts of his frame to help reduce the number of muscular injuries.
Style of Play and Film Review
McDonald hits the hole hard. That would be the theme of his junior highlights. Within that aspect of watching his highlights, three areas continually impressed: vision, balance, and a penchant for running through contact.
This running back fits a downhill zone running scheme like the one that will be utilized by UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn quite well. He would also provide the ability to run within a gap running scheme, similar to what many traditional college or professional teams run such as Michigan State during recent years, or going back to the 1980s when the Washington Redskins ran counter-trey with John Riggins.
To provide a prime example of McDonald’s vision, watch him follow the play to the perimeter of the defense. This would be an outside zone play, and it’s quite frankly blocked quite well. No need to be fancy; McDonald ran behind his blockers to set up an opportunity to beat a defender near the goal line.
The next clip provides insight into how quick an athlete like McDonald must adapt to a play going awry. The film says it all.
One of McDonald’s top attributes would be finishing runs inside the red zone. There are more defenders moved into a smaller area, as well as an opposing defense’s knowledge that McDonald is the No. 1 option for Milton when it’s close to the goal line. This is when his vision comes into play. Watch how he naturally follows his blocks and runs with an almost effortless pace to reach the end zone.
Following up on McDonald’s vision, this final clip provides insight into following his blocks as far as possible, and then creating yardage after contact. More bluntly, McDonald created a running lane by lowering his pads, utilizing his powerful lower body to overwhelm the first tackler, and churning his legs to create forward momentum and reach the end zone. Great run!
Combining McDonald’s Abilities and What They Mean for an Offense
McDonald highlights what teams need from a downhill running back. Vision, power, and penchant for running through contact. With a talented runner that punishes a defense, an offense’s passing game holds more opportunities to flourish. Play-action passing, as well as bootlegs, screens and drop-back passes will likely be improved.
The goal for almost any offense is and will continue to be to create manageable second and third down situations. If that can come from a power running game, all the better because it keeps a defense honest.
Once the situation becomes second down five or third down and two, a signal caller can go to work in the passing game. McDonald will be that type of running back that creates good situations for himself and his teammates. Bottom line, that’s why he’s a highly coveted running back recruit. The program that signs this young man will be fortunate to add him to its roster.