Positionless, yet irreplaceable. Swiss-army man Jordan Myers was an obvious selection for our 2021 Rice Football Offensive Player of the Year.
The disjointed 2020 COVID-19 season was riddled with quirks and oddities of one kind and another. Among the most peculiar tidbits from the strange season was the number one. Rice football scored one rushing touchdown in their abbreviated five-game season, and it wasn’t scored by a running back. Sort of.
At that point in his career, Jordan Myers was still listed as a tight end on the official roster. Utilized as the short-yardage and goal line back and other similar situations in 2020, that designation would slowly morph. He worked almost exclusively with the running backs in the spring and was listed atop the depth chart entering the 2021 season.
When asked exactly what position he played during preseason media availability, Myers just shrugged. “Pretty much just wherever the team needs me,” he said. “As of right now, I’m kinda labeled as the utility player.”
Utility player is a destination occasionally reserved for that extra player on the bench of a traditional baseball team. He’s probably not good enough to be your everyday starter, but if you need a backup across the board, he can fill in sparingly well enough.
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Head coach Mike Bloomgren would refer to him often as the team’s “swiss army knife” ostensibly implying a similar level of versatility. Myers never really seemed to mind what terms were being tossed around regarding his position. He just showed up.
Myers saw sparse action in the Owls’ final four games of the season as he battled injuries and Ari Broussard took over the workhorse duties in the backfield.
Even though he missed a good chunk of time, he still finished the year with more plays from scrimmage than any other skill player on the roster. He led Rice with eight rushing touchdowns and added one more through the air. He and Cedric Patterson were the only Owls to find paydirt more than three times in 12 games. That tandem accounted for 16 of the team’s 35 touchdowns, just shy of 50 percent.
Myers rocketed up those stat sheets with a career game in Week 4 against Texas Southern. Rice football was in desperate need of a boost entering the game, having scored a combined 24 points in their first three non-conference games, all losses.
Not only did Myers show up, he rushed for 160 yards and four touchdowns and caught four passes for 48 yards. The combined 208 all-purpose yards would have ranked in the top seven among all Owls’ season totals. Myers got there in four quarters.
Bloomgren was understandably beaming in the postgame sessions following that big day. “He is exactly what I want our team to be. He is the perfect college football player in so many ways,” he said, delivering the quintessential complement every ballplayer hopes his coach will someday refrain. And honestly, it’s hard to argue with Bloomgren’s pronouncement.
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“He’s probably too smart to ever get into coaching, but I’d hire him the moment he did,” Bloomgren added next. Whether he goes into coaching or finds something else to apply his abilities to after a lengthy collegiate career, Myers curious combination of excellent and versatility have seemingly shown no bounds.
But despite all of the praise and the accolades he received over the course of his six-year career, Myers remains the same calm, humble guy from Dickinson, Texas that signed with Rice football prior to the arrival of this current coaching staff. “I’m just happy I can be someone the guys can lean on,” he murmured following his spectacular game against Texas Southern.
By the time he hung up his cleats, Myers had graduated from being labeled as simply a utility player. He was someone Rice could count — and did count on — in the most crucial moments. Myers was the man handed the football on fourth and short and asked to find a yard. More often than not, he did.
No Myers, wasn’t just a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none. He was a dude, and an easy selection for our 2021 Rice Football Offensive Player of the Year.