“I think it was just the best decision,” he said.
Not long after, he found himself in the office of coach Paul Johnson, telling him that he wanted to be added to the list for Senior Day.
“He was really supportive of my decision, always has been,” Jordan said. “He just said, ‘I don’t blame you for it. You’re graduating. You’re going to want to play with your kids, your grandkids some day hopefully.’”
Matthew Jordan is a 'superhero' to diabetic children
Going into last year’s spring practice, Jordan was the leader in the competition to succeed Justin Thomas, but the ligament tear halfway through the spring cleared the way for Marshall, whose grip on the job only strengthened through preseason practice and the season.
“I was happy for him,” Jordan said. “You see guys putting in all this work. I don’t want to be that negative Nancy-type guy. You know, ‘Oh, that should be me.’ I was coming into camp, I wasn’t quite ready. TaQuon kept progressing and progressing. I was right there in his corner the whole time.”
Jordan acknowledged that it was frustrating not to be able to lead the team as he had hoped.
“I think everybody has that thought,” he said, “but I was raised to not be that kind of person, to be envious and jealous of others.”
Jordan has relied on his maturity and faith to accept the outcome. Having dealt with a more severe setback as a child, being diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes at the age of 11, probably helped, too.
“It’s just some things happen for a reason, and some things aren’t meant to be,” he said.
He is excited for what lies ahead. He has a couple of job opportunities after the internship. His foot injury has healed, and his body is healthy. He essentially is through with 4-1/2 years of grueling classwork. He recently rewarded himself for graduating by purchasing a black GMC Sierra pickup. While he has enjoyed his time in Atlanta, the country boy from Alabama is ready to get back to his roots. (His internship will be at a paper mill in Alabama.)
“People told me all about the traffic, so many people,” he said, his country twang ever present. “I was, ‘Whatever.’ I didn’t really know; I’d never been. That first semester, when I got here: ‘Yeah, this is a lot.’”
He’ll leave with fond memories, such as winning the 2014 Orange Bowl, playing Boston College in Ireland in 2016 (his first trip out of the country) and leading the Jackets to an upset win later that season over then-No. 18 Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.. He has kept his jersey, wristbands and towel from the game.
“I will never forget, when the (Orange Bowl) was over, they did the (postgame on-field trophy presentation),” he said. “Like 10 minutes later, it was New Year’s and fireworks start coming. ‘Wow, they timed that up perfectly.’”
There likely will be no pyrotechnic displays when he designs more efficient solutions for supply chains. His fellow employees probably won’t mob him and stadiums won’t erupt when he provides his employer with cost-saving measures for inventory and warehousing processes. That’s OK.
Perhaps there’s something to be said for a supply-chain engineer reaching the job market a year ahead of schedule.
“It’s something exciting,” he said. “I think I’m ready for it, for sure.”