When Luke Jackson, a 6’7″ basketball superstar spies you from a distance while playing a game of pickup basketball and tells you to try out for the basketball team, you do it. However, when Luke Jackson spies you from a distance while playing a pickup game of basketball and tells you to try out for the football team, you wonder what is he thinking? This was the case for Jordan Kent, a University of Oregon alum and former three-sport athlete.
Jackson saw even greater potential in the young Kent than just basketball and track.
“From there, the ball got rolling and through a series of entertaining conversations with Coach Bellotti and my dad, I found myself on the football team in 2005,” says Kent.
However, Kent had never once touched the football field in full pads. He came to the University of Oregon with other sports on his mind. In winter, Kent played basketball under head coach Ernie Kent, otherwise known as “Dad” to Jordan. Then as springtime in Eugene approached, Kent would trade in his basketball shoes for a pair of track spikes. He would run the 100m, 200m, 400m, 4×100, 4×400, and also compete in the long jump.
“I had always thought about wanting to play football, but it never really became a strong reality until I realized that it was unlikely that I was going to have a career in the NBA or the Olympics,” says Kent.
Balancing two collegiate level sports and a college education seems a bit much to some. But this is where Kent thrives. So why not fill the void of fall with another sport such as football? Kent says, “They all had their unique pluses and minuses, but to be able to play at Autzen, Hayward Field, and Mac Court all in one year was a pretty special experience.” While some athletes traveled home for holidays or spent time with their families, Kent found himself more often at the gym continuously training and keeping his body healthy.
In 2005, Kent made the Oregon Ducks football team as a wide receiver (No. 2) under head coach Mike Bellotti.
There is no place like home, and there is no place like Autzen Stadium on a Saturday. “Oh gosh, there is nothing quite like running out of that tunnel, or being on the field when the crowd begins to roar!” says Kent. “That was the beauty about football, every game was so huge and there was so much excitement surrounding every game!”
He recalls his favorite game against Washington State on November 12, 2005. It was a crisp winter evening in Pullman, Washington as the No. 13 ranked Ducks rallied to win 34-31 in front of a crowd of 27,595 screaming Cougar fans. It was a huge win for the Ducks and it was especially huge for Kent as he scored his first touchdown.
If Kent had to give any advice for the Ducks current receiving corps, he would say, “Come back to the ball on every pass! It’s amazing how much the space closes in the NFL! But more practically, I would say to make sure to take every moment you can to improve and utilize all of the resources you have in college to not only become a better player, but a better person.”
Many high school football players dream of being drafted into the NFL. They spend countless hours training their bodies, eating right, and making their names known to college football coaches with promising programs. This process can take years and start as early as middle school. Kent had somewhat of a different path.
With just two short college football seasons with the Ducks, Kent was selected in the sixth round; pick no. 210 by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2007 NFL draft. The business administration/sports marketing graduate spent just two seasons on the college football stage before making it in the big leagues.
Today, you will find Kent on television as a sports broadcaster for Comcast Sportsnet. He covers all Oregon sports topics including news from UO, OSU, the Portland Trailblazers, and even the Portland Thunder, the city’s arena football team. During the summers, he runs his own Jordan Kent Skill Camps dedicated to teaching young athletes the importance of teamwork, coordination, nutrition, and overall having fun through sports.
“I’ll always be a multi-tasker, and it was because of my special experience at Oregon that I was able to enjoy all the things I get to do now!”
Top photo by John Giustina