Nordin hopeful he'll be back on field this season
Northern Illinois senior tight end Jake Nordin was trying to clear a path for speedy running back Garrett Wolfe when a Ball State player struck the back of his leg and broke his left fibula, as well as separated his ankle in a game on Sept. 30 in...
Northern Illinois senior tight end Jake Nordin was trying to clear a path for speedy running back Garrett Wolfe when a Ball State player struck the back of his leg and broke his left fibula, as well as separated his ankle in a game on Sept. 30 in Muncie, Ind.
"It had been raining before the game so the field was partly muddy," said the 6-3, 255-pound Nordin. "My foot felt kind of stuck in the mud while I was blocking and he hit it."
Nordin was a standout player for Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City who helped the Falcons win the Class AA state title in 2001. He has been a starter at tight end for the past three seasons. But his season and collegeiate career was thought to be over after he was carted off the field and he had surgery the following week.
"They told me I could have a cast put on and then my season would be over," said Nordin. "Or they said I could have a plate put in and I might be able to start rehabbing a lot sooner. I chose the plate."
And Nordin had his ankle wired together.
"I knew right away that I broke something because I heard it crack," said Nordin. "My intitial reaction was that I was very distraught. Especially since it was my senior year. But I'm feeling good about it now because I know I have a chance to get back yet this season. But if my leg isn't ready, I won't try to push it."
Nordin will see the doctor this week to determine if the bone has healed enough for him to begin light workouts. If so, he is hoping to make it back for the Huskies' final regular-season game on Nov. 30 against Eastern Michigan. And, if the team can pick up a couple of more wins, he could play in a bowl game, too.
Northern Illinois is currently 5-4.
"I think because we're mid-major, we might need seven wins to get into a bowl,"said Nordin.
Nordin had caught one pass for four yards against Ball State before the injury. That gave him 14 catches for 159 yards for the season and 54 receptions for 547 yards and a touchdown for his career.
He is considered one of the top senior tight ends in the country, according to several scouting publications.
"That's very flattering to hear," said Nordin. "But they only got to judge me on four solid games this season. I wish they could have seen me play more. This hurts me (as far as being drafted by an NFL team), but I'll just have to prove myself."
Nordin was part of an outstanding line that helped Wolfe gain a career-high 364 yards against Ball State.
"Jake's one of the best tight ends in the MAC," said Northern Illinois head coach Joe Novak before the season. "He's athletic. He's physical. He's got great hands and he can run."
Nordin was a second team All-Mid-American Conference choice by the coaches last season and a preseason first team pick this year. He is being favorably compared to former Northern Illinois tight end Brad Cieslak, now with the Buffalo Bills.
He held his own against Michigan and Ohio State, both which have solid defensive lines.
"I'm proud of that," he said. "They have some All-American candidates and I thought I did a good job on them."
Nordin feels he has some things to work on before he can think about the next level.
"I need to work on my lateral speed more than anything," he said. "And I need to run a 4.6 or 4.7 in the 40. I run the high 4.7s now. I don't know if I will make it or not, but ever since I was little, all I wanted was a chance."
And now all he wants is a chance to get back on the field this season.