A former West Marion Trojan will be suiting up in the black and gold in 2022, making the short trek down U.S. 98 to Southern Miss. Jones College sophomore Jordyn Mahaffey committed to the Golden Eagles in March and will be an early enrollee at the Hattiesburg campus in the spring.
“It’s a dream come true really to take my dream to the next step,” he said. “I worked hard for all my life, and it’s finally starting to show off. It’s a really good feeling.”
The 260-pound defensive end was recruited by Southern Miss out of high school by the previous coaching staff and said he’s always liked the environment in Hattiesburg, as well as the proximity.
“It’s about 45 minutes from my house. I’m a big family guy, so I really wanted to stay close to home,” he said.
Mahaffey added that he’s close with defensive line coach Brandon Lacy and likes first-year head coach Will Hall.
Despite having offers from South Alabama, Louisiana Tech, Akron and UMass coming out of West Marion, Mahaffey felt like he needed a stepping stool to get to the Division I level and opted to go to the JUCO route instead. With one semester left in front of him at Ellisville, Mahaffey said his decision was 100% the right call.
“I think JUCO was the best decision I could’ve made as a 12th grader. I learned a good amount of stuff that would’ve taken me forever to learn if I had gone straight to D-1. I’ll be coming in in December (having used) just one year eligibility and will be 10 times more prepared than the high school kids coming in,” he said. “Also the friends you make at a JUCO, that bond is unbreakable.”
It can be risky for student athletes to pass up a four-year scholarship for a two-year junior college because receiving another offer is never guaranteed, but Mahaffey’s advice to student athletes considering a similar path to find the place that will offer the most playing time to put together good film. It was worth it for Mahaffey who chose USM over offers from Akron and UMass Amherst.
In five games for the Bobcats as a freshman, Mahaffey had 10 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack and an interception.
The 6-foot-4 pass rusher will play the upcoming season at Jones then head to USM at the end of the first semester. Because of the coronavirus rules giving players an extra year of eligibility, Mahaffey will be classified as a sophomore athletically with three years remaining despite playing two seasons at Jones.
Mahaffey thanked his mom and brother for always lifting him up, his coaches at Jones, all his friends and family and the West Marion coaching staff for helping him realize his dream.