Jordan Chapman is a senior defensive back and one of the leaders of the Fordham football program. Chapman was a Second-Team All-Patriot League performer in 2013 and a three-sport athlete in high school, but did not play football until his senior year.
The Fordham Ram: How did you first get into playing football?
Jordan Chapman: It’s actually kind of a funny story. My buddy Zach Wholley, the brother of [Fordham Co-Def. Coor./Linebackers] Coach Wholley, convinced me to play. My sophomore and junior year, I wasn’t a fan of our head coach. I wasn’t a fan of the way he coached and the way he treated some of the guys. My senior season he left and we got a new head coach, DJ Hernandez. My buddy Zach was like, “You know what dude? It’s your senior season just come out, come play ball with the boys.” So I was like, “Alright, might as well.” I just went out and tried to have fun and I did.
TFR: What made you come to Fordham?
JC: Honestly, the full scholarship. Fordham was the only school that offered me a full scholarship. I was getting looked at from a couple of Division II schools, and a couple DII schools for basketball, too. But a full scholarship, Fordham’s academic reputation and getting to be in the city; I used to come to the city all the time with my mom.
TFR: You’ve been part of a big rise in the Fordham football program. How would you describe the way the program has changed?
JC: Hard-earned. Very hard-earned. Freshman year, coming in and dealing with the 10-loss season that we had was really hard. In high school — and I’m sure this is the same for a lot of other guys — I was used to winning. I was used to being at the top of the totem pole. Coming in and doing so poorly was a real punch in the face and was like the entire team really need to work hard and focus on doing everything right for us to win. It’s been a long journey, but it’s been a fun journey as well.
TFR: Do you think last year’s team was significantly special? Or are there a lot of the same attributes on this year’s team?
JC: I think there’s a lot of the same. Last year we had a great class, our senior leadership was amazing. But this year, our senior leadership is also amazing. We’ve got Stephen Hodge, whose story is similar to a lot of guys on the team. He was a walk-on wide receiver his freshman year and last year he was an All-American linebacker. His leadership on the field and off the field has been huge. And we’ve got guys like Ian Williams, too, who is a fifth-year senior starter. His example and Hodge’s example, I think a lot of the guys on the team have really taken notice of them.
TFR: Have you tried to take on more of a leadership role this year?
JC: Yeah, I’ve tried to. I’m not really a vocal leader. I can be when I need to, like if I see something is wrong I’ll step up and say something, but I really just try to lead by example, try to do all the little things right on and off the field.
TFR: People talk about cornerback being kind of a thankless job. Do you feel that way? Do you like playing corner?
JC: Yeah, I love playing corner, it’s probably the most fun position for me to play. Going up against the top receivers in the Patriot League and the top receivers in the country in terms of our team, because we go play Sam Ajala and Brian Wetzel and Tebucky Jones all the time. It’s a lot of fun; I love playing corner.
TFR: Is there anything better than picking off a pass?
JC: Picking off a pass and scoring. It’s pure adrenaline. Last year, I had a pick-six against Lafayette. Most of the time, when guys score, like when Tebucky and Sam score all the time they kind of slow down as soon as they pass the goal line. I just couldn’t stop running. My adrenaline was so high I just couldn’t stop moving until I got back to the sideline. It’s a great feeling.
TFR: Do you have a favorite memory from four years of football?
JC: Beating Temple, for sure. That was absolutely huge. Just playing at the Link, too, was awesome. That’s every kid’s dream, to play at a professional stadium. I think last year against Bucknell, too, when I blocked the field goal. That was awesome too.
TFR: Do you have any plans for after graduation?
JC: I’ve been told by a couple of my coaches that scouts have been taking notice of me and if an opportunity presents itself, I’m definitely going to take it. But if it doesn’t, I really want to get into sports broadcasting. I’m a communications major, focusing on radio and TV broadcasting. If I don’t get into the journalism side, I wouldn’t mind getting into the production side, either. Anything in the general broadcasting production area would be awesome.
Max Prinz is the Sports Editor for The Fordham Ram.