Right now, former Oklahoma State Safety Jordan Sterns is working hard to make his dream of playing in the NFL a reality. After three years of leading the Cowboys in tackles, and some hard hits, I have a good feeling that dream might come true.
Despite all the hard work, Sterns was kind enough to take some time and answer some questions... 24 minutes of time in fact.
We spoke last week after the Senior Bowl (and before his invite to the NFL Combine) about preparing for the draft, his favorite game as a Cowboy, what Gundy preaches, his favorite hits, and even offers some advice for the new Cowboy recruits.
Phillip Slavin: How’s life after Oklahoma State?
Jordan Sterns: It’s going good actually. A little different you know, but still in pursuit of my dreams so it’s good. I’m just really enjoying the process.
PS: You played in the Senior Bowl back on January 27th. What was that experience like?
JS: It was fun honestly, just getting to talk to a bunch of different scouts and teams, being able to let them understand what kind of person I am and what kind of mindset I carry. It was definitely a great opportunity to express who I am as a person and also show them my talent on the field, how I play the game.
(Sterns played on the South Team, racking up two total tackles in the game)
PS: How did you feel about your performance in the game?
JS: I did alright. I missed a tackle. I’m pretty hard on myself but at the same time it’s part of the game, it’s something I do need to get better at to play at the next level. It’s something I’m working on, something to think about. There’s a lot of things I need to get better at. I’m not the kind of guy to think I have all the answers. I’m always asking questions and seeking advice, trying to get better in anyway that I can.
PS: What are you doing to make sure NFL teams get a chance to see you before the draft in April?
JS: It starts with my training. I have a lot of good days, a lot of bad days... well, I wouldn’t say bad days. There are a lot days that aren’t the best or aren’t the easiest, but you know those are the days that are truly helping me grow as a player. Its honestly teaching me a lot along the way. Of course I would love to be a first round pick, second round pick, third, fourth, fifth, whatever, I want to get drafted. But I know it’s not always in my control, which a lot of things in life aren’t. I have to understand that it’s a process. There are a lot of other talented people out there. However, at the end of the day, I’m so determined to be great it doesn’t matter. I honestly believe I have what it takes to play 10 years in the National Football League. It’s just about getting that opportunity, which will happen if I continue working hard and working on my game.
PS: Have you gotten an agent yet?
JS: Yes and he’s been helping me out a lot. He actually played eight years in the NFL so not only am I getting the business side from him, I’m getting what it takes to be a successful NFL athlete. A lot of the things I need to work on, he’s there to help me. He sees it in me, sees my desire to be great, not only on the field but off the field. That’s so important, because even if I do play for 10 years, that will make me 32 years old. There’s a lot of things I can do off the football field to help myself and help people around me.
(I, like an idiot, forgot to actually ask his agent’s name.)
PS: Looking back at Oklahoma State, tell me about your career in Stillwater.
JS: It was great, the coaches I met the people I met, the relationships I established at Oklahoma State were something that I needed. It was a great process and a great journey. I met some great people, some people that helped me get to where I’m at today. The coaches, the friendships I established with the coaches, Coach Glass, Coach Gundy. I met some of my best friends there, Dawson (Bassett), Marcell (Ateman), so many great people that I met that I will have relationships with for the rest of my life.
PS: There was an interview on What Drives Winning with Coach Gundy and Coach Glass where they talked about how coaching the man was just as important as coaching the player. What kind of impact did OSU coaches have on you as a person and how had the biggest impact?
JS: They all had huge impacts on me, I can’t really point to one. We spent so much time with Coach Glass and Coach (Joe) Tudman... those workouts are hard man, they really are. They teach you a lot about yourself, they teach you to be resilient through life. Like now, I didn’t get invited to the combine*. As discouraging as that is, it’s something that I can’t control. That’s something that Coach Gundy would always preach; control what you can control, control what you can control. Basically that’s what I have to do. I cant let the fact that that happened take me away from why I play this game. I can’t let all the guys ranked ahead of me at safety take me away from why I play this game. Control what you can control, like Coach Gundy said. I can control my workout habits, my resiliency, and I can just keep showing up each day. So you got Coach Gundy preaching control what you can control, Coach Glass with those workouts, teaching you a lot about who you are, and Coach Tudman teaching you about faith and believing in something bigger than yourself. There’s a lot beyond just football, there’s a lot of things bigger than individual people and its important to know that, to have that awareness that there’s something greater than all of us.
*After this interview, John Hoover tweeted that Jordan Sterns has since received an invite to the NFL Combine.
Per @RAllenGoPokes sources on Further Review just now, Vincent Taylor, Blake Jarwin & Jordan Sterns will join Chris Carson at NFL Combine.— John E. Hoover (@johnehoover) February 6, 2017
PS: What was your favorite game of your OSU career?
JS: I’d have to say West Virginia my sophomore year. Even though we lost, I remember the week before I played bad (TCU). I could have had an interception, but I mistimed my jump and the ball went right over my head. (Josh) Doctson caught it for a 50-yard touchdown. I remember was on the ground just shaking my head, it was a rough day. But against West Virginia I bounced back and had 20 tackles. I should have had an interception but it bounced off my chest. That game started to define me as a player and as a person too. I wasn’t gonna let one bad week become two bad weeks. And that game was fun. I remember I didn’t hear nothing, I wasn’t listening to the sideline or to the crowd, I was in a zone, like tunnel vision, and everything seemed to be moving so slow as if I was just playing in the backyard with friends and family. Everything just seemed to go my way. I didn’t second guess anything; if I saw it I went. It was crazy. That was my best game. Like I said, we lost, but it taught me a lot about being a leader. I could have easily folded after the week before, I could have been down, but we battled. It really showed me that I could be a leader.
The game in question was the 2014, 34-10 Homecoming loss that was our second in a five game losing streak that year.
PS: You were known for some big hits at Oklahoma State. What were your biggest, most memorable?
JS: One hit that I liked, that I really enjoyed was when we played Texas my sophomore year (2014). They came up to Stillwater and I had a pretty good friend on the team named Malcolm Brown who is now in the NFL, plays for the Rams. We went to high school together and he was like a big brother to me. He had a lot of success in high school and he was just so humble and genuine. You see a lot of five star recruits who have early success and let it go to their heads, but I tried to pick up things from him, his mannerisms, how he handled success, so it was fun to play with him (in high school). But, when it came time to put those helmets on and he was on the other team I said, “You know what? If I get the chance, I’m gonna try to kill him!” I was in the middle of the field and they gave him a little sweep and someone had already wrapped him up... I came from about 15 yards out, full speed, and gave him a good lick. I remember seeing Josh Furman after and him saying “good hit”. It was a good clean hit and against someone who I know is a great competitor. It was like playing with my brother so it was a good hit....
(HERE is a link to the hit.)
JS: Another hit that I can remember is that Dede Westbrook hit....
JS:... a little controversy, but at the end of the day I was just playing football. A lot of people don’t understand when you’re just playing football, you don’t know if you’re ducking your head. Maybe sometimes I duck my head. It’s a physical game, he signed up for it and I signed up for it. It was a rivalry game and we were just setting the tone. It was a good hit. I told the media this before, I don’t ever want to see someone unconscious, I don’t want to take away their ability to play the game. At the same time, that just comes with the territory.
PS: What will you miss most about your time at Oklahoma State?
JS: There’s going to be a lot to miss. All the moments with friends, the hard work, the good times in college. You create some of best friends you’re going to have for the rest of your life. Right now I have a group message with a couple of them back in Stillwater. They text, saying “I can’t even walk right now” and I know how they’re feeling. Coach Glass... when you have that first leg day and he pulls out the lunges and squats. But just being in that environment with all those friends you came in with and even the guys who came after that, that you’ve helped and mentored. That’s what I’ll miss the most.
PS: What was your favorite uniform combination?
JS: Baylor this year because it was all white. We got white cleats to go with it. It had a clean look, it looked good to me, it looked sharp. Growing up I was a big fan of Texas’s all white uniforms, so I thought it was good. I would have worn them every away game if it was up to me. After that it’s hard. We had so many good combinations... All black is good, I always thought black-white-black. At Iowa State we wore gray-white-gray (2015). My favorite when I was being recruited was that all gray look against West Virginia my senior year of high school**. It doesn’t really matter, they all looked good. No matter how you match it, its going to turn out looking good... one of the best in the country.
**It was actually black-gray-gray, but they did look good.
PS: National Signing Day was last week. What is some advice you would give the new guys coming in?
JS: To make it simple... four years is all you got. four years. and I wish I could make them understand how quick four years is, or three, or five at the most. Regardless, it goes by so fast they won’t know what’s gonna hit them. That first year goes by kind of slow as you get used to things, but sophomore, junior, senior years go by so fast. Take advantage of every workout. Take advantage of the academic people, Miss Marilyn, Miss Nikki, who do a lot for us. Great people. Miss Nikki was always on my butt and pushing me. Take advantage of those people, those facilitators. A lot of those kids probably want to go to the NFL. The only reason I’m in the position I am now is because I practiced hard, in the weight room I lifted hard, in conditioning I conditioned hard. Those things are going to help them maximize their abilities. Put in time and effort into being great. There’s so much I would tell them, but the one thing... take advantage of every day you wake up. Even in high school, the people you think you’re going to see, the ones you see every day in high school, man, it’s gonna be a whole different world once you get to college. I’m glad I learned that at a pretty young age. Every day is a new opportunity. If they can learn that as a freshman in college then the sky is the limit for them for whatever they want to do.
I want to take time to thank Jordan for taking time out of his training to talk to me. We wish him the best of luck in the future, and one of our contributors can’t wait to see him in Purple and Gold. (Looking at you Tyler.)