South Charlotte

Tall in heart, but not enough height

College athletics is a business, with each coach looking for the perfect athlete.

The athlete's livelihood depends on speed, power, exceptional athletic ability, grades, heart and domination of their position.

Jordan Oakley of Porter Ridge High School possesses those traits. He's developed skill through hard work and the desire to excel.

Some traits, however, cannot be taught - height being one.

Oakley has received his first lesson in the harsh reality of college athletics: As of last week, he had no scholarship offers.

Oakley is fast. He runs a 4.3 40-yard dash, according to MaxPreps, the online high school recruiting news service. He is 77th in interceptions, 11th in receptions and 37th in scoring in North Carolina.

Still, his 5-foot-11 stature has become his Achilles heel. College coaches are hesitant to recruit wide receivers shorter than 6-foot-3.

Oakley entertains the idea of switching to a defensive back, but height is still a hurdle.

UNC Chapel Hill, Appalachian State, Wingate, Furman and Coastal Carolina have scouted Oakley, offering him the opportunity to try out as a walk-on but giving no guarantees.

Porter Ridge coach Blair Hardin has been helpful preparing him. Oakley says that he has called some college coaches but they have not gotten back to him.

Oakley was instrumental in Porter Ridge's run to the 4A high school state championship game in December, playing offense and defense the entire season.

"One of the most exciting things about football is making plays that help my team win games," he said.

His love for football is overshadowed only by his love of art; his artistic ability is on par with his athletic skills.

He also maintains a 3.95 GPA and intends to double major in art and business.

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