Jordan Hersom was the top senior football player in the state. He’s also one of the best in basketball.
The gridiron distinction made the Leavitt Area High School star a Division I prospect. As a man for all seasons, however, Hersom has decided that Division III is the best option for pursuing his dreams.
Hersom has committed to Springfield (Mass.) College, where he will attempt to play both NCAA football and basketball.
He confirmed the decision Saturday night while attending the KVAC basketball championship game in Augusta, where Hersom was honored as the league’s player of the year.
“I tried to take athletics out of it and base my decision on academics,” Hersom said. “I thought it was the best fit for me going down there and visiting. I liked it down there.“
“The opportunity to play football and basketball is a good one presented to me,” he acknowledged.
Springfield won out over the likes of Division I Maine and Holy Cross and Division III Ithaca in New York.
One of Hersom’s preferences was staying near home and his close-knit family. Springfield is about 3 ½ hours from Turner.
Although he was also a standout receiver, defensive back and kick and punt returner for the Hornets, Hersom has been recruited as a quarterback.
Hersom engineered a spread option offense at Leavitt in his two years as starting signal-caller. He joined Jake Ouellette in rushing for more than 1,000 yards as a senior and also eclipsed that total through the air.
His skills should be a good fit at Springfield. The Pride run the triple option, a similar offense that takes full advantage of the quarterback’s quick decision-making and his dual ability to run and throw.
“Coach (Michael) DeLong is excited about that,” Hersom said.
While a revolving door in the coach’s office is common at the highest levels of college sports, Springfield is a monument to stability.
DeLong, who started his career at Maine Maritime, is entering his 29th year as football coach. Men’s basketball coach Charlie Brock is in his 14th season.
Football has averaged between 38 and 40 points per game each of the past three seasons.
“The football team usually does really well. They’ve been ranked nationally,” Hersom said.
Springfield was 6-4 in 2011. The Pride played in the NCAA Division III playoffs five times since 1998.
On the court, Springfield is 15-8 this season.
Hoops didn’t recruit Hersom as heavily as football, but Brock has shown plenty of interest.
“The basketball program I’m not as familiar with,” Hersom said. “This summer and fall I wasn’t planning on playing basketball at the next level, but as this winter rolled around I realized that I love it just as much as football.”
Hersom recently topped both 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in his four-year career as a starting forward and center. Leavitt has enjoyed back-to-back 14-win seasons, their best since winning 19 games in 1968-69.
“The seasons overlap,” Hersom said of his dual endeavors. “They have a JV (basketball) team too, so I might have to play on the JV team for a year so they can see me play.”
Last month, Hersom was awarded the Fitzpatrick Trophy as Maine’s top senior football player. His cousin, Jack, won the same award for Lawrence High School in 2007 before playing at Husson University.
Hersom’s grandfather, Lawrence “Doc” Hersom, coached Edward Little to three state championships in the 1970s. His father, Jim, and uncle, John, starred on two of those teams and later became top coaches in their own right.