Benson Jordan, a redshirt junior history major from Hot Springs, will start his third consecutive game as quarterback for the Ouachita Tigers this Saturday against Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
The 6’2” starter has a rich history with the Tigers and looks to continue his story of success this season for the team.
Jordan had copious success on the field during his time at Lake Hamilton High School.
In three seasons as its starting quarterback, he led the Wolves to a 30-8 record and two state championship appearances, winning one in 2008. Jordan also gained all-state honors in both football and basketball.
Jordan said much of his success can be attributed to Jerry Clay, head coach of the Lake Hamilton Wolves.
“Coach Clay is a major key to my success so far,” he said. “He started working with me after my seventh grade year to teach me the fundamentals of the quarterback position. I would not be where I am today without his coaching and influence in my life.”
Clay is a legend among the coaches association in Arkansas and has built Lake Hamilton’s team into a state powerhouse.
Jordan also has numerous ties to Ouachita. He is the grandson of Coach “Buddy” Benson, the Tigers’ head coach for more than three decades.
Coach Benson is the all-time leader in coaching wins in Arkansas college football history.
“It’s definitely an added expectation when you’re the grandson of such a legacy at Ouachita,” Jordan said.
Jordan’s grandmother was a professor and both his parents went to Ouachita.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Ouachita and play football. I can remember watching my grandfather’s last game to coach and remember thinking, ‘One day I’m going to play here.’”
Jordan was highly recruited within the state of Arkansas and said he was interested in Harding, Arkansas Tech and UCA. While he visited each one of them and liked their programs, he knew from the beginning that he wanted to play for Ouachita.
Jordan will carry all of this on his shoulders as he leads the Tigers as quarterback this year. Offensive coordinator Jay Derby likes to run an up-tempo offense that caters to Jordan’s style of play.
“Coach Derby expects his quarterbacks to be vocal leaders,” Jordan said. “There’s a lot of leadership that falls on the quarterback. If you play quarterback in this offense, you’re the guy that has to be the leader.”
He has been successful with this so far. In the Tigers’ scrimmage with East Texas Baptist University, he completed 17 of 18 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for another touchdown. Against Southern Nazarene University, he did just as well, going 21 of 27 for 220 yards passing and two touchdowns.
Jordan started last season, but got hurt and had to sit out a couple of games. He suffered a grade-three shoulder separation.
“It was difficult to have to sit out and watch,” he said.
We finished the year splitting time with junior Ty Towers, trying desperately to protect his shoulder from further injury. This year, Benson said, his shoulder will be completely healed and he will be able to be the complete quarterback he wants to be.
Chris Rycraw, a redshirt junior running back from Bryant, has known Jordan for a long time.
“We played in AAU tournaments together since fourth grade,” Jordan said. “Our chemistry is very high and we’re able to use that effectively on the field.”
In addition to playing basketball together, Jordan and Rycraw also have roomed together for the past four years and have grown to be great friends.
“Benson is all about business,” Rycraw said. “He’s always thinking of new and innovative ways to win on Saturday. He’s a great friend and a great competitor.”
Jordan will lead the Tigers into the home season opener against Southeastern Oklahoma on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The Tigers are 2-0 thus far.
“Our ultimate goal,” Jordan said, “is to win another conference championship and make the playoffs.”