Richmond football suffered yet another blow, as record-setting placekicker Brandon Jordi left the team.
Jordi’s departure comes just over a week after starting quarterback Michael Strauss suffered an injury on his throwing shoulder. Strauss said his injury was not serious, but these recent events may cause Spider fans some concern.
Academics were the primary reason Jordi left, he said, but he is going to miss the camaraderie and competitiveness that team sports brings. Leaving the team was one of the hardest decisions he has had to make in his life.
“I weighed the positives and the negatives of the decision hundreds, thousands of times in my head,” he said.
Jordi, a sophomore, made 78.3 percent of his field goals and led the Colonial Athletic Association with 18 made field goals last season. Jordi, who CAA coaches voted to the All-CAA second team, broke the school record for field goals made in a season.
Jordi’s lone season went better than he could have imagined, he said, and his teammates, albeit disappointed, have supported his decision.
“They’re definitely sad to see me leave,” Jordi said. “Not only was I, you know, the starting kicker, I was also one of their good friends.”
Head coach Danny Rocco said he was disappointed and blindsided when he learned Jordi would leave the team.
“Not only did we think we would have him back this year, but for years to come,” Rocco said. Jordi has three years of eligibility remaining.
“If I would have known he was not coming back I would have pursued some other options in our recruiting cycle,” Rocco said. “So that’s kind of where it offers a little frustration.”
Jordi, who played varsity soccer his freshman year, stabilized Richmond’s shaky kicking game. Remington Hinshaw, who transferred to Virginia Tech following the 2012 season, made 68.2 percent of his kicks. Hinshaw missed six extra points and went 14-18 inside 40 yards. Jordi, however, went 12-13 inside 40 yards, and went 28-32 on extra points, two of which were blocked.
In a 27-10 win over Albany, Jordi tied a school record with four field goals, including a career-long 48-yard kick, and was named CAA special teams player of the week.
Richmond has three or four candidates to replace Jordi, Rocco said, but, chose not to identify them.
“I’m very optimistic, you know,” Rocco said. “It just, it was an area I didn’t foresee having to… address.”
Pete Yoder, a freshman and Richmond’s kickoff specialist last season, and redshirt freshman Matthew Kassebaum look to be likely replacements. Neither has attempted a field goal in a game for the Spiders.
Jordi said he expected Yoder to replace him but he thought both Yoder and Kassebaum were able candidates.
“They both have a lot of potential,” Jordi said. “The thing about kicking is, you know, you can have a lot of potential but when it comes to game time you got to be able to execute. That’s what separates good kickers from average kickers.”
Richmond’s annual spring game will be April 19, which Jordi will watch, he said.