Jordan Herdman, a middle line backer for the SFU Clan, and the two-time (2015 and 2016) Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) Defensive Player of the Year.

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Clan player tackles the future: gridiron or med school?

March 22, 2016
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By Justin Wong

Fourth-year student Jordan Herdman is faced with a tough decision in his final year at Simon Fraser University—should he play professional football or become a physician?

Both are very real possibilities for Herdman, a middle line backer for the SFU Clan, and the two-time (2015 and 2016) Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) Defensive Player of the Year.

That’s because he’s as successful off the field as he is on it. He’s just completing a major in biomedical physiology  (BPK), with a 3.99 grade point average (GPA) out of a possible 4.33, leading all football players on the GNAC All-Academic team.

To put this accomplishment into perspective the average undergraduate GPA for BPK is 2.7.

As a good student of the game, Herdman developed an admiration for his father’s large size, speed and athleticism.

“From day one my dream was to play professional football, but I was always interested in the science of the body as well," he says. "Becoming a doctor has been another dream I’ve had.”

Herdman says he chose SFU because it gave him the best chance to play professional football one day while also earning the credentials to go to medical school and become a doctor.

“SFU football is the only Canadian NCAA Division II program,” he says. “SFU is the best comprehensive university in Canada as well, so earning a degree here means something.”

This season, Herdman led the GNAC and finished the regular season fifth in Division II with an average of 14.8 tackles a game. His season was capped by a 26-tackle performance against California’s Humboldt State University on Oct. 31, one tackle short of his own GNAC single game record.

His accomplishments at SFU haven’t gone unnoticed.

“I feel truly privileged to have been around Jordan, his attitude, respectful demeanor and work ethic,” says Nabyl Merbouh, SFU chemistry professor. “It takes a special student athlete to ace an organic chemistry exam on a Thursday and go out and record 17 tackles on a Saturday, all done with his signature humility and infectious smile.”

While Herdman acknowledges that balancing athletics and academics can be challenging, he credits his parents as his inspiration to persevere.

“My parents motivated me because they work so hard to support me and my brother. Studying the playbook every night, analyzing film, traveling to away games and balancing classes can be very challenging.”

Herdman will graduate this fall and hopes to be drafted by a CFL or NFL team.

Want to support SFU Athletes like Jordan? Attend the SFU Athletics Scholarship Breakfast on Monday May 30, 2016.

If you would like to learn more about Jordan Herdman please visit the links below:

Ottawa Citizen (Canadian Press) - Simon Fraser linebacker Jordan Herdman a master of time management

The Province - Simon Fraser University's stars of the class who excel on the field

Global News - SFU football playing twins on the road to success