August 28, 2019 11:08 AM
Dane Lisser

Smith to be key offensive weapon for Big Blue Football in 2019

Millikin Jordan SmithMillikin University wide receiver Jordan Smith, a senior from Shelbyville, Ill., made Millikin football history in 2018 by surpassing former Millikin and Green Bay Packer receiver Jeff Query for the most receiving touchdowns in program history (30).

Smith ended the 2018 season with 60 catches for a school record 1,044 yards, becoming the first Big Blue receiver to reach the 1,000-yard mark in a season. Smith scored a conference leading 17 touchdowns. He set Millikin and College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) records for touchdown catches in a season. Smith's 102 points tied the conference mark for points in a season, and with one season remaining in his career, Smith holds the Big Blue record for touchdown catches at 37 and ranks third all-time in receiving yards at 2,300.

Following the 2018 season, Smith was named to the CCIW All-Conference First Team for the second straight year.

Opposing teams will have Smith zeroed in on as the biggest weapon in the Big Blue offense for the 2019 season. The offense will be led by quarterback Cal Pohrte, a junior from New Lenox, Ill. Pohrte replaces Nicco Stepina who ended his Millikin career with 14 different school records including: career passing yards (9,384), career passing touchdowns (93), career pass completions (722), career total offense (10,264), pass completions in a season (207), touchdowns passes in a season (30), passing yards in a season (2,785), total offense in a season (3,070), passing yards in a game (381) and touchdowns in a game (seven).

"Jordan has taken a huge step. When he came here, he was already an all-world player at Shelbyville and was raw and it was really about his athleticism," Millikin Head Football Coach Dan Gritti said in an interview with the Herald & Review. "Then he got better technique wise but now really where he has had the biggest strides is mentally. He has a much bigger command of everything that we are doing and a much better understanding so we are able to put more on his plate offensively."

Pohrte noted, "Jordan is Jordan. I've never played with a receiver like him before and we have thrown in practice the past few years and it's impressive to see what he can do on the field."

Smith will continue to rewrite record books this season as his 2,300 career yards are just 284 yards away from becoming Millikin's all-time leading receiver.

If Smith can continue on his path to success, Gritti is certain NFL teams will show interest in the receiver.

"He's like the prototypical NFL receiver," Gritti said. "He's put on 10 pounds this year so he's getting there. I'm sure the way they are looking at it that if he has another great year and spends that offseason putting on more strength, he is prime at least for a look from the NFL."

Smith noted, "It is a great opportunity. It is something that keeps my hopes up and something I would love to do. We will see. We have a season ahead and that's what I need to focus on right now."