Column: Cathedral’s Xavier Jordan blocks out the distractions on path to success

Lying in bed at night, Xavier Jordan hears shots, sirens and helicopters so often that nothing stands in the way of falling asleep.

“I got used to them,” he said.

Jordan lives with his mother and five younger siblings in a housing project at Holmes and 51st Streets in south Los Angeles.

“Most of the time I can’t even get outside because my mom is paranoid,” he said.

LA Cathedral High has become his sanctuary and the football field his playground.

“I can be 16,” he said.

At 6ft 1, 170 pounds, with speed, athleticism and strong hands, Jordan is a junior wide receiver with dreams and aspirations to build a future of opportunity.

“I just think if I keep going the way I’m doing, I’m not going to be living where I’m living for the next 10 years,” he said. “Don’t let anything distract you.”

Jordan attended Carson as a freshman and then enrolled at the cathedral as a sophomore. Adjusting wasn’t easy. His grades and focus needed to change. It finally started to register that his duties as the eldest of the siblings at ages 14, 13, 8, 5 and 2 needed to take precedence.

“I started to feel like a completely different person,” he said. “I’m very different from last year. I know the responsibility I have is not that of a 16 year old. I had to mature very quickly.”

His grades have improved and he insists that this semester he will get all A’s in his subjects, from chemistry to algebra 2. Last year his Spanish grade was a D. It’s now an A.

Jordan uses high school experiences the way they were meant to be used—to learn. Sometimes it’s a good experience, sometimes not. It’s how you respond to it that separates individuals.

In a football game against Gardena Serra that season, he caught three passes for nearly 100 yards but dropped several passes. He blamed a lack of concentration for mistakes because he was so intent on doing well against friends who had been youth teammates that he put too much stock in himself to deliver.

“I let adversity get to me,” he said. “It was a big game and I wasn’t there mentally. So many people came and I put all the responsibility on myself.”

The lesson learned was that “everyone is equal. I let people get to me. I’ve been thinking.”

His best game this season came on Friday night when he caught 13 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns against La Canada St. Francis.

“He’s elite,” said St. Francis coach Dean Herrington.

On the season, Jordan has 46 receptions for 1,089 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Quarterback Aidan Moss said, “I think he’s a game changer. Nobody can really protect him. I think he will play on Sundays.”

Coach Anthony Jefferson called Jordan “an insanely good athlete.”

Last spring, Cathedral was up against Serra in a track meet, so Jordan was recruited to compete in the long jump. With little practice and no experience, he went 22 feet, 8 inches. He will join the track and field team this spring to explore his long jump potential.

Playing receiver fascinates him.

“I like the spectacular catches and the responsibility,” he said. “When you’re a receiver, it’s harder to be a receiver than a running back because you have to learn who you’re up against, how to open up, and how to execute your routes.”

Many challenges await Jordan, but he understands that the potential rewards of staying focused provide motivation each day. He made it his mission to get through the ups and downs of teenage life.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to make it,” he said, flashing a smile with braces in full view. Column: Cathedral’s Xavier Jordan blocks out the distractions on path to success

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