With the XFL’s 2024 season approaching quickly, there are plenty of prospects looking to prove themselves in the league. DB D’Jordan Strong – the former Coastal Carolina star – has high hopes of doing exactly that.
Strong has had quite the football journey so far. He’s provided multiple football teams with excellent play, and is now on a quest to transition to the professional stage.
To fully understand where Strong has come from – and, where he’s going – one must start at the beginning of his story.
It all began for D’Jordan Strong in Batesville, Mississippi. The town serves as the host to South Panola High School, which is one of the most popular schools in the southwest region. From 2003-2008, South Panola had an 89 game win streak, which caught plenty of national attention.
Growing up around so much football success instantly sparked D’Jordan and his love for the game:
“For a smaller town, my high school was very well known. Their win streak was my childhood. At an early age, I was trying to discover what I loved. Since I dealt with poverty at a younger age, I wanted to figure out how to provide for my family. Going to a high school game, and watching those guys compete and continue to win – it was inspiring.”
South Panola’s incredible winning streak would come to an end during the 2008 championship game. Meridian took down South Panola 26-20 in overtime, which was something that Strong got to witness.
“I remember just having goosebumps and chills from that moment. Losing that game gave me the motivation, the drive – and instilled a passion in me for something that I didn’t know would change my life. I wanted to play football in high school so I could beat Meridian.”
South Panola Success
Interestingly enough, D’Jordan Strong did not begin his high school football career on defense. During his first couple of years in high school, Strong was a standout wide receiver who consistently made plays for his team.
Early on, Strong had the opportunity to play against some future NFL stars, including: RB Cam Akers, WR D.K. Metcalf, and WR A.J. Brown. He also played alongside RB Darrell Henderson, who most recently was with the Los Angeles Rams. In his sophomore year, D’Jordan earned a starting wide receiver role.
Strong finally played a bit of defensive back in his junior year. In a game where he was matched up against Cam Akers, Akers scored on the second play – which resulted in Strong’s coach pulling him from the defensive side of the affair.
“First game of the season I played DB, and Akers scored the second play of the game. Coach said ‘yeah, defense isn’t for you’. So I went right back to offense. That game, though, took my career to a whole new level. Cam Akers went off, he scored like five touchdowns. But, on our side, you had a small kid named D’Jordan Strong who no one knows anything about – but had over 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns. I kept us in the game. It got to the point where they put Akers at CB to guard me.”
Heading towards his senior season at South Panola, Strong ended up making the move to defense. At first, it didn’t feel like the right fit to him. Over time, though, he settled into the role.
“Heading into that season I was like, this corner stuff isn’t for me. But, I started to get some experience there, and was consistently shutting down top prospects we were facing. My coach told me that I was definitely going to be a defensive back at the next level.”
Through his final two seasons in high school, Strong recorded 45 tackles, 23 pass breakups, and four interceptions. He was even ranked as high as the 32nd best prospect in the state of Mississippi in 2018 by Rivals.
Northeast Mississippi Community College
Originally, D’Jordan planned on playing offense in college. He had committed to Arkansas State University as a wide receiver, but couldn’t attend due to grades.
This led him to take the JUCO route, playing for Northeast Mississippi for two years.
“When I got to junior college, it was the first time I genuinely played corner. When I got there, I realized that this is what I was doing, and playing corner was how I could get to the professional level. Freshman year I struggled. That first year was really just about learning the position. Figuring out what I was good at. X’s and O’s were always my thing, so that’s something I focused on a lot.”
Once Strong got over the early hurdles, he began to thrive at cornerback. Through two seasons with the school, Jordan posted 46 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 12 pass breakups, and one interception. In his second year with Northeast Mississippi, D’Jordan played strictly corner, which helped him grow at the position.
“That sophomore year I really learned the position, and did a ton of extra work. I mainly played man coverage, since that’s what I was good at. That summer I had to get in insane shape to continue to play man at a high level. Mentally, it felt great to get adjusted to playing corner and learning the in’s and out’s of the position. I looked at JUCO as a second chance, and an opportunity to grow – and that’s exactly what it did for me.”
Strong made the most of his time at Northeast Mississippi, which ultimately led to his next stop: Coastal Carolina.
Coastal Carolina Star
D’Jordan Strong ended up transferring to Coastal Carolina for his junior year. This was an easy choice, given the success the school was seeing at the time. Strong was a part of a 2020 team that made waves in their conference, performing quite well throughout the year.
“That 2020 season was the best year in Coastal football history. It was easy for me, because I was prepared for this moment due to JUCO. Mentally, I had been getting myself ready to be in this position. I came here with the intent to start. After winning the starting spot in the spring, I discovered I had a torn labrum. I played through the injury, and ended up having one of the best years of my career. I had five interceptions…it was a crazy year, but a great one.”
In 2020, D’Jordan Strong posted 30 tackles, five interceptions, and twelve passes defensed. It was an outstanding year, and one that earned him plenty of warranted attention. While 2021’s stats aren’t as flashy (25 tackles, 7 PBU), Strong still had an excellent season that showcased his skill sets throughout.
“People don’t talk about my 2021 campaign enough. I didn’t give up a single touchdown. I dropped a lot of picks that year. Left a lot of money out on the table because of that. I made All-Team First Conference, which was the fourth year in a row that I accomplished that goal.”
Bumps In The Road
After the 2021 season, Strong was told that he might be a 6th or 7th round pick in the NFL draft. He ultimately decided to return to Coastal Carolina, in hopes of having another solid year to boost his draft status.
Unfortunately, this season didn’t go exactly as planned. Illness kept Strong from reaching his full potential, but he pushed through the struggles regardless.
“My last season wasn’t the best. I got sick three times. I had the flu, I had strep throat – and lost 15 pounds throughout the year. This was the first time I didn’t make the All-Team first conference in my career. That had never happened to me before. Overall, though, my years at Coastal were fantastic. I really appreciated my teammates and coaching staff. Even through getting sick and losing the weight, they continued to push me forward, and helped motivate me to not get down on myself. Coastal changed my life.”
D’Jordan Strong also had the opportunity to see playing time on special teams. He played Gunner, Control, and Safety on the Coastal Carolina special teams unit, which allowed him to showcase the multiple athletic traits he possessed. Because of his offensive background, Strong is quite versatile and can perform at a high level in more than one position.
While D’Jordan went undrafted in the 2023 NFL draft, he had some rookie minicamp opportunities with the Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars this spring.
“I thought I was going to make it in Jacksonville, since they drafted a bunch of defensive backs. I learned so much in my time at Jacksonville, being taught valuable information about how these positions operate at the NFL level. These were great opportunities for me, that made me realize that my time isn’t up with football.”
Right now, D’Jordan is hoping to use a spring football league as a platform to return to the NFL. With both the XFL and USFL in full swing, the football landscape is rich with openings.
“I definitely want to play in one of these leagues. Not only just to get back to the NFL – although that’s the ultimate goal – but also just to show that I can still do it. I love the game of football. Football has been so important to my life, and I know that I’m not close to done. I’ve always been a leader, and I know I can provide a team with those qualities. I feel like I have so much more to show the world as far as football goes, that people haven’t seen yet. I wholeheartedly believe that I am one of the best at what I do.”
D’Jordan most recently attended the XFL combine, which was held back at the end of July. Strong was excellent, ranking as one of the top DB’s in multiple categories.
Don't sleep on D'Jordan Strong. 2nd among DB's in vertical jump height, 3rd highest in the entire combine.
This football journey hasn’t always been easy for D’Jordan Strong. He’s dealt with his fair share of hardships along the way, but it’s all been part of the beauty of his story. Strong has also learned quite a few valuable lessons, ones that he can apply to his everyday life – and not just football.
“I’ve learned that, in the midst of hardship or adversity, don’t run away from it. Run towards it. Sometimes you have to put both feet down, and you gotta go to war. No matter if you have people behind you or not. Run to adversity no matter how hard life gets. At the end of the day, you grow through the struggles. What you ask God to be, and what you pray for, you become that when you push through adversity. Tough times mold you. You can’t become the person you want to be without going through those trials.”
With recent interest shown by a couple of XFL organizations, D’Jordan Strong is well on his way to professional success and beyond. We look forward to watching him continue to grow in his unique journey, and wish D’Jordan the absolute best moving towards 2024.
What are your thoughts on D’Jordan Strong and his career so far? Which XFL or USFL team would you like to see him play for? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!