RAWLINS – Following a banner senior campaign that included a regional championship, state title, and 3A southeast conference player of the year honors, Jordan Jerome signed her national letter of intent to play college volleyball on Friday.
In her home gym, surrounded by family, friends and coaches, Jerome made official her intent to play for McCook Community College in McCook, Neb.
Also in attendance at the signing ceremony was Indians head women’s volleyball coach Haley Kobza, who called in via Skype to watch Jerome make it official. Kobza met the Rawlins senior standout over the past summer when she was in McCook visiting family. Kobza had the opportunity to watch Jerome workout and knew she needed to get her in the Indian’s lineup.
“There was no doubt that I wanted her to play for me,” said Kobza. “I let her know we were really interested and I showed her what our team and our program is all about. She’s an awesome kid and ultimately I really hoped she would sign with us. We’re thrilled she did.”
Jerome was a standout in highschool and a force in all positions on the volleyball court. As her high school coach Aubrey Griffiths had previously noted, she can serve, hit and is really good on defense. Kobza also recognized the talent Jerome displays in all positions, but wants to focus her attention away from playing mostly middle, where she was dominant throughout high school. Kobza explained her vision for fitting Jerome into her line up.
“We’re going to move her to the outside so she can play back row. That’s the goal – to make her a player who can dominate the ball wherever we need her to.”
For Jerome, the transition to the next level of play cannot come quick enough. While she intends to play basketball and soccer during her final months as a Rawlins High School student, she plans to be in the gym, keeping her volleyball skills sharp until she makes the move to McCook.
“On my off days I’ll be sure to come into the gym with my sister and get some reps in so that I pretty much always have the ball in my hand,” said Jerome.
The process of actually finding the right fit and making the commitment, admittedly, was a bit stressful for Jerome. Because of this, she opted to make her verbal commitment to McCook Community College in August so that she could focus all her attention on the high school season ahead. She considered seven other schools but landed on McCook for a couple of reasons. Jerome has family in the area, which will be a great support system for her. She was also impressed with Kobza’s coaching and leadership style.
“McCook was kind of shaping up to be my last option. But when I went for my visit and met Coach Kobza, I noticed how the girls really respect her and that was big for me. I knew then that I’d commit there,” said Jerome.
Behind the scenes was Jerome’s father, Josh, making sure he gave his daughter enough guidance to make a smart decision that was ultimately her own. Based on his own experiences, Josh made sure Jordan considered things like potential teammates and environment, the coaching staff, education opportunities and if there is potential for a scholarship. McCook had them all.
Jordan, clearly impressed with the coaching staff and team, will study to become a veterinary technologist and will receive an athletic scholarship that covers tuition, fees and books.
Josh talked about his daughter’s decision and admitted he, like Jordan, was happy she made a verbal commitment in August.
“We went through seven visits. At some point, I was ready for her to make a choice,” said Josh. “It was one of those scenarios where I knew I needed to let God do the work. It’s a little bittersweet. I know how much her mom would relish in this moment.”
Jerome’s mother, Niki Johnson-Jerome, passed away in July of 2016. Jordan gives her mom credit for introducing her to volleyball at a young age. Josh, who recognizes it hasn’t been easy for Jordan to be without her mom, is understandably extremely proud of his daughter’s resilience and how she’s been able to achieve so many of her goals.
“Since she was a little girl she has always wanted this. It’s huge,” said Josh. “Everything else has kind of been a stepping stone to get to this point.”
While Jordan admits she will miss Rawlins, she is more than ready for the next level and ready to explore and enjoy college life and college volleyball.
With her father, family, friends and the Rawlins community rooting her on, she is sure to succeed at the next level.