After three years at the University of Minnesota, Gordon transferred to USF.
A former three star recruit out of Plant City High School in the class of 2019, linebacker James “D.J.” Gordon IV originally committed to continuing his athletic and academic career at the University of Minnesota over other Power 5 offers from Kentucky, Miami and Florida State.
Largely a special teams contributor, Gordon played sparingly over his three seasons with the Golden Gophers, totaling just 22 tackles, one tackle for loss and one interception in nine games on defense. And on Nov. 28 he announced on social media that he would be entering the transfer portal to continue his remaining years of eligibility at a new university.
“During my time at Minnesota, I have learned valuable lessons that I will carry throughout my life,” Gordon said in his announcement. “Being a leader, being attentive and also handling adversity. All of these lessons have shaped me into who I am today.”
For Jeff Scott — head coach at the University of South Florida — that announcement was all he needed to see. Scott wasted no time hopping on a plane headed north with the intention of luring Gordon back to the Tampa Bay Area. On Dec. 11, Gordon announced that he had indeed received an offer from USF and made a verbal commitment the following day. Despite a late push from the University of Miami, Gordon officially signed with USF on Dec. 15.
“I’m fired up,” Scott said in an interview during USF’s Early Signing Period last week. “As soon as [Gordon] entered the portal, I was on a plane to Minneapolis, Minnesota the very next day. I was up there eating wings with him and the restaurant where I met him for dinner one night was actually called Ray Jay’s. He’s from Plant City, right here in the area. He’s a big, strong, athletic guy who loves contact. He plays with great emotion and this was a big get for us. He got a call from [Miami] here in the past couple of days and chose not to pursue that offer and to sign with us instead. I think that he’s going to be a really big part of our defense here moving forward.”
Gordon joins a 2022 recruiting class that prominantly features a staggering amount of transfers for USF, a class that currently sits at the top spot on 247Sports’ top-ranked 2022 Football Transfer Rankings and includes 12 of their 25 total signings coming by way of the transfer portal.
“He was a great player,” Plant City head coach James Booth said. “Extremely athletic, gifted beyond belief, great academics and a great leader, so when he left to go up to Minnesota I figured that it would be a great fit for him. It didn’t work out, he was looking for an opportunity to play and South Florida had spots available. They were targeting him pretty heavily and I’m excited for his family and I’m excited for the Plant City family to be able to go see him more often and hopefully he can bring back some more wins to South Florida.”
Despite spending three years at Minnesota, Gordon heads to USF with at least two years of eligibility remaining due to a redshirt season and a possible extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19.