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Jordan Fisher: ‘Phenomenal’ back continues to rewrite Westview (Oregon) record books … when will Power 5 schools take notice?

“You can look at a guy’s size on paper, but you can’t measure his heart, passion, coachability, loyalty and work ethic.”

By René Ferrán | Photos by Naji Saker 

Jordan Fisher had to wait an additional six months for this moment. 

It was March 5, 2021, the opening game of Westview’s delayed football season, part of the COVID spring campaign, and Fisher, then a sophomore who’d run for 16 touchdowns on the Wildcats JV team as a freshman, was ready. 

Or so he thought.

“I had high expectations for myself there, going out there, making big plays,” Fisher said. “And ultimately, that was one of the worst games in my life.”

He fumbled the ball early in the game. Later, he dropped a punt. The Wildcats lost to Aloha, 27-21. And those lofty expectations he had for the season? He finished the spring with 111 yards and a touchdown in five games.

“I just didn’t have the confidence that I was used to at prior levels,” he said.

Fast forward six months. Fisher was now a junior, having spent the offseason working daily with his father, Robert, on securing the ball on runs, catching hundreds of kicks, improving his speed, hand-eye coordination and agility, and hitting the weight room, all with one goal: “So I can make spectacular plays.”

Oregon City kicked off to Westview to open the season. It’s a year later, and Fisher can still point to the spot on the field where he caught the ball.

“Took it all the way 80 yards for a touchdown,” Fisher said. “They called it back, but all the butterflies went away.”

A few plays later, Fisher took a handoff around midfield, burst through the line and was gone. This time, there was no flag.

“And you know, we were off from there,” Fisher said.

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By the time the night was over, Fisher had rushed for 196 yards and two touchdowns. And yes, his season — his career — took off from there.

By year’s end, he had broken school records for yards (1,549) and touchdowns (24) in a season, and he’d gone from an intriguing prospect to one of the state’s leading running backs.

“You can’t fail if you don’t quit and withstand the tough times,” said Wildcats coach Ryan Atkinson. “The game teaches life lessons because much of life after football is overcoming adversity. Jordan will never try to find the easy way out and will always give credit to others, taking the spotlight off himself. This is why he is special to all our teammates and coaches.”

***

Fisher entered Friday’s Metro League opener against Mountainside on the cusp of breaking another long-standing Westview school record. 

He started his senior season with a bang, rushing for 237 yards on opening night against Clackamas, followed by a 351-yard, four-touchdown performance against Wilsonville that broke his record for yards in a game and left Wilsonville coach Adam Guenther gushing.

“Their running back is a stud, and we couldn’t tackle him,” Guenther said after that game. “They couldn’t pass on us … didn’t need to.”

Two so-so performances followed against two of the state’s top defenses — Tualatin and Summit — leaving him 79 yards shy of the school’s career rushing mark of 2,468 yards held for 23 years by Stephen Clayton.

The Mavericks bottled up Fisher on the Wildcats’ first two drives, and he sat on nine yards on five carries when he lined up behind quarterback Nolan Keeney for a first-down play from the Westview 4-yard line.

Fisher doesn’t remember the exact play call — just a standard inside run. As Keeney handed him the ball, Fisher took his usual stutter step to assess the situation, then hit the hole behind senior left tackle Campbell Sager and left guard Gunner Jorgensen.

He saw a linebacker pursuing him, so he cut back right, saw his lineman make a seal block and got to the sideline.

“I knew nobody was going to catch me,” Fisher said. “I saw some guys running with me, but I was like, ‘Nah, y’all ain’t going to ruin this one.’”

Sager, who grew up blocking for Fisher since the fourth grade, watched his teammate sprinting down the sideline.

“We know that if we stay with our blocks for the whole time, something is bound to happen when we have the best running back in the state in the backfield,” Sager said. “You know that he’s just doing him.”

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The Mavericks could only marvel at what they’d just seen.

“I was guarding two gaps, and I would have my lane, and I would go to get him, and he’d go for 90,” said senior defensive tackle Kevin Cassidy. “He’s a great runner, super shifty, hard to tackle. I have nothing but respect for how he plays. I hope he plays in college, and I hope to get to play against him in the future.”

The 96-yard burst gave Westview a 12-7 lead and Fisher the record. It wasn’t until halftime that the PA announcer acknowledged the achievement, with Atkinson and Fisher exchanging a hug.

He finished the night with 259 yards (his fourth-highest single-game total) on 28 carries and four touchdowns, including the tying score with 24 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the go-ahead score on a 25-yard run in the second overtime period to push his career total to 2,648 yards.

The Wildcats went for two after his overtime score. Everyone knew who would get the ball. Fisher took a toss sweep left and cut toward the goal line. The Mavericks swarmed him, tripping him up inches short.

“I felt like I was in, personally, but the ref didn’t call me in,” Fisher said. “But I’m going to look at that play on film and find out what I can do better so I can get in there undoubtedly.”

Mountainside spoiled the party on its possession in the second overtime, taking a 31-30 victory that dropped the Wildcats to 1-4 this season.

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“I wish we could have celebrated that tonight,” Atkinson said. 

After the game, Mavericks coach John Mannion sought out Fisher as he exited the field.

“Hey man, you made some plays tonight,” Mannion said, shaking Fisher’s hand. “Congratulations. Great game. Good luck the rest of the way. That’s a hell of a job.”

Later, Mannion said he felt “super grateful” that his team escaped another Fisher outburst with a victory.

“He’s phenomenal,” Mannion said. “He’s one of the top guys out there, if not the best in the state. Any time he has an opening, he can go … that’s kind of in the back of your mind all the time.”

***

Atkinson first saw Fisher play in the sixth grade, and even then, he knew he had someone special coming through the pipeline.

“I always knew he was going to be a great one,” Atkinson said. “But what really impressed me is his drive to succeed and his attention to detail with preparation. His natural talent is special, but I think his mindset is what has separated him into a D-1 football player and the success he has achieved.”

Atkinson is convinced Fisher can play at the Power 5 level and has told everyone who has contacted him, including college recruiters.

“The numbers don’t lie,” Atkinson said. “He is a playmaker.” 

Others aren’t so sure. Fisher sports seven Division I offers, including all three service academies, but none from the big-time programs you’d think would drool over a back of his caliber.

Count Brandon Huffman, the national recruiting editor for 247Sports, among those mystified by the lack of offers Fisher has elicited. He noted Fisher’s size (he’s listed at 5-foot-8, 175 pounds) as a factor but believes that as signing day approaches, schools from the Mountain West Conference might make a late push.

“All he does is rack up numbers,” said Huffman, who has Fisher at No. 8 on 247Sports’ rankings of the state’s class of 2023 recruits. “I think it’s the size-and-speed combo more than anything — does he have that elite top-end speed? I think he does — all he does is run away from people.

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“But then, he’s not the biggest back in the region, so does he have that elite breakaway speed for a guy of his size? On film, he flashes it. But for whatever reason, coaches have been reticent to pull the trigger.”

Atkinson added, “You can look at a guy’s size on paper, but you can’t measure his heart, passion, coachability, loyalty and work ethic.”

Fisher declined to name who’s in the lead among the schools pursuing him, but he’s hopeful that as the records fall and the highlight-reel plays draw attention, bigger-name schools will join the mix.

“I’m content with what I have now because I’ve built a great relationship with those coaches,” Fisher said. “But at the same time, we’re just trying to weigh all the options and see what else arises.”

***

Fisher’s big season last fall was part of a breakthrough season for a Westview program that had struggled for several years.

The Wildcats won two games in each of the previous four seasons, but in one season, they exceeded that total, going 9-2 and earning their first playoff win since 2016 before falling to 6A runner-up Tualatin in the second round.

Fisher was surrounded by Division I talents such as wide receiver Darrius Clemons, running back Aaron Jones and quarterback Sam Leavitt.

Clemons and Jones graduated, off to the University of Michigan and the Naval Academy, respectively. Leavitt left in the offseason, transferring to West Linn for his senior season.

That left Fisher bearing a lot of weight on his shoulders. He still talks regularly with Clemons, who passed along a message.

“He told me, ‘You’re the guy now. You’re going to have to make more plays,’” Fisher said. “But I don’t feel like there’s any more pressure from the outside because I feel like I’ve always expected myself to make plays, to be the guy on the team.

“So, you know, me coming out here in my senior year, and everybody focusing on me, I feel like it opens a lot of other opportunities for other guys to make plays.” 

It’s that humility and concern for his teammates that endears him to guys like Sager, a Division I prospect himself who said point-blank, “I would rather not block for anyone else. He’s the guy I want to block for. I have all my faith in him.” 

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“He is the most respected player by his teammates and coaches for the way he is able to handle adversity, his love for his teammates and coaches, and the ability to be accountable for every part of the game,” Atkinson said. “He just does not miss a beat in anything he does. He does the small things it takes to be successful every day and every year consistently.”

***

On Fisher’s eye black, he has two things printed in silver ink.

Below his right eye, a small cross.

Below the left, a number: 0.09%.

The first honors his faith. The second references a number he found while doing research his freshman season — the percentage of high school players who make it to the pros.

“So, it’s always just a reminder for me,” he said. “It’s just a reminder that if you want to make it to that level, which has always been my dream, you have to be able to make the plays that less than 1% of people on this planet can make.”