Honor a ‘surprise’ for Gordon
by Chris Byess
cbyess@cherokeetribune.com
January 05, 2013 01:33 AM | 1469 views | 1 1 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
11-02-12 Etowah at Walton 06 --  Walton's DJ Smith (21) runs for yardage against the Etowah Eagles at Raider Valley as Etowah's Keith Gordon (52) follows the play.  SPECIAL/CECIL COPELAND.
11-02-12 Etowah at Walton 06 -- Walton's DJ Smith (21) runs for yardage against the Etowah Eagles at Raider Valley as Etowah's Keith Gordon (52) follows the play. SPECIAL/CECIL COPELAND.
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Etowah linebacker Keith Gordon has always liked to hit people.

As a two-time winner of Etowah’s “Hit Stick” award this past season — given out to the defensive player who made the best hit of the game — the junior’s aggressive style of play has helped him to be noticed by more than just his peers.

Soon after Thanksgiving, Gordon received an email from Schuman’s National Underclassmen, notifying him that he had been nominated to be a participant in the National Underclassmen All-American game.

About two weeks later, Gordon was told he had made the team and would be playing against some of the top underclassmen from across the United States on Dec. 22 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

“I was very surprised (when I was nominated),” Gordon said, who still has no idea how he was picked for the team. “But I was excited — I was very excited. I just couldn’t wait.”

Gordon found himself performing in front of a set of college scouts that included one from his favorite team, South Carolina. His performance didn’t disappoint, as he finished the game with 10 tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery for the South team.

“Without a doubt, it makes me work harder when I know that someone important is watching,” Gordon said.

Gordon was even highlighted on the NUC’s website for his performance in the final practice before the game.

The writer said Gordon was “quick off the ball, making it hard for offensive linemen to get out of their stance and get a piece of him.” The player was also praised for an “ability to run sideline-to-sideline that caught running backs by surprise.”

Gordon’s hard-hitting ability was mentioned as well.

“He’s a hitter,” Etowah coach Dave Svehla said of Gordon, who totaled 62 tackles for the Eagles in 2012. “I’ve only known him since March, but where he stands out is that he is a physical football player. He is the kind of player that can get the team excited with his hits.”

Svehla praised Gordon’s willingness to find the action on the field, no matter who it may be against.

“I’ve always said that football isn’t about toughness. It’s about courage,” Svehla said. “It’s about having the guts to put your nose in there and make a play, and that is what (Gordon) is willing to do. He’s very valuable to our team.”

Already 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds at 16 years old, Gordon hopes his game will continue to develop to the point that he is able to play at the college level.

“I know that I have heights that I haven’t even reached yet,” Gordon said. “Hopefully, by next summer, I will have reached those heights.”

If he does, Gordon could find himself playing in a few more All-American games.
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LCBaker
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January 08, 2013
What a fantastic story of determination and focus. I hope this young man fulfills his dream to play college ball. Well done, Keith Gordon!
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