JORDAN MICHAEL MILLS
Louisiana Tech University Bulldogs
Assumption High School
Despite a banner season by their right offensive tackle and the Bulldogs’ offensive unit, Louisiana Tech was “left at home” when the 2012 college bowl season began. After compiling a very impressive 9-3 record behind a strong offensive unit that led the nation in both total yardage (6,935; 577.92 ppg) and scoring (618; 51.50 ppg) and ranked third in passing (4,209 yards; 350.75 ypg), Tech still was left out in the cold by the NCAA and bowl selectors.
Mills did an outstanding job protecting the pocket, as quarterback Colby Cameron was able to direct a squad that was the only team in the country to score 51 or more points in eight games during the season. More than a handful of teams with .500 records or close to that mark enjoyed playing in one of the 35 bowl games held after the 2012 regular season.
That meant that 70 of the 120 colleges competing at the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision level continued to play in December and January while the Louisiana Tech team “closed shop” after their November 24th heartbreaking loss to San Jose State. Tech finished 2012 with the 25th-best record in the FBS and second-best within the Western Athletic Conference.
The Bulldogs’ athletic director, Bruce Van De Velde, told The Associated Press that Independence Bowl organizers offered a spot in their game, but the Bulldogs had other possible options still available to them. Van De Velde said he asked the Independence Bowl for more time to make a decision, but was told by game organizers that they couldn’t wait. ”Nobody turned a bowl bid down,” he said. ”We asked for more time to vet two other opportunities that we had that we felt good about.”
While several of the Bulldogs received all-star invitations to close out their college careers playing with the elite prospects in the 2013 draft class, Mills thought he was going to have to sit in front of the television cheering for those Bulldogs when he was originally bypassed by the all-star game selectors.
The 2013 Senior Bowl participants convened in Mobile on a Sunday in mid-January, with Mills sitting at home. Two days later, he received the call he longed for, as the bowl practices led to several early practice injuries. Mills was asked to come to Mobile as an injury replacement. No one could imagine that this late arrival would be able to impress NFL team decision makers with just two days left in practice.
They were wrong, for Mills had one goal in mind – exact payback for the slight handed down to his team, and the player himself. Whether the youngster even knows who Rodney Dangerfield is, they had one thing in common, Dangerfield’s catchphrase, “I don’t get no respect!”
By the time Mills had concluded his shortened practice sessions under the watchful eyes of coaches and scouts, the right tackle heard whispers turn to cheers, curious looks turned to smiles, those shaking their heads at first, left nodding those same noggins.
Mills is a big player with an even bigger smile, but in Mobile, he had to perform with a “take no prisoners” attitude. His future career, his livelihood was on the line and he was determined to make this opportunity work. Even though he was receiving a “better-late-than-never” invitation to the Senior Bowl, he was prepared to dominate.
Mills practiced for the first time on Tuesday, becoming the third Louisiana Tech player on the team, along with punter Ryan Allen and wide receiver Quinton Patton. As soon as he stepped on the practice field, he made his presence known.
During drills matching the offensive and defensive linemen, Mills and Louisiana State defensive end Lavar Edwards locked up, and even though the coaches kept yelling, “Ho, ho, ho” until it sounded like a Santa Claus convention in the north end zone at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, a coach had to separate the two players, each holding firmly to the jersey of the other up around the shoulder pads.
“Today was a tough practice,” said Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz, who was directing the South squad. “The last couple of days in full pads, the offensive linemen, the defensive linemen got after it. It got physical today.” In 11-on-11 drills, Mills and Florida State defensive tackle Everett Dawkins got tied up well out of the play – a curl-in from quarterback E.J. Manuel to wide receiver Cobi Hamilton. Again, coaches intervened. This time, Mills gave Dawkins a good shove to his tinted face-shield as they separated.
“This is the world’s greatest sport,” Mills said. “It started with tough guys like Mike Ditka, Mean Joe Greene, Lawrence Taylor. I’ve watched their old games on NFL Network. They played the game with reckless abandon. You can’t let nobody push you around. If they’re going to be nasty, you’ve got to be even nastier.
“I can get with the nastiest. I can be the nastiest. It comes with the territory. If you want to get dirty and grimy with me, I’m going to get even dirtier and grimier. You’ve got to have that edge.” In addition to mixing it up with his teammates, Mills did his best to overcomeg his late start. “You get thrown in with the lions,” Mills said. “You’ve got to work with what you have. Talking to the other offensive linemen and watching the plays and studying the playbook, I’m adapting quickly to everything that’s going on.”
Mills who hails from Napoleonville, Louisiana, is a student of history, Louisiana Tech history. One look at the players the school has produced for the National Football League and one name truly stands out – the greatest Bulldog blocker ever – former New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame offensive tackle, Willie Roaf.
“The person I grew up watching from my hometown team is New Orleans’ Willie Roaf,” Mills said. “And he also played for Louisiana Tech. Watching him when I was little, seeing how he played the game. When I got to Tech, my coach still put some film up on him of when he played for Tech so we could see he was one of the greatest players ever to play in the NFL. To watch the feet he had, the strength he had, it motivated him to be just like him.”
The offensive tackle has tremendous power in his upper and lower body, along with solid overall muscle development. He has average arm length, thick hips, bubble, thighs and calves. He also possesses a wide chest, broad shoulders and a frame that can add more bulk.
Mills has decent foot quickness, fluid change of direction agility and balance and the flexibility needed to anchor. He is a good knee bender with the short area burst to gain position and is smooth in his kick slide. He plays on his feet, making good body adjustments on the move, especially when mirroring the defender when working in space.
Mills stays low in his pads, redirects smoothly and is able to gain position at the reach point. In running situations, he shows suddenness getting out front on pulls and traps.
For a player his size, he appears to be quite nimble sliding and adjusting to movement. He is quick to seal and does a good job of getting to the second level to make contact.
The Bulldogs blocker has the balance and agility to work through traffic. He does a very good job of getting his hands into position to keep defenders off his body and shows the ability create movement off the football. He is explosive with his lower body, and utilizes his impressive strength to get a good surge off the snap. He knows how to use his hand punch and upper body power to hold the lanes, lock on and steer his man away from the play.
Mills is quick to wall off and screen, flashing consistent drive ability to finish. He is fluid moving his feet and places his hands into the defender’s chest with urgency to gain position. Despite his massive frame, he plays at a good pad level. As a trap blocker, he comes out with good quickness on the pull, making every effort to make contact and follow through with his blocks. He gets down the line of scrimmage smoothly and makes quick adjustments working in space.
In pass protection, Mills shows a strong base, with the kick slide agility to recover. His ability to anchor allows him to maintain body control when redirecting. He has good hand usage, solid feet to slide and reach the set point and generally plays with above average field awareness. He is consistent in staying up on his feet and the thing you notice about him is his ability to make the cut-off block and adjust in space. He takes good angles that allow him to reach the second level.
The cousin of Green Bay Packers standout cornerback, Tramon Williams, Mills lettered four times on the gridiron at Assumption High School. He was a two-time All-District 8-5A selection and received All-State honorable as a senior while adding All-Region and All-Tri-Parish accolades from the Thibodaux Daily Comet.
Mills was ranked as a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, as that recruiting service regarded him as the 24th-best player in the state of Louisiana and the 53rd-best offensive tackle in the country. He also received a three-star recruit mark and was ranked as the 84th– best offensive tackle in the country by Scout.com. In addition to football, he also lettered in basketball for three years and threw the shot put on the track team for three years, helping to lead the track team to regionals as a junior.
Mills followed his cousin to Louisiana Tech, where he would see action in seven games as a true freshman, starting the final five contests at left offensive guard. He added over twenty pounds to his frame during the offseason and reported to 2010 fall camp as a 325-pounder, but because of the seniors occupying all of the spots on the offensive line, the coaching staff planned to red-shirt him.
However, when starting right tackle Cudahy Harmon suffered a season-ending injury, Mills was activated and played in five games, starting four late season contests. He entered the 2011 season as the Bulldogs’ starting right tackle and dominated in the trenches for Tech’s running game, producing eleven touchdown-resulting blocks and 81 knockdowns.
What happened after his junior season would spark Mills into having a banner senior season. At Louisiana Tech’s athletic banquet, he got to shake hands with his hero – Willie Roaf. Roaf, who played at Louisiana Tech before becoming a Pro Football Hall-of-Fame left tackle with the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs, had a brief conversation with Mills, who said just meeting the former Bulldogs standout was inspiring.
“We talked and that was a great experience,” said Mills. “It is special that arguably the greatest NFL offensive tackle played at the school that I play at. Just to see where he came from and how he did it, it was a humbling experience.” Humble is what best describes Mills as a player and person at Louisiana Tech.
Even though he was recruited by bigger schools, Mills signed with Louisiana Tech because Ruston had a small-town feel similar to his hometown of Napoleonville. Even though Louisiana Tech is several hours away from home, Mills said he quickly adjusted to his new surroundings.
“At first. I was like I’ll be far away from home. I had been other places, but always came home. Being from (Napoleonville), everyone knows you, and it is a close-knit community, but Ruston is the same way,” Mills said.
“When I got here, the players that were here, and the ones that came in with me, we were all like brothers. People actually knew my name and the little kids would ask me for autographs. That caught me by surprise. The adjustment was good, and I feel like I never left home.”
The 2012 season might not have ended with Mills playing in a bowl game, but he earned All-American recognition and was an All-Western Athletic Conference first-team choice. With the senior manning the right tackle position, the front wall was one of the most dominant in the college ranks, leading the league and ranking seventh in the nation for fewest sacks allowed (ten). The tackle registered 118 knockdowns and 21 touchdown-resulting blocks for a unit that led the nation in total yards (6,935) and scoring (51.5 ppg).
Mills appeared in 37 games at Louisiana Tech, starting 34 contests – 29 at right offensive tackle and five at left guard…In two full seasons starting at right tackle (2011-12), he combined for 199 knockdowns and 32 touchdown-resulting blocks…Also recorded three tackles (2 solos) during his Bulldogs career.
Mills received All-American third-team honors from The NFL Draft Report, as that scouting information service also named him WAC Offensive Lineman of the Year…Was named All-Western Athletic Conference first-team by the league’s coaches…Started all twelve games at right offensive tackle, as he led a dominating front wall that allowed the fewest sacks in the conference and seventh-lowest in the major college ranks (ten for minus 55 yards), as Mills led the league’s linemen with a career-high 118 knockdowns…His 21 touchdown-resulting blocks were the most since Willie Roaf recorded 24 in 1991…Paved the way for a rushing attack that led the WAC and finished 17th in the nation with an average of 227.17 yards per game, as the Tech ball carriers scored 47 times…His strong blocking also aided aN offensive unit that led the nation in both total yardage (6,935; 577.92 ppg) and scoring (618; 51.50 ppg) and ranked third in passing (4,209 yards; 350.75 ypg)…The Bulldogs used their front wall to rush for at least two touchdowns in every game and had at least four scoring runs in four of those contests…The offense gained at least 500 yards in ten games, going over the 600-yard level six times…In the season opener, Mills produced twelve knockdowns and two touchdown-resulting blocks, as his kick-out block on defensive tackle Dominic Miller opened a rush lane used by freshman tailback Tevon King for his first career touchdown run from thirteen yards away from the end zone, as Tech tallied 598 yards in total offense while scoring five times on the ground…Credited with fifteen knockdowns and three touchdown-resulting blocks, as the Bulldogs piled up 306 yards with six scores rushing and 622 total yards vs. Nevada-Las Vegas…Three more touchdown-resulting blocks and eighteen knockdowns by Mills came in a 70-28 rout of Idaho, as Mills brought the crowd to its feet when he steamrolled linebacker Homer Mauga in the second level to spring tailback Kenneth Dixon for a 20-yard scoring scamper, as the offense exploded for 839 yards, 408 yards and eight touchdowns coming from their running corps…Mills added fifteen knockdowns and three more touchdown-resulting blocks, as his scramble block drove nose guard Blake McColloch into the ground, allowing Dixon to take the handoff and follow his right tackle one yard for a touchdown in a 62-55 decision over Texas State, as the Bulldogs scored six times rushing and gained 627 total yards.
Mills was named All-Western Athletic Conference first-team by The NFL Draft Report in his first season as a full-time starter…Lined up with the first unit at right tackle for all thirteen games, producing eleven touchdown-resulting blocks and 81 knockdowns for an offense that averaged 394.62 yards per game…The ground attack ran for 1,291 of its 1,901 yards over the right side of the line and posted 21 touchdown runs…The offensive line allowed 25 sacks, but only one was charged to Mills.
Originally, the staff planned to red-shirt Mills, but when a season-ending knee injury to teammate Cudahy Harmon forced Tech to pull the redshirt off him, the sophomore appeared in five games, starting at right tackle vs. Fresno State, New Mexico State, San Jose State and Nevada…Recorded one solo tackle in each of the Fresno State and San Jose State contests and posted four touchdown-resulting blocks and 29 knockdowns for a front wall that allowed just seventeen sacks…Helped the team average 389.83 yards per game, including 170.92 yards on the ground.
The true freshman saw action in seven games, starting at left guard in the last five…His first career start came at Idaho, followed by playing with the first unit vs. Boise State, Louisiana State, Fresno State and San Jose State.
No major injuries reported.
5.37 in the 40-yard dash…1.84 10-yard dash…3.01 20-yard dash…4.88 20-yard shuttle…
8.10 three-cone drill…28 ½-inch vertical jump…8’5” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times…34-inch arm length…9 ¾-inch hands…77 ½-inch wingspan.
Mills attended Assumption (Napoleonville, La.) High School, lettering four times in football for head coach Shawn Preston…Ranked as a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, as that recruiting service regarded him as the 24th-best player in the state of Louisiana and the 53rd-best offensive tackle in the country…Received a three-star recruit mark and was ranked as the 84th– best offensive tackle in the country by Scout.com…In addition to football, he also lettered in basketball for three years and threw the shot put on the track team for three years, helping to lead the track team to regionals as a junior.
General Studies major…Cousin, Tramon Williams, was a standout cornerback at Louisiana Tech (2003-05), where the 2005 All-Western Athletic Conference selection led the team in interceptions as a junior and senior. He is presently a Pro Bowl cornerback for the Green Bay Packers…Son of Margaret and O’Neal Mills…Born Jordan Michael Mills on 12/24/90 in
Thibodaux, Louisiana…Resides in Napoleonville, Louisiana.
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