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Payton Jordahl commits to play football for the Gophers

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FARGO – When Payton Jordahl was a freshman at football practice for Perham (Minn.) High School he decided to try long snapping just for fun. It was good enough to get him a permanent spot on varsity and now it’s gotten him his dream.

Sunday, the senior verbally committed to the University of Minnesota, where he figures to play long snapper.

“It just started with me grabbing a football and snapping it in practice,” Jordahl said. “I can’t stress enough how it’s all the hours in the weight room and film room and every little detail. I’m just sitting here today, thinking, ‘Wow. I made it.’ ”

Jordahl said his decision came down to the University of Minnesota, the University of North Dakota and the University of South Dakota. It was Gophers head coach Jerry Kill who made the difference.

“It’s a place where I will, no doubt in my mind, get a great education,” Jordahl said. “Another thing I grew attached to was the mentality and personality of coach Kill and every single one of the members on their staff. They are great coaches and it shows with the quick turnaround. He makes sure that those athletes are students first.”

Jordahl had offers from North Dakota State and Minnesota State Moorhead. According to Jordahl, NDSU held up the offer he was given in July, despite head coach Craig Bohl leaving for the University of Wyoming.

“NDSU stayed true to that even with the new staff,” Jordahl said. “It was one of those things, I had to decide between schools, and they were on my longer list. Really respect the school over there.”

As for MSUM, Jordahl couldn’t pass up the allure of D-I football.

“I see good things from that program coming,” Jordahl said. “It was really hard for me to pass up a chance to play Division I football. I had to take a leap of faith and go after my dream.”

Besides long snapping for Perham, Jordahl also played inside linebacker and fullback. He rushed for 1,605 yards and 19 touchdowns, while also making 265 tackles – 149 solo – with seven pass deflections, four forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and two interceptions in 39 games in his Perham career. According to Jordahl, Kill said the book isn’t closed on him playing another position. With Gophers long snapper Jake Filkins graduating, Jordahl could be seeing the field right away, but that doesn’t mean it will turn out to be his only position.

“(Kill) said … they expect me to be the long snapper and if I do well in camp, I’ll be doing that next year,” Jordahl said. “He said the window is not going to be closed for me to start working at another position. Down the road, if I can work out at fullback or linebacker, I’ll do that. Whatever I have to do to help the team.”

It all started with Jordahl just picking up a ball in practice and snapping it.

“That’s one of those positions that you really want to go unnoticed,” Perham coach and Payton’s dad, Mike Jordahl, said. “We take our special teams seriously. It’s crazy thinking that it is going to get him to college.”

Long snapping has gotten Payton Jordahl this far. It may not stop with the Gophers.

“A lot of coaches told me the NFL isn’t out of a possibility,” Payton Jordahl said. “In high school, in all honesty, I didn’t get a lot of time to practice long snapping, playing other positions. I’m really excited to see if I can even get better at it because it will be that one thing I get to focus on.”

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