The Paper file photo by Lori Poteet 
Crawfordsville graduate Jordan Boykin played for the Chicago Eagles, a professional indoor football team, in the 2016 spring season.
The Paper file photo by Lori Poteet
Crawfordsville graduate Jordan Boykin played for the Chicago Eagles, a professional indoor football team, in the 2016 spring season.

Jordan Boykin leapt through the air as the football spiraled towards him.

The Chicago Eagles had not won a game yet and had been down most of the game against Bloomington Edge on March 26. Quarterback Anthony Ionatti hauled one to Boykin for the go-ahead touchdown with under 30 second left.

Bloomington Edge was running a prevent defense against the Eagles and Boykin had ran a 10-yard curl the play before. The next play was when he made the break.

“I did a lazy breakdown to get DB to jump,” Boykin said. “He bit, I took off, and the QB put it up there. I was able to jump up across the safety and make the catch.”

This was a memorable moment for Boykin who played his first season as a Chicago Eagle this past spring season. The Eagles are a professional indoor football team based out of the UIC Pavilion on the campus of University of Illinois-Chicago. Their season starts in February and ends in June.

The 2016 season was their first season as a franchise and Boykin dominated the stats books. But he worked hard to get to where he is, and it all started at Crawfordsville High School.

Boykin went out for football his sophomore through senior year of high school. He played soccer his freshman year, followed by basketball and track. The latter two sports stayed but he switched to football his sophomore year to give it a shot.

Former Crawfordsville head coach Rex Ryker explained what it took for Boykin to spark his football career.

“All of us coaches saw potential in Jordan but since football was not initially his primary sport, I just wanted to see him on the field,” Ryker said. “Lucky for our team, his passion for football grew immensely.”

Boykin’s mother, Sarah Bennington, was a big part of his growth, Ryker added.

“Jordan worked as hard as any athlete or student I ever worked with, but his mom worked as hard or harder to ensure he had a chance,” Ryker said.

Boykin played a little bit everywhere at Crawfordsville, which boded well for his professional career, but his main spots were wide receiver and defensive end.

“He matured as a young man that wanted to be a great athlete to a young man that was relentless in his efforts to develop into a great athlete,” Ryker continued. “By his junior year he always stayed after practice, worked on his craft and lived in the weight room year round.”

Boykin said the main thing he learned at Crawfordsville was confidence.

“I was able to bring that confidence and work ethic into college, playing against bigger schools and bigger people and better teams,” he said. “I’ve never had that intimidation factor that, ‘Hey, you’re big, I don’t think I can play you.’ At Crawfordsville, we were smaller than everybody so that never bothered me . . . That’s something I think I was always able to carry with me.”

Basketball was a main contender in his college decision but he went where the interest was.

“I had a stack of mail from football schools and only two or three for basketball,” Boykin said. “I really enjoyed both sports so I let that be the deciding factor instead of picking one.”

According to Ryker, his basketball talent did not go un-used.

“I believe his multi-sport involvement has allowed him to extend his athletic career,” Ryker said.

And it has extended to this day. From the University of Dayton, to the Timbo T-Rex in Brazil, to the Marion Blue Racers in Ohio, and now to the Chicago Eagles.

After he graduated from Crawfordsville, he played wide receiver for UD until 2012 and switched to quarterback for his two seasons in Brazil.

After the first season, he had signed with the Kentucky Xtreme based out of Louisville but the team folded halfway through the season so Boykin headed back to Brazil for a second season. He went to the Marion Blue Racers in 2015, still at the quarterback position.

Boykin (6’3”, 220) tried out for the Eagles last June after the Blue Racers season finished and got a call back to come to the team camp in February of this year. Chicago was a dream come true for him.

“It was a really good feeling, especially to go up to Chicago,” Boykin said of his offer to the Eagles. “It was the biggest step in the right direction so far.”

The Eagles were in their first season this year and Boykin was one of the first wave of recruits.

“Michael Jordan was my idol growing up, loved his work ethic and everything he did to be a true champion,” Boykin said. “He has influenced a lot of what I’ve become throughout my life. So to go up to Chicago and be able to play in the same city at that time was a dream come true.”

After February was when Boykin’s versatility as a football player came into the picture yet again.

He trained at quarterback for three years and even was recruited to the Eagles to play quarterback; ironically enough with two fellow Dayton teammates as wide receivers. However, those two along with another receiver were injured and Boykin was recalled to his original spot.

“Jordan was a diverse athlete and he could play our most physically demanding positions on defense and the most agile special team positions,” Ryker said of Boykin in high school.

This versatility stayed with him through his professional experience. He actually started as a linebacker in the first game of the season because of shortage there, then went to wide receiver.

“It’s kind of funny playing the different positions because football is a game itself but each position is a game in itself,” Boykin said. “I spent all that time the past three years focusing on quarterback with the footwork and all the little things that go into that position then to go back to receiver is a blast from the past. I wasn’t fresh with everything but all the knowledge and all the muscle memory was still there to really get back into that game.”

The memory kicked in quickly – Boykin went on to accumulate the second highest receiving yards on the team with 420 yards in the 2016 season. He also had the most touchdown receptions (11) and the highest yard average per game (46.7).

He scored a touchdown in every game he played in.

“Obviously it’s fun to throw a touchdown but to be the one jumping over somebody and catching the touchdown – it’s fun to win that competition,” he said.

Just like his touchdown catch against Bloomington Edge, Boykin made catches left and right with a total of 30 catches throughout nine games.

He plans to return to the Eagles if no other opportunities arise. Boykin said his ultimate goal is the NFL.

“That’s been my goal since day one, that’s what I’m working for and I’m not going to stop until I get there,” he said.