2014 Shore Sports Network Jersey Mike’s Defensive Player of the Year: Jamie Gordinier
Before Jamie Gordinier gets set to play linebacker at the University of Miami next year, he can leave knowing he and his Red Bank Catholic teammates took care of the last piece of unfinished business during their careers.
Gordinier, a two-time, first-team All-Shore selection by Shore Sports Network, capped his brilliant three-year varsity career by helping the Caseys bring home their first NJSIAA title since 1976 with 10 tackles, a forced fumble and a tackle for a loss in a 45-20 rout of Delbarton in the Non-Public Group III championship game. One of the state’s top linebackers, Gordinier finished the season with 117 tackles despite teams often scheming against him and running to the other side of the field and also had seven tackles for a loss and 13 quarterback pressures.
“We debated in the offseason about whether we would play him at defensive end or linebacker because he’s so versatile, but we wanted him involved in as many plays as possible so we stayed with him at linebacker,’’ said RBC head coach Jim Portela. “The great thing about Jamie is that he has no ego at all. He’s one of the guys, and he works so hard. He’s always the last guy out in the weight room and he never complains about injuries and always plays hard in practice. He set a good example for our younger kids.”
Gordinier had 11 tackles, including one for a loss, in a 44-14 win over three-time defending Non-Public Group III champion St. Joseph’s-Montvale in the playoff semifinals and had 13 tackles in a 33-27 overtime loss to No. 1 Jackson Memorial in the Caseys’ lone defeat. He also had 15 tackles in a win over Long Branch as the Caseys slowed down SSN Offensive Player of the Year Dahmiere Willis, who went on to rush for a Shore Conference-record 2,589 yards. The mere presence of the 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior affected the way opposing teams played.
“If teams were not going to block the backside linebacker, Jamie is fast and long enough that he’s going to run you down, so teams would take somebody who would normally double an inside guy and have him to account for Jamie,'' Portela said. "He also has such long arms that he reroutes receivers because he can knock off the timing of their routes with his arms.”
Gordinier, who also played on offense at tight end, was a leader as a senior for a team that broke in several new starters in its front seven. The Caseys’ defense allowed only 9.3 points per game against a schedule that included Central Jersey Group IV champion Jackson Memorial, Central Jersey Group V champion Manalapan, state power St. Joe’s-Montvale, state finalist Delbarton, state semifinalists Long Branch, Ocean and Neptune, and playoff qualifier Bishop Eustace.
“We had two new starting linebackers this season in Nick LaGrippo and Dylan Murphy, and (Gordinier) was a calming presence to them early in the year where he would pull them aside and let them know, ‘’This is what we’ve got to check here and check there,’’’ Portela said. “We had some other Defensive Players of the Year during my time here, and Jamie is right in that mold.”
It all ended with RBC’s first championship in 38 years, and Gordinier was clearly an important part of it.
“It’s everything I thought of and more,” he said after the Delbarton win. “It feels great to prove to the state we can win a state championship. We definitely stamped it. Beating St. Joe’s (in the semifinals) was a great win, but our goal was to win a state championship and that’s what we did.”
After choosing Miami from among 20 FBS offers across the ACC and Big Ten, Gordinier will continue his career under Hurricanes’ head coach Al Golden, who is a Red Bank Catholic graduate.