By: Logan Newman, USA TODAY High School Sports | October 17, 2018
A week after Christmas during fifth grade, Jordan Clark transferred to a new school.
His dad, Ryan Clark, was in the NFL, so he spent half his year in Louisiana and half in Pittsburgh.
One of the first people he met at his new school was Bryton Constantin.
“The school we used to go to, there were very few African American kids there,” Constantin said. “Me going up to him and showing him that I accepted him without even knowing who he was, I know that it meant a lot to him.”
Seven years later, the two University Lab High School (Baton Rouge, La.) students are preparing to play in the Under Armour All-American game together. They received their jerseys on Wednesday.
“It’s a dream come true,” Clark said. “It really is to see all of your hard work kind of come to fruition and to play in a game that you’ve dreamed about playing in since it started. Watching a lot of the legends pass through there, and now to be a part of it is awesome.”
They’ve come a long way since messing around on the field as kids and watching Louisiana native Landon Collins take part in the 2012 Under Armour game.
In the first week they ever played football together, Constantin accidentally broke a bracket on Clark’s braces; a short time later, Clark tripped Constantin in PE class and fractured his foot.
“We were even,” Constantin said with a laugh. “It’s a love-hate relationship.”
After so many years on the field together, they’ve learned each others’ tendencies.
“If I see he’s about to blitz, I’ll be like super-ultra aggressive at the line, because I know there’s nobody that can block him,” Clark said. “Quarterback’s not going to have much time to get the ball out.”
It looks like this will be the final time the two play together. Clark, a cornerback, committed to Arizona State University on Tuesday while Constantin, an outside linebacker, chose Clemson in April.
The two had discussed colleges. Several players on the high school team did, in fact.
“(We) spent plenty of conversations where it was kind of a joking matter, where like, ‘Wow, what if we really all go to the same school? How fast would we win a National Championship?'” Constantin said. “Nobody was really serious.”
It was a joke, but University Lab, coming off its Div. II state championship last season, is that good. The team is currently 7-0 and No. 14 on USA TODAY High School Sports’ Super 25.
Constantin is a four-star athlete who said he stands at 6-foot-3. According to 247 Sports, he finished last season with 104 tackles, 23 for loss, and six sacks. He also had a pick-six.
He is ESPN’s No. 4 player at his position and the tenth-best player in Louisiana.
Clark is the No. 23 cornerback in the nation and the No. 15 player in the state, per ESPN.
Before the longtime friends part for their respective schools across the nation, they’ll have one more big game together.
“Every time we see each other on the field, it’s just like we’ve been doing it since recess back in fifth grade,” Constantin said. “It just feels natural. I wish we were going to the same college, but I know everything’s going to play out perfect.”
The Under Armour All-America Game is scheduled for Jan. 3 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. and will be televised live on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. EST.