Jordan Salima leads Truman offense with competitive flare

There’s no stopping sophomore running back Jordan Salima. He’s no longer the freshman secret weapon — in fact, his movements are studied across football film rooms in the GLVC. Despite a breakout freshman year — turning him into a focal point for defenses across the conference — Salima shows no sign of slowing down.

Last season, Salima was named second team All-GLVC, finishing his season with 202 carries for 696 yards and 32 receptions for 233 yards, scoring seven touchdowns. The GLVC expected what would be in store for the young running back for his next three years, but Salima wasn’t done surprising them.

Last Saturday, Salima led the Bulldog offense to a 41-14 victory against Lincoln University, with a career-high 147 yards on 16 carries. Salima ran through the Blue Tiger defense to average 9.2 yards per carry en route to his three touchdowns of the day.

Offensive coordinator Jason Killday said Salima has been a blessing so far in his time at Truman. Killday said Salima’s competitive drive and confidence are huge contributors to his individual success.

“He is a tremendous competitor,” Killday said. “He competes everyday in practice and in games, and his goal and mindset has always been to try to be the best player on the field. He has a lot of personal pride in being a great competitor that allows him to handle everything we ask him to do because he doesn’t want to let himself down, and he wants to make sure he does everything to the best of his ability.”

After four games this season, Salima leads the rushing game with 74 carries for 348 yards and comes in second in receiving with 12 catches for 120 yards. He leads the team with six touchdowns and has completed his versatile strike by even throwing a 31-yard touchdown pass.

Killday said Salima had to play quarterback temporarily in high school when his team’s main quarterback suffered an injury. Because of this, a formation called a wildcat package — when the ball is snapped to the running back — was put into the playbook in fall camp. Killday said before he even got to his office that day, Salima sent him film from high school and said if he needed him to throw, his arm was already loose. Sure enough, when Killday made the call on gameday, Salima was able to execute the play for the team.

Killday said Salima’s work ethic and motivation makes him versatile and allows him to find success. Killday said from a coaching standpoint, it is great to have a player you don’t have to worry about and know he will be mentally prepared every gameday.

“I think the biggest thing for him is the way he approaches every day in practice,” Killday said. “He has a goal in mind every day he wants to accomplish — whether it’s simple footwork or making sure he has a correct read — whereas his freshman year, he was just playing and wasn’t quite focused on the details of what he had to do. Now he is really starting to hone in on the details of each play.

Last year, Salima said he had a good season, but he said it could have been better. After exit meetings with coaches put perspective on his freshman season, Salima said he was pushed to strive for more success and pointed out key points of improvement in his game. Salima said he has focused on his nutrition and personal player development.

“I’ve been trying to work on my craft, so that also goes with knowing what everyone is going to do, so it’ll make my job and their job easier,” Salima said. “Also, [I’m] watching my nutrition because last season I lost about 30 pounds, so keeping my nutrition up is important, so I can perform at my optimal level.”

Salima said his motivation to prove people were wrong about his abilities as a running back has helped him find success years later. As a freshman in high school, he was 5 foot 2 inches and was told he was too little to be a running back. Salima said because he wanted to prove people, this wrong kept pushing him to be his best, and during, his senior year in high school, had a breakout season, rushing 2,040 yards.

Aside from winning another conference championship, Salima said he wants to be more efficient and versatile. He said he would like to be this way in the classroom too.

“I had 3.4 yards per carry [last season], which isn’t bad, but it can be better,” Salima said. “I want to help my team more on the offensive side of the ball, and I want to be one of the best backs in the league. Aside from sports, I want to get academic All GLVC, so focusing more in the classroom will be a goal of mine too.”

Salima averages 4.7 yards per carry and is third in the GLVC for rushing at 348 yards. Salima and the ‘Dogs travel to the University of Indianapolis at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 to face the conference-leading Greyhounds.