Kurth aims to raise stature

It’s not often that a 6-foot, 210-pound high school senior is considered too small.

But that seems to be the knock on Shadow Ridge inside linebacker and wrestler Jordan Kurth.

Kurth had a team-high 103 tackles (77 solo), four fumble recoveries and an interception while captaining the Mustangs football team from a 1-8 record in 2009 to a postseason berth last season.

His stature on campus has grown this winter, with a 48-1 record and 33 pins while wrestling at 215 pounds, one year after finishing second in the Sunset Region at 189.

Yet in the world of college football recruiting, it’s easy to overlook Kurth because of his size.

He has received offers from Division II, Division III and Football Championship Subdivision schools, including a planned visit to Brown. But Kurth hopes success on the wrestling mat, where he could be a state championship contender, will bolster his chances for a football scholarship.

“It’s just size. I’ve never really been told (what teams don’t like about him),” said Kurth, who carries a 4.5 weighted grade-point average with a full schedule of honors courses. “But I feel I can bring everything. I’m not going to let anyone down.”

That strong-willed attitude might be the best attribute Kurth brings to a team, Mustangs wrestling coach Gus Gledhill said.

“He has tenacity; he is a kid who will not quit until there’s nothing left in him,” said Gledhill, who is also an assistant football coach. “He’ll go all day.

“You don’t expect him to be there or make a play, but he’ll be there. His speed is deceptive; he makes plays where we didn’t think he would make plays. He has a nose for the football and where it’s going to be. He runs sideline to sideline all the time.”

Kurth is one of three returning state qualifiers for the Mustangs.

He finished his junior year 67-7 — a state record, according to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association — with 47 pins and earned All-Northwest League and All-Sunset Region honors.
Despite all the wins, defeat serves as Kurth’s primary motivation.

“Losing drives me,” he said. “It comes from inside. My dad never let me not work, at anything.”

His father, Ken, wrestled at Oklahoma in 1988-89 before a knee injury sustained his freshman year ended his career.

But Kurth didn’t take up his father’s sport until high school.

“He never really forced me to do anything, but the coaches pushed me,” said Kurth, a varsity wrestler since his freshman year. “I just wanted to play football, but they wanted me to wrestle. They told me I’d get better at football.”

Kurth expects to improve on last season’s record-setting mark while leading the defending Sunset Region champion Mustangs to a better finish at state.

After that, he said he’ll focus on the future. But college football coaches should note one thing, Gledhill said.

“Because of that height limitation, I just hope coaches don’t overlook him,” he said. “I could see him going wherever he goes and they’ll find a spot for him. He’s the type of kid who wouldn’t be able to be kept off the field. He’ll have to play somewhere.

“If they’re looking for quality character kids, he’s your man. I don’t think there’s anybody better than him.”