Courtesy Press News: Jordan Joseph (STMA) holds off TJ O'Hara (Tartan) to win the state title at 170 pounds by a score of 4-3 last season.
Jordan Joseph is a former Minnesota state wrestling champion, a standout prep football player, has a 3.7 GPA and has a tireless work ethic - one that has made him one of the top baseball players in next year’s recruiting class.
Joseph, a 2015 graduate out of St. Michael-Albertville, has played in the Blizzard program since he was 9-years when he played on the 12-year old team because there wasn't an age group young enough for him.
It has been a continuing trend, too. Joseph was the starting shortstop as a 16-year old for Kimball's men’s amateur team, played varsity baseball as a freshman in high school and is now excelling on his Blizzard Varsity Elite team where is the starting shortstop and 3-hole hitter.
"I've had the chance to see Jordan play for ten years," Blizzard owner Adam Barta said. "When others watch him compete, their eyes open wide with that 'oh wow' look. To me, it's normal and I mean that as a compliment - the kid is a winner, competitor and he's a great teammate. He wants what’s best for the team. He's been like that since he was a kid."
And having been in the program for so long, Joseph has seen the Blizzard since the beginning, how far it has come and where it is going.
“From the beginning it was about joining the best baseball players from Minnesota and (surrounding area),” Joseph said. “As we moved up in age, it also became about being noticed by colleges and perfecting my strengths to become the best baseball player I could possibly be. The Blizzard program and coaches have always supported me. They have used baseball to teach me life lessons on and off the field. I especially appreciate the support that I have felt in my search for good college options.”
Parents Doug and Jarae Joseph have been big supporters of the program since the beginning as well. Their oldest son, David, played in the Blizzard program and they see Jordan getting the same development as he did.
“Our son Jordan loves baseball,” father Doug Joseph said. “We live in Minnesota (not sure why sometimes) and it's a challenge to play at a high level for many reasons. The Blizzard program has been an extended, trusted baseball family to Jordan. The baseball development, training and tournaments have been great but the extended family feel is what we will cherish forever.”
And while baseball has always been a big part of Jordan’s life, he is walking away from a probable Division I wrestling scholarship. Last year, Joseph won the Minnesota state individual championship (170 lbs) as well as a team championship (tied with Apple Valley). He was a favorite to contend for another state title this year but Joseph said that his goal is to play at the highest level of baseball possible.
“Choosing to walk away from wrestling after winning a state title the year before was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do,” Joseph said. “I accomplished the highest wrestling goal that I had - winning state individually and helping my team win their first AAA state title. The transition was very hard at first having to watch the matches from the stands instead of on the mat. Wrestling has taught me that there are no short cuts to anywhere worth going and I am taking the work ethic that wrestling has taught me and apply it to my baseball training.”
Jordan has been working out with his brother, David, and good friend Tyler Berg working out, hitting, throwing and working on foot speed. He also works with Blizzard instructors Justin Gominsky (Houston Astros) and Al Newman (Twins 87/91) on developing both his hitting and fielding fundamentals.
“Jordan is a competitor and an energetic player,” former Twins World Series champion and Blizzard Coach Al Newman said. “He’s got good instincts, gap to gap power and good rhythm in the infield and comes to play daily. He’s fun to coach.”
Joseph, a sub 7.0 60-yard dash runner, an 85+ arm across the diamond and a standout hitter is continuing to improve and putting himself in the company as great former Blizzard players such as John Loeffler (Valparaiso), Shea Molitor (DMACC) and Marcus O’Neil (Augustana).
“He’s only going to get better,” Barta said. “I’ve learned never to doubt anyone who works hard and JJ is a kid who can play against anyone and isn’t afraid of anything.”