Dear Jordan,

My man, you’ve come a long way the past couple years. And it seems like you’ve been underestimated and overlooked practically every step of the way.

It wasn’t so long ago that you were leading Pearl City High School to back-to-back state titles in 2013 and 2014. Despite a sterling prep resume, you were overlooked and underestimated by everyone. If anyone wanted to talk about QBs from Hawaii, they were either talking about Marcus Mariota or Tua Tagovailoa, the budding young superstar just 16 miles away down Highway 1 East. No D-1 offers out of high school, just a smattering of D-2 offers, and 1 JUCO offer from a military school in New Mexico. Many probably would’ve just bagged it, called it a career, and started thinking about life after football.

You were different, however. That offer from New Mexico Military Institute offered a glimmer of hope. An opportunity that could potentially lead to bigger things. A slim chance, but a chance nonetheless.

Riding the pine through much of your freshman season in Roswell, New Mexico, playing for the Broncos and going through military school during the day would make many want to reconsider the decision. Military school in New Mexico is a tad different than the Oahu lifestyle, obviously.

Yet, you stuck around for your sophomore year. You’d finally get the chance to start and show your skills. The one chance to get to D-1 ball and try and keep the dream alive, and you balled out. Finishing 2nd nationally in passing TDs (32) and 3rd in passing yards per game (334.9), you won conference Player of the Year.

Despite a sterling JUCO resume, you were still being overlooked and underestimated by everyone, ranked by 247sports as the 95th best JUCO prospect nationally. Despite the numbers and accolades, the offers didn’t come flooding in. There was a handful of offers from lower level FBS schools like Southern Miss and University of New Mexico, but just 2 Power 5 offers rolled in. Minnesota and Ole Miss.

You took one trip to Oxford for an official visit, gave a verbal commitment the next day and signed a letter of intent just four days after that.

The situation you entered wasn’t for the faint of heart, either. At Southern Miss or UNM you would have been the frontrunner for the starting job the moment you set foot on campus. At Minnesota, you would have entered the mix to potentially start right away. Ole Miss, despite being the best offer, offered the lowest chance to get playing time.

After all, Ole Miss was set at QB with sophomore Shea Patterson, the former No. 1 ranked high school QB in the country and a top-5 player nationally who already had full control of the starting job after finishing the 2016 season as starting QB. You had 2 years of eligibility, and Patterson had 2 seasons to play before he could leave early for the NFL. Signing with Ole Miss was an enormous risk, because seeing the field outside of injury or blowouts was highly unlikely. They had their program cornerstone, they just needed his backup.

Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Yet, as fate would have it, Patterson got hurt in Week 8 against LSU, and you get your chance. The odds, again, were against you. Fans were assuming the season, already teetering on the edge of disaster, was over. Losing 5-star, all-world Shea Patterson and filling the void with an unheralded JUCO QB didn’t give many fans optimism. Yet, just like when you got your chance in both high school and JUCO, you balled out.

You started the final 5 games, completing 66 percent of your passes for 1,604 yards with an 11/4 TD-to-INT ratio, averaging a whopping 9.9 yards per attempt. The Rebels didn’t crash and burn. On the contrary, they started playing their best football of the year, finishing with 3 wins in their final 4 games, including on the road against No. 14 Mississippi State. Following the season, Patterson would decide to hightail it on out of town, clearing the way for you to enter 2018 as the undisputed leader of the team.

Now entering 2018, despite sterling production and performances as a starting QB in the SEC, you’re still not getting the recognition or acknowledgement you deserve. Despite the offense being labeled as one of the very best in all of college football, the attention goes to the receiving corps (which obviously deserves a significant share of attention too, don’t get me wrong). Hell, you’re not even the most famous Hawaiian QB in the SEC thanks to Tagovailoa at Alabama. He’s the frontrunner for the Heisman despite never starting a game. But that’s OK. This is when you’re at your best – overlooked and underestimated.

So, my wish for you, Jordan, is to enjoy the ride this year. Man, have you earned it. From overlooked prep QB at a tiny high school in Oahu, to back up at a military school in the desert to no-chance-at-playing-at-Ole Miss unless you-know-what hits the fan, to now, a starting QB in the SEC for one of the best offenses in all of college football, leading a unit full of future NFL players.

You’ve come a long way, my man, and that’s why I want you to enjoy this. You deserve it. Years of perseverance in the face of adversity more often than not leads to beautiful and unbelievably rewarding results, and that’s coming your way.

So enjoy the ride and have fun this year. More than likely, you’ll have a fantastic season with your teammates and you’ll enter the 2019 NFL Draft the same way you entered high school, military school and college – overlooked and underestimated. And I know that won’t deter you from realizing your dreams.

You’re the kind of person who eats adversity for breakfast in the morning. Time after time. Always overlooked. Always overestimated. Always proving everyone wrong.