How Brandon Jordan went from out of work, to training the NFL’s best D-linemen to coaching at Michigan State

EAST LANSING, Mich. — It’s a blustery, gray day in late March, and inside the Michigan State Spartans’ defensive meeting room, Kenny Clark gives what amounts to a graduate-level seminar on why he’s so effective at his job. As the group of 40 or so men watch film of the Packers Pro Bowl defensive tackle, there are frequent requests to stop the tape and have Clark explain what he was thinking just before winning another rep against an offensive lineman helpless to do much about it.

These men, some of the best defensive linemen and edge rushers in the NFL, are in East Lansing for three days of training and film study — and Brandon Jordan is the man behind it all. In January, Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker hired Jordan, who goes by “B” or “BT,” to be the Spartans’ pass rush specialist. But until eight years ago, Jordan had never coached on the defensive side of the ball. More than that, he had been out of college coaching altogether from 2015 to 2021.

For the average NFL or college football fan, Jordan, 35, isn’t a household name, at least not yet. But ask NFL defensive linemen or edge rushers about him and their eyes brighten. 

“BT is different,” Clark told CBS Sports. “As big guys (on the defensive line), we have to have good feet. BT understands that — the footwork, using your hands, flipping your hips. All the things we do here, it translates to the game, and it translates quickly and effortlessly.”

It’s Jordan’s ability to translate and teach these concepts that led everyone to East Lansing for what’s technically known as the Nose Tackle Retreat. In reality, every position along the defensive line, from nose tackle to edge rusher, is well represented because for the players here, it’s another…


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