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Ole Miss’ Jordan Ta’amu, ever the seizer of opportunities, is the XFL Offensive Player of the Year

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Ole Miss’ Jordan Ta’amu, ever the seizer of opportunities, is the XFL Offensive Player of the Year

Former Ole Miss quarterback Jordan Ta’amu has made a football career out of seizing opportunities.

Ta’amu in 2017 impressively took over — and vastly outperformed — injured starting quarterback Shea Patterson. Ta’amu made five starts for the Rebels and threw for 1,682 yards and 11 touchdowns. He passed for 365 yards or more in his first three career starts.

Patterson, a one-time five-star signee, transferred to Michigan the following off-season. Ta’amu was an unranked recruit signed by Ole Miss out of an obscure junior college as a low-end three-star. He ended up totaling 5,600 yards and 30 touchdowns at Ole Miss. Patterson had 3,139 and 23, respectively.

Both Ta’amu and Patterson were undrafted NFL free agents. They were also each drafted by XFL teams in 2020. Patterson is now out of football. Ta’amu, meanwhile, in his second XFL run. He was named the league’s 2023 Offensive Player of the Year on Friday.

“I felt in my heart I was a competitor,” Ta’amu said, in a previous one-on-one interview with the Ole Miss Spirit. He was speaking in reference to his long-ago decision to commit and sign with the Rebels — despite the presence and assumed starting role for the highly-billed Patterson.

Ta’amu continued, “I’ve always competed since I was little. I wasn’t going to give up now and just put my head down and go to a smaller school. I felt I could play in the SEC — the best college conference in America. That’s what I told myself. 

“Came out (to Ole Miss) and started doing what I had to do.”

JT$$$$$$$$ https://t.co/dxLrm2IWZL

— Dawson Knox (@dawson_knox) May 5, 2023

Ta’amu this season led the D.C. Defenders to a 9-1 record and appearance in the XFL Championship. 

The Defenders will take on the Arlington Renegades next Saturday at 7 p.m. CT on ABC. He threw for 1,894 yards and 14 touchdowns and was intercepted just three times. Ta’amu also had 298 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

His Defenders defeated the Seattle Sea Dragons, 37-21, in the XFL North Division Championship last Sunday. Ta’amu overcame a pair of first-half interceptions with a pair of second-half touchdown passes to spark a 28-12 Defenders run. He was 19 for 32 for 258 yards.

Ta’amu signed a $1.76 million UDFA contract with the Houston Texans but ended up as a final preseason cut. Ta’amu completed 7 of 12 passes for 50 yards and an interception in four combined preseason games. He had unfruitful workouts with the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants before turning to the XFL that October.

RELATED: Former Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu on his way to XFL Championship

Ta’amu is drawing renewed NFL interest after his most-recent XFL showcase.

He has never made a regular-season NFL roster, though he has previous stints with the Texans (2019), Kansas City Chiefs (2020, 2021) Detroit Lions (2020, 2021), Washington Commanders (2021) and Carolina Panthers (2021).

Ta’amu as an Ole Miss senior in 2018 captained a star-studded offense that also featured AJ Brown, DK Metcalf and Dawson Knox, among others. Brown and Metcalf are two of the highest-paid wide receivers in the NFL. Knox has had a productive multi-year career as a third-rounder of the Buffalo Bills.

“It’s awesome seeing everyone doing well,” Ta’amu previously told the Spirit. “It’s an awesome feeling to watch my teammates and the offense we had (at Ole Miss) 8go out there in the NFL and kill it. I knew exactly that they were going to do that. 

“I still talk to them here and there and try to reach out whenever I can. Dawson’s one of my good friends. We all check up on each other.”

Ta’amu was a fan favorite during his two-year stay in Oxford. 

Nicknamed the ‘Flyin’ Hawaiian,’ Ta’amu broke the all-time Ole Miss record for 400-yard passing games (4) and tied Chad Kelly’s previous school record for 300-yard passing games (12). 

He finished his career sixth all-time in passing yards and ninth in passing touchdowns.

Ta’amu threw for 3,918 yards and rushed for 342 yards as a senior. He led the SEC in both passing yards per game and total offense. He was also seventh in school history in completion percentage (63.6), eighth in touchdowns responsible for (25) and tied for 10th in touchdown passes (19).

“It’s always great to come back to Oxford,” Ta’amu said. “It’s honestly like my second home. People are great here still (and) I still have love and support everywhere.”

The post Ole Miss’ Jordan Ta’amu, ever the seizer of opportunities, is the XFL Offensive Player of the Year appeared first on On3.

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