Who was Romell Jordan? Blake Swihart's adopted brother was Div. I college football player and star athlete, too

John Tomase
February 27, 2019 - 6:03 pm

The Red Sox were devastated on Wednesday by the death of Romell Jordan, Blake Swihart's adopted brother.

What many of them probably didn't know was Jordan's story.

A star athlete in his own right, Jordan was adopted by Swihart's family during high school. He was a football star at Cleveland High in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Swihart's alma mater. He went on to a solid career at the University of New Mexico, rushing for 551 yards and five touchdowns over parts of three seasons before graduating in 2017.

The Albuquerque Journal chronicled Jordan's difficult childhood in 2012, and the story is well worth reading. The encapsulated version is this: born in California, he moved all over the state before shuttling between his mom, dad, and godparents in Las Vegas, Denver, and New Mexico, respectively.

He shared a difficult relationship with his parents, which eventually made living with them a nonstarter. His godparents did the best they could, but during Jordan's junior year of high school, they tearfully admitted they couldn't afford him because of financial struggles.

Enter Kacie Swihart. Blake's younger sister convinced her parents to take in Jordan. He lived with them for the rest of high school, and her Twitter timeline today is filled with pictures of the two of them vamping for the camera.

"I love you SO MUCH," she wrote.

Arlan Swihart, the player's dad, told the Journal that Jordan had been dealt "a pretty crappy hand." But the student council member rose above his challenges to earn a scholarship with the Lobos and former Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie.

But the hardships kept coming. After rushing for 284 yards and three touchdowns over his first two seasons, the 5-foot-9, 175-pounder tore his knee in the spring of his junior year and took a redshirt season. That same year, 2016, his birth mother passed away, causing Blake Swihart to start a GoFundMe page for his friend and family member.

"I come out here, we are always together we are always talking," Swihart told KRQE in October of 2016. "Texting pretty much every day and you know with his mom passing, my parents and I have started a GoFundMe page it's on my Instagram and Twitter. So if you guys could go out there and show some support for the family that would be awesome."

On Wednesday, Davie expressed his condolences.

"The news of Romell Jordan's sudden passing is heartbreaking," Davie said in a statement released by the team. "Romell was one of our first recruits from Cleveland High School, and he was a great young man. Romell went through many hardships, from a devastating knee injury to his mother's passing, while with our team. He was a great teammate and friend and his successful career at UNM was a huge source of pride for him, his family and this community. We will all miss Romell's positive attitude, and his spirit. The entire Lobo Football family will have the Jordan and Swihart families in their thoughts and prayers through this very difficult time."

Over in Fort Myers, Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters that Swihart will rejoin the team on Thursday and perhaps DH. Cora said Swihart told him this: "My brother would probably love for me to show up and play."