Jorgensen plays to be the best from Carbon
Carbon High's football team hasn't won a state championship in decades, but that doesn't mean some of it's players don't go on to notoriety in much bigger venues.
Jan Jorgensen is well known in the Carbon County area from the days as a star athlete on several Carbon High teams including wrestling, basketball and football. He was recruited by Kentucky right out of high school, but chose to go on an LDS mission first. When he was winding down his mission, he began to reconsider his choice of schools and found BYU to be a better match. Big brother, J.D. had played for the University of Utah and switching family allegiances took a bit of soul searching, but in the end, the Cougars made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
He has seen progressively more playing time and is a starter on the defensive line. It is his junior year and he has been making an impact for the Cougars since he began playing. This season he has already made some game changing plays,including the blocked punt in the Michigan game.
Jorgensen is on track to break the Mountain West sack record-needing only 1.5 more sacks to take the lead. He also needs only 19 more in the final two seasons of his career to break the BYU record. Last season he set the MWC season sack record with 14. When asked about those records, he seemed to shrug off the personal accomplishments in favor of how his performance should be geared toward helping the team succeed rather than trying to make the record books. "They wouldn't mean much if our team is not successful," he answered about his record.
He refuses to look past the next game when asked about the opponent he is most looking forward to meeting. He commented that watching the results of the number one ranked USC lose reminded them all how one game can change the complexion of everything.
He and the team have their sights set on another BCS bowl appearance. He said they would love to be playing for the championship, but any BCS game would be a thrill. If he could pick his bowl opponent, it would be Florida. He stated he had personal reasons for wanting to go in and beat them, but preferred not to elaborate.
When asked about the current BCS system for ranking teams, he was adamant that none of the coaches and players are happy with things as they stand. He feels a play-off system would give every team a chance to make the play-offs and go for the big prize at the start of the season. "Football is the only college sport that doesn't give all the teams the chance to play in a championship game." But he admits that it will not happen in his tenure as a college player.
With the trend of many collegiate players to turn pro before they finish their college eligibility, Jorgensen was asked his intentions to look at the pros at the end of this year. He said he has talked with close friends who have taken that route and they all advised him that he should stay and play out his senior season with the Cougars. They have said that the most fun he will ever have is his time spent playing on the college level. And Jorgensen loves to play and enjoy his game. He does admit that if the right super, super offer came along, he would be a fool not to give it a hard look.
He does hope to get drafted after college, but doesn't have any specific team he would prefer to go to.
"West coast teams would be good, so my family would be able to see me play." There are a few teams he hopes won't draft him, but he declined to name names.
He has some big shoes to fill to become the most successful football player to come out of Carbon High. In 1951, Carbon High graduate, Rex Berry was drafted by the San Fransisco 49ers. Berry played his college ball for BYU just like Jorgensen. Berry had an illustrious six year career in the AFL (now part of the NFL). He had three touchdowns from interceptions and was named second team all-pro in his final season. Berry played at the defensive halfback and cornerback potitions.
Known as the "Carbon Comet" when he played in high school, Berry was also a multi-sport athlete like Jorgensen and lead the Helper American Legion team to a championship as a pitcher.
The Helper Junior High athletic field is named after him. He died in 2005 at the age of 80.