On Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Field, Jordan Ta’amu did a little bit of everything for the XFL’s St. Louis BattleHawks in a 15-9 win over the Dallas Renegades. Read more
ARLINGTON, Texas >> On Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Field, Jordan Ta’amu did a little bit of everything for the XFL’s St. Louis BattleHawks in a 15-9 win over the Dallas Renegades.
With his arm, the Pearl City native was 20-for-27 for 209 yards and a touchdown. He also used his feet to rush for 77 yards on nine carries, including a crucial 39-yard scamper in the third quarter that helped set up the go-ahead touchdown.
“Yeah, it was an awesome feeling,” Ta’amu, 22, said postgame of winning his pro debut. “It was a good team win. I felt like everybody did their job.”
About the only part of Ta’amu’s performance that St. Louis coach Jonathan Hayes could quibble with was the two sacks he took, especially the one for 13 yards in the fourth quarter with his team inside the Dallas red zone and poised for a touchdown. That sack instead forced the BattleHawks to settle for a field goal.
The sack ended up not being terribly crucial in the game, but Hayes still sees it as a teachable moment for his young signal-caller. “He extended plays. He did a nice job with his feet,” Hayes said. “He made a lot of nice throws.
“We got to make sure that he understands how critical it is to get the ball out of his hand there late in the game. He can’t take that sack late in the game and he understands that. Lesson learned and he’ll grow from it because that’s the type of guy that he is. I thought Jordan showed good composure.”
It was a solid professional debut for Ta’amu, a former star at Pearl City. Following two seasons at New Mexico Military Institute, he spent his final two collegiate campaigns at Ole Miss before a 2019 stint with the NFL’s Houston Texans.
As St. Louis’ starting quarterback, he’s aware that he’s representing Hawaii every time he steps between the lines, whether it’s for practice or a game, a responsibility he considers an immense honor.
“Yeah, that’s huge for me just for the people back home watching. Just giving the next generation hope that they can go out here, to the mainland, really ball out and show them what Hawaii’s all about,” Ta’amu said. “Born and raised, so I’m always going to represent Hawaii no matter where I’m at or where I’m going. Hawaii will always be in my back pocket and I will always bring them out and show them that Hawaii boys can do it.”
Ta’amu was the first player allocated to the St. Louis roster late last year. But it’s not like he isn’t surrounded by at least a few familiar faces. He and backup quarterback Nick Fitzgerald played against each other in college — Fitzgerald went to Mississippi State — and are now roommates and close friends. And defensive lineman Channing Ward was Ta’amu’s teammate at Ole Miss. Ward was elated to see him perform well in his XFL debut.
“It was good (to see),” Ward said. “I’m here to support him. Everybody’s got his back. It’s hard to be a quarterback. Everybody’s looking at everything you do wrong and they’re not looking at the positives. Just trying to be there for him and push him.”
And Ta’amu isn’t the only BattleHawk with ties to the Aloha State. Offensive lineman Dejon Allen, who did not travel to Dallas, played at Hawaii between 2013 and 2017, which forged an instant bond between him and his starting QB.
“Yeah, as soon as he (Allen) came in the locker room, I saw his University of Hawaii sweater, I was like no way you went to Hawaii,” Ta’amu said. “He was like, ‘Yeah, I had the best time of my life there.’ I was like that’s the best state ever to go to. He agreed with me. We knew similar people on the team and we built a special bond with that. I’m just happy to have another guy who went to Hawaii, so he knows the culture a little bit.”
Ta’amu and St. Louis return to the Lone Star State this weekend for a Sunday game against the Houston Roughnecks, who are coached by former June Jones. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m., with the game being televised on FS1.