The 2009 Defensive Player of the Year, Jordan Zumwalt, at ESPN Zone in Anaheim.

Edison's Zumwalt earns county's top defensive honor

The Chargers linebacker helped lead his team to the Pac-5 title game.


Click on the photo to view a slide show of Zumwalt.

When Edison needed a big play, Jordan Zumwalt often provided it.

The linebacker made tackle after tackle when Edison beat top-ranked Servite, 23-9, a victory that put Edison at No. 1 in the Orange County poll.

Zumwalt had 24 tackles in a 27-10 victory over Los Alamitos, a huge Sunset League triumph for the Chargers.

He stopped a Lakewood drive by forcing a fumble that was recovered by Edison to set up a touchdown in the Chargers' 37-29 victory in the CIF-Southern Section Pac-5 Division semifinals.

And he even scored Edison's only points, on a reception, in the loss to Servite in the Pac-5 championship game.

This get-it-done player gets the Orange County defensive player of the year award for the 2009 football season.

Edison did not make the playoffs in 2008, thanks to a five-way coin flip that took the Chargers out of contention when the season ended. They came into 2009 ready to roll, and Zumwalt led the charge.

"We had a plan, and a goal," Zumwalt said. "We were going to the CIF playoffs, and we knew it. We weren't cocky about it, we just refused to not be in there."

Zumwalt played some of the season with a soft cast on a broken left arm. He broke it against Long Beach Wilson, missed the following week's game against Dana Hills, played basically with one arm in the victory over Servite the next week, but had to take off the following week's game against Mater Dei.

He still managed a team-leading season total of 164 tackles, with 69 of those solo tackles, plus 3.5 sacks, in 12 games. He averaged 14 tackles a game on a team that allowed only 12 points a game. Zumwalt finished 12 tackles behind the Edison single-season record set in 1979 by Bill Malavasi, a great linebacker whose father Ray coached the Los Angeles Rams at the time.

One school record he did set was winning the most awards Edison gives to top players after each game.

"The other players looked up to Jordan as a teammate and a leader," Edison coach Dave White said. "He's a special player, and a special young man."

Zumwalt, 6-foot-4 and 218 pounds, committed to Stanford before the season. But his play has drawn the attention of other colleges.

"USC and UCLA are putting full-court pressure on him," White said.

Zumwalt remains comfortable with his commitment to Stanford, but is listening to USC and UCLA. He will take his official recruiting visits to those schools, and to Stanford, next month.

Before signing a letter of intent in February, Zumwalt will listen carefully to advice of someone upon whom he has always relied – father Rick, who played at Arizona State and in the NFL with the Falcons and Raiders.

"He's walked me through everything," Jordan said. "He's been through it all. He's been there to back me all the time, he keeps me going forward and he helps me make the right decisions."

The Zumwalt house was always the postgame place to be for Edison. He said he will always treasure those late-night/early-morning gatherings.

"We'd stay up all night and hang out," Zumwalt said. "Those were the highlights of the season for me, guys coming to our house after a win."

He led Edison to plenty of victories, and supplied many highlights.

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