Not to put too fine a point on it, but one number could be the biggest reason: 3.7. That's the body-fat percentage registered by the 6-5, 220-pound Jean, the third-best percentage on the entire State squad. His lack of weight was making it difficult for Jean to handle all the demands asked of the tight end in the Wolfpack system.
After redshirting last season at the tight end position, Jean was shifted to wide receiver early in fall camp. He said he was expecting the move because he was having trouble keeping on the pounds, and thus far he has made the most of his chance at receiver.
"I wasn't really surprised about it, because I had the feeling that it was coming up," Jean said. "My reaction was like, ‘OK, wherever you want me, Coach, I'll play.'
"It was hard to keep [weight] on. We had people watching us eat meals and made sure I cleaned my plate. I still eat a lot; I still eat that tight end-type meal.
"I'm liking it. It's a big move and it requires a little bit more speed and a little bit more agility, but I think I can fit those needs."
"He's a big wide receiver," said coach Chuck Amato. "He was an outstanding high school football player, and it came down to us and LSU and Florida. It was a ‘Who's Who' that was in it recruiting him. And he's got really, really good hands.
"He's learning a new position and he's doing well. He's got a lot to learn yet, but he's doing well. He's made some outstanding catches out there."
Jean was a top prospect coming out of powerhouse Jefferson High School in Tampa, Fla. On a team loaded with receiving options, he managed to reel in 20 receptions for 325 yards and five touchdowns, showing the ability to work the middle of the field. The Jefferson coaching staff moved him around a lot, so he does have some experience with his new spot.
"I played the slot in high school, so I'm pretty used to the position," Jean said. "It's not completely new."
While admitting with a chuckle that he misses the three-point stance employed at tight end, Jean said he felt he was improving in a big way as a blocker at that position. Though NC State is stacked with tight ends in T.J. Williams, John Ritcher, Roddy Long, Chance Moyer, Avery Gibson, Anthony Hill and Octavius Darby, the Pack isn't exactly lacking depth at wide receiver either.
"I was kind of getting used to [blocking], but I did expect the move sometime soon," Jean said. "And at the beginning of the camp, they decided to move me over.
"We have some pretty good tight ends, but we also have some real good wide receivers. So all I have to do is just work hard and be patient and see what happens."
Still, Jean knows exactly what he'll be expected to bring to the receiving corps as he progresses.
"You can't teach size and you can't coach size," Jean said. "So I'm just bringing size to the whole group."
As he learns the ropes, Jean is leaning on junior Brian Clark and sophomore Chris Hawkins for guidance. However, he said all of the wideouts have embraced his addition and are eager to help him get comfortable at his new position.
"I walk around and ask everybody what's going on, and they tell me how to do this and how to do that," said Jean. "I ask Chris Hawkins and Brian Clark. They are really familiar at running the ‘Y' position, so I'm with them the majority of the time on what we've got to do.
"I'm just going to go out there and play when I get the chance – or if I get the chance."
However, it wouldn't be wise to close the door on an eventual return to tight end for Jean. When asked if Jean's future is at wide receiver, Amato didn't make any guarantees.
"It is right now," said the coach. "Right now."
And since that future is now, Jean will be using his big frame to try to work his way up the pecking order at wide receiver and make himself yet another weapon in the Wolfpack air attack.