This past January as Bob Toledo's new Tulane coaching staff scrambled to complete the veteran head coach's first Green Wave recruiting class, Tulane assistant coach Greg Davis, Jr. got a call on his cell phone from his dad, Greg Davis Sr., the offensive coordinator at the University of Texas, and a former Tulane head coach.
Greg Davis Sr. was calling to let his son know that he had seen some video on a little-known offensive tackle prospect from Royal High School in Pattison, Texas, and really liked what he had seen. By then Texas had finished it's recruiting class, so the prospect under discussion was not going to get an offer from the Longhorns. But the details of this tale make an interesting read.
The details are that the prospect, J.D. Jeanes, was 17-years old and played at a 3-A school.
Schools at the 3A level in Texas are not usually a mecca for college recruiters, but Jeanes was a tackle prospect and the Tulane staff was looking for tackle prospects, so Davis and another Toledo assistant, O'Neill Gilbert, drove out to Pattison - just west of Houston - to take a look at Jeanes.
After looking at some video they invited the big - he stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 279-pounds - kid to New Orleans for an official visit. During the visit, Toledo offered the wide-eyed kid a scholarship and he accepted the offer. His high school coach, Ken Wallace says J.D. came back to Pattison walking on air.
Royal High School moved up from AA to AAA after the 2005 season, and that may account to a large degree for the lack of familiarity of college recruiters with J.D. Jeanes.
But there was no sign of J.D. on recruiting radar anywhere, a totally overlooked prospect. A lot of schools - Rice, Duke, Houston, Northwestern (Ill.), Arizona, UTEP, Tulsa and Sam Houston State, in addition to the Texas Longhorns - stopped by school, contacted him, looked at video or made a home visit but no school other than Tulane offered a visit or a scholarship.
Jeanes played a variety of positions for the Falcons, including both offensive and defensive tackle this past year and tight end and defensive end in previous seasons. This past year he was named to the 24 3-A All-District football team and the Texas Sports' Writers Association 2006 3A All-State third team. 2006 was the third consecutive season that Jeanes received post-season honors, having previously been named second team all-district as a junior and receiving honorable mention as a sophomore.
And in case you're wondering, Jeanes rep is that he's a good kid, respected by his teammates who electd him team captain. He's got mobility, he's young and he will probably grow some more, probably topping out at about 300-pounds.
In Jeanes, Tulane picked up a big young tackle prospect with good mobility, and tackle is a hard position to fill. It'll probably take a couple of seasons to determine whether the connection that brought Jeanes to Tulane pays off or if he turns out to be just another offensive linemen who doesn't make it. But small school or not, you've got to take a chance on a 6-6, 6-7 tackle with good mobility.