My voicemail message was apparently a little garbled, so when Joe Allen called me back, he actually thought I was an Auburn coach inquiring as to how Auburn might best utilize Jake Longecker’s newly-discovered talents.
The message he left for me was a bit garbled, too–and he got disconnected before he finished–but I distinctly heard “great kid… hard worker… maybe strong safety…15 pounds… who knows…”
All of which is to say, yes, the Winston Churchill High School (Potomac, Md.) football coach has seen the video of his former outside linebacker and backup quarterback racing toward his 15 minutes of fame.
“Yes, we all saw Jake on ESPN,” Allen said when we finally connected. “All the guys and coaches watched the video.”
The footage of Auburn wide receiver Melvin Ray sprinting down the sideline to the end zone, in bounds, was the most discussed, most blogged about play from Auburn’s season-opening win over Arkansas–Sacramento morning shows couldn’t get enough!–only because Longenecker, an Auburn ball boy, was keeping pace right behind Ray, out of bounds, to the Internet’s instant amazement.
The Sunday after the game, Longenecker told me he had wanted to play running back in high school but that Allen had told him he was too slow.
“He was pretty fast (in high school),” Allen said, “but yeah, looks like he’s gotten a little faster.”
Longenecker said was thinking of contacting his old coach to brag about his newfound fame.
“I’ve been trying to find his email to send a link (to the SportsCenter video) and say something like ‘how about that running back position now,’” Longenecker told me.
“If you see him, tell him I said ‘same old Jake.'”
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More Auburn Ball Boy Stuff:
* Best Damn Ball Boy in America: Auburn junior Andrew Jarrett had a front-row seat—and played an important role—in Tigers’ amazing 2013 season.
* Faith-based charity started by former Auburn equipment manager to auction off Gus Malzahn’s Iron Bowl sweater vest.
* Auburn ball boys have actually been bringing the heat since 1981.