He’s fast–pretty much as fast as a road runner, according to ESPN sports scientists–but celebrity Auburn ball boy Jake Longenecker still wasn’t fast enough to get out of Dick’s Sporting Goods without being recognized. Blame it on his friend and fellow Auburn sophomore, Maggie McCabe.
After learning that Dick’s was selling Auburn shirts that read “Our Ball Boys Are Faster Than Your Ball Boys,” Longenecker drove to the store in Tiger Town with McCabe Friday night and plucked three of the shirts he inspired from the rack.
“Wow,” said the woman at the register, to whom, like most of America, Longenecker’s face is mostly a blur, “you must really like these.”
“Yeah, you could say that,” replied Longenecker, who was deemed too slow to play running back in high school (though his former coach has since recanted).
“She was like, ‘Did you see they did a Sports Science on him vs. Red Lightning?'” McCabe says.
That would be Frankie “Red Lightning” Grizzle-Malgrat, Longenecker’s slower, red-headed FSU counterpart, known as much for his leprechaun-esque looks as his hustle.
The corresponding nickname the Internet came up with for Longenecker after only a few days of instantly irresistible (even for ESPN) comparisons? Blue Thunder.
“Jake again was like, ‘Yeah, I think I did see it,” McCabe says. “I had a feeling he wasn’t going to tell her, so I said ‘Yeah, he’s Blue Thunder.’
“At first she did a double take and then she got super excited and laughed. As we were about to walk out she said ‘I hope they are writing you a check for those!'”
The attention Longenecker received for his performance during Auburn’s season-opening “subjugation” of Arkansas may have inspired the T-shirts, but they could pretty much describing any current Auburn student manager (and maybe even some formers).
Last year in Knoxville, ESPN color analyst Brian Griese marveled at the speed of Auburn ball boy Andrew Jarrett, who outran the Tennessee’s coverage unit during a Corey Grant punt return.
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