DeSean Smith and Foster Moreau had both caught touchdown passes during the season, leaving fellow LSU tight end Colin Jeter hungry to finally get his, so interim offensive coordinator and Jeter's longtime position coach, Steve Ensminger, dialed up the play that made it happen.
"And we tried to plan, 'How can we get Jeter a touchdown?'" Ensminger said and laughed during a recent interview. "And, we finally got to it the last game and I'm happy for him."
Jeter curled open in the back of the end zone early during the second quarter of the Tigers' Citrus Bowl contest against Louisville last Saturday and quarterback Danny Etling quickly hit him for the 1-yard scoring strike. It was the Tigers' first points of the day in a 29-9 rout of the No. 13 Cardinals.
"It was a cool feeling, no doubt," Jeter said. "To close out three great years at LSU and get a touchdown in my last game, it was a great way to close the chapter and I had a blast doing it."
As the game concluded and LSU began celebrating beneath the warm Orlando sun, Jeter playfully picked up Ensminger in a joyful bear hug. Below is a tweet from Jeter when pictures of the fun exchange circulated on Twitter.
It indeed was Ensminger (a former LSU quarterback nicknamed 'Slinger') who recruited Jeter to LSU from Kilgore College in Texas. The 6'7”, 254-pound tight end originally signed with the Air Force Academy out of high school, but quickly returned home as his mother, Wendy, battled breast cancer. After one season with Kilgore, Jeter and Ensminger then joined forces in Baton Rouge. Very thankfully, Wendy's cancer went into remission shortly after Jeter's quick stay with the Air Force and has never returned.
"I had been to all these places like Oklahoma and Texas and no one really gave me a shot. Ensminger was the first guy to give me that. I can't thank him enough for everything he's done for me. He was the reason I had my three years at LSU, which were some of the best years of my life," Jeter reflected.
"Colin Jeter was a great player for me. But more so than that, he's just a good person. There's not a finer person around, that you want to be around, that want to be around your family and the rest of the players. He was already graduated in business. I don't think there's any player, on either side of the ball, that doesn't like Colin Jeter," Ensminger explained.
But as anyone who's ever attended an LSU practice knows, Ensminger doesn't exactly coddle his players. His abrupt, high-pitched twang and not-so-subtle coaching critiques often echo across the field and straight into the ears of his players. And, Colin Jeter certainly wasn't above any such instruction.
"Man, I can't tell you how many butt chewings. Even as a coach, he was getting on me for grades and stuff like that. He was kind of like a dad away from home. He kind of watched over me. Just a good father figure away from home," Jeter said and laughed.
"I tell people this all the time and I don't think the regular fan understands it. Coaches have two families. We have the family we go home to. But those kids in that room right there are part of our family. And we treat them that way. I treat everyone in that room just like my son...good and bad. And you know what? Eventually, they appreciate it. They don't always appreciate it at first, especially the bad stuff. But you show them some tough love. And I believe this in my heart - they know we care about them. And I feel the same way about Colin Jeter and it makes me very proud that he feels that way. And you know what? I feel that every athlete that leaves LSU should feel that way," Ensminger added.
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