NEW ORLEANS (WAFB) - It was already a huge game for Jodeci Harris.
The senior right tackle from Plaquemine, La. and the rest of the Southern Jaguars were getting ready to face the Grambling Tigers in the 46th annual Bayou Classic.
Harris and his teammates were walking on the sideline near the bench when one of his coaches directed him to go a group of personnel near the stands.
He saw someone in uniform he wasn’t expected to see: his older brother, Jerald Johnson, Jr.
Jodeci had not seen his brother Johnson since he graduated high school in 2015.
Chief Warrant Officer II Jearld Johnson, Jr. has been serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for nearly 20 years and is currently stationed in North Carolina.
The moment was captured on video by their mother, Alice Harris, who organized their heartwarming reunion.
“It was a very emotional and joyful moment,” explained Harries, who watched from the stands as her two sons saw each other for the first time in four years.
“We started planning last year in hopes that he would not be deployed. Other attempts (had) failed. So I was very happy that he (Jerald) was able to come,” Harris said.
Harris says Jodeci has always looked up to Jerald, who is 13 years older than him. Yet, she says the two brothers have only grown closer despite the age difference and distance apart.
Jerald was stationed in Hawaii when Jodeci was in high school and flew him out to the Pacific island for a graduation gift.
Harris says Jerald has always been Jodeci’s motivator.
Jodeci and his teammates went on to beat the Tigers by blocking a field goal in the final seconds. With the 30-28 victory, the Jaguars claimed the SWAC West division title.
The Southern Jags will travel to Lorman, MS to face the Alcorn State Braves for the SWAC Championship at 3 p.m. on Dec. 7. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
Jodeci is an honor student and will be graduation from Southern University in Spring 2020 with a Bachelor’s in Therapeutic Recreation with a minor in Psychology.