The Jets seem to have a home away from home in the Palmetto State.
South Carolina came onto the Green & White radar with their top two picks of the 2000 draft. Shaun Ellis went to Tennessee but he grew up in Anderson, SC, and John Abraham starred at the University of South Carolina.
More recently there've been Antonio Allen (USC) and Charone Peake (Clemson). Last year the Jets drafted T Brandon Shell in the fifth round ... out of South Carolina.
And now we present Javarius Leamon, an undrafted free-agent tackle out of South Carolina State. And with Leamon, the Jets' Palmetto family ties have been drawn even tighter.
Take Leamon's relationship with Ellis, who just happens to be a friend of the family.
"Shaun and John Abraham, I talked to both of them. They both played here," Leamon told me during the Jets' just-concluded rookie minicamp. "When I was 8 years old, I was a big kid. Shaun told me one day the Jets were going to pick me up. I didn't really know too much about it then, but it actually happened."
OK, Ellis got lucky with that one, since he was settling into his Jets home at the time.
But Leamon also knows Peake. "We're from like the same area," he said.
And Shell's kid brother, Virgil. "I went to school with him at SC State."
And fifth-round rookie TE Jordan Leggett from Clemson. "We train together in Pensacola."
That's quite a series of coincidences.
Jets fans wouldn't mind the serendipity, after seeing Brandon Shell looking comfortable as a late-season starter last year, of finding another contributing tackle from South Carolina. Leamon was in fact the only signed offensive lineman who started out in the minicamp. Two other O-linemen, tryouts Benjamin Braden and Chris Bordelon, were signed after the camp.
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Leamon has progressed from being a big kid into being a big young man at 6'7" and 325 pounds. He had a strong redshirt senior season for the Bulldogs, starting all 11 games, leading their O-line with 14 knockdowns, and being named to the STATS FCS All-American Team and to his second All-MEAC team.
"I feel good," he said in taking a locker room break from studying his new playbook. "It's just a mental thing right now, learning the plays.
"I'm just going day by day, trying to get better. It's just a good situation coming here."
No surprise. Leamon has found himself among family.