Former St. Paul's and Tulane receiver Jalen McCleskey signed with the New Orleans Saints last week and said he was excited for the chance to play for his "hometown team."
“I know firsthand from being a fan how passionate everyone is," he said. "So I just can't wait to get to practice, meetings, stuff like that and just get chemistry down with the guys and get to work.”
McCleskey said the opportunity to sign with New Orleans came after he got a chance to workout at Tulane's Pro Day in March. The Green Wave's 2020 Pro Day was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Tulane coach Willie Fritz allowed those prospects to participate in this year's.
"I went in there and at the end of the day, the Steelers and the Colts were the only two scouts that talked to me at pro day,"
McCleskey said, later on, he heard Fritz had spoken to the Saints about him and, eventually, he received a call from his agent and a Saints scout.
"He called me like Thursday and was like, ‘We want you to come in for a workout.’ Which was last Wednesday. So that's how that came about," McCleskey said. "And then I went in there for the workout, we did everything that we did, and then as I was driving on the Causeway, they actually called me and were like: ‘We want to sign you. We're going to send you over all the stuff.’ Things like that.
"And I actually called my dad immediately and let him know, he was actually at work so he was excited.”
McCleskey's father, JJ, currently an assistant coach at Tulane, played part of his NFL career with the Saints.
"Yeah, he was excited," Jalen McCleskey said. "His phone's been blowing up this whole time, it hasn't stopped blowing up.”
Jalen now will compete for a spot on the Saints 53-man roster and boasts a skillset that should help him thrive in Saints coach Sean Payton's system.
"I feel like I can bring more speed, vertical threat, just being able to control the middle of the field. I did all that at Oklahoma State," he said. "And also, I can run pretty much any route on the route tree, any route outside, inside. So I feel like I bring more diversity that I can do both.”