Jul 27, 2009, 5:00 AM EDT
I touched on one aspect of being a phenom in my article defining the term but I buried it and it needs some more attention.
A player can only be a phenom once. By definition, once a player has moved through the initial buzz and excitement period he no longer is anonymous. Everyone knows which (usually small) college he went to, how a cousin of a friend of a position coach (never the same position as the player) recommended the player to the team, and how he’s just taking it all in one day at a time.
Now, some aspects of being a phenom can carry over and happen more than once. Twice Marcus Mason has impressed in August and has developed a cult-like following. But two years ago we learned that he was a local product by way of Youngstown State, where he set some school records. You only can go through that initial period of discovery and the aspect of the unknown when it comes to what he can do on the field.
Rookie free agent wide receiver Keith Eloi is not exactly unknown. His notoriety has little to do with his accomplishments at Nebraska-Omaha. He caught 57 passes for 749 yards in two seasons there after transferring from junior college. As a kickoff returner he averaged 26.5 yards and took one to the house. Such production earned him a look with the Redskins in minicamp and he performed well enough there to land a spot on the 80-man roster, as one of six players fighting for one, maybe two roster spots and another one or two places on the practice squad.
What has separated Eloi from the masses and elevated him to cult status is his stardom on You Tube. In two videos he demonstrates his freakish vertical leap. In this one, he jumps out of a pool:
When I saw the description for the next one, I thought that he was jumping from the ground into the bed of a Ford F-150 that had the tailgate down. Nope.
It’s easy to see Eloi attaining phenom status. All it will take will be a few leaping catches in practice, perhaps a one-handed grab during a preseason game and he’ll be there. The odds of him making the team are long. He has to compete against two veterans, Marques Hagans and Roydell Williams, and a draft pick in Marko Mitchell, to take that fifth spot. But he could provide some lively and interesting moments on his way to the waiver wire.
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