Former OSU standout Jalen McCleskey has 2 catches at Tulane
Jalen McCleskey left OSU a year ago ranking sixth all-time in catches for a Cowboy, with 167. He transferred to Tulane and through two games with the Green Wave, McCleskey has two catches total, for seven yards.
Quite a comedown from the quick slotback who stepped into the role Josh Stewart role and became a favorite of Mason Rudolph. McCleskey had reception totals of 29, 73 and 50 his first three seasons.
But after four games and 15 catches last season, McCleskey left the team, taking advantage of the new redshirt rule that allows a player to retain his season of eligibility if he plays fewer than five games. McCleskey transferred to Tulane, where his dad, former New Orleans Saint J.J. McCleskey, had become an assistant coach.
Theories abounded on McCleskey’s decision. Clearly, playing for his father was attractive. And there was talk that McCleskey was unhappy in his role, which McCleskey sort of confirmed to New Orleans media. There even was speculation that McCleskey was not happy with the 2018 OSU quarterback situation, when fifth-senior Taylor Cornelius won the job and kept it. The latter scenario was only flamed by coach Mike Gundy, who threatened to ban access for media that asked players about McCleskey.
In March, McCleskey told the New Orleans Advocate that “it was about being able to do a little bit more things, but for the most part it was my dad was a coach here and being able to be with my family. It was my mom for sure being able to come to all the games and I can go home. It’s going to be really fun.”
J.J. McCleskey was not in coaching his son’s first three years at OSU but joined the Tulane staff for the 2018 season, causing him to miss those first four game of Jalen's senior season.
But the “do a little bit more” hasn’t worked out. McCleskey was an integral part of OSU’s offense for virtually all of his time in campus. Only Rashaun Woods, Justin Blackmon, James Washington, Hart Lee Dykes and Stewart have caught more OSU passes than McCleskey. McCleskey figured to move up to No. 4 on the all-time list with his established production.
McCleskey left OSU with 167 catches (sixth on the all-time list), 1,865 receiving yards (13th) and 17 touchdown catches (ninth). But McCleskey had one catch for five yards against Florida International and one catch for two yards against Auburn. He was targeted 10 times total in those two games, but this is not OSU. Quarterback Justin McMillan has completed 24 of 51 passes this season.