A handful of Rock Hill college football players had memorable 2017 season-opening performances on Aug. 31, but none more than former Rock Hill Bearcat Jaleel Scott.
The New Mexico State senior wide receiver snagged a one-handed pass for a touchdown against Arizona State, shown on national TV. The play then made No. 3 on SportsCenter’s top-10 plays of the night.
The catch quickly went viral online, with many commenters already declaring it the catch of the college football season.
“I’m a shy person so when I seen my phone I was like, ‘wow,’” Scott told reporters after the game.
Six feet 6 inches tall, Scott easily out-jumped 5-foot-10 cornerback Kobe Williams, threw a hand up and snagged the football, and tapped his right foot down in the end zone for the second quarter touchdown. Scott said he lost the ball in the bright stadium lights as it came toward him.
“Something just told me ‘put one hand up,’” he said. “I just think that’s a blessing for that to happen.”
He added another TD catch later in the game, a 29-yarder, and finished the night with a career-high eight catches for 149 yards and two scores. He had 23 catches the entire 2016 season.
“I didn’t really realize what was going on. It felt surreal,” Scott said. “But I just played for my team. We didn’t win so I’m not satisfied with that. I know next week my preparation will be two times harder so we can get that win.”
Scott and the Aggies narrowly fell to Arizona State, 37-31. They next face New Mexico, another chance for Scott, who spent two years at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa, to further cement his spot on NFL scouts’ watch lists.
“It gives me that drive that this is not enough,” Scott said. “I want more. I’m hungry.”