A few months ago, YouTube.com was the Web site on which Andy Studebaker went to "watch the funny stuff."
Today, he's one of the millions of faces you can find through the site's search engine. Studebaker, a sixth-round pick by the Eagles last month, wants you to know that it wasn't his idea, even though he knows it was a good idea.
"I've been on it to see funny videos," the rookie defensive end said yesterday after the Eagles opened a rookie minicamp at the NovaCare Complex. "I've never posted one. I'm not a huge YouTube guy."
Studebaker is just one of several Eagles rookies whose talent can be seen on YouTube.com. Search for wide receiver DeSean Jackson, and you'll get page after page of highlights and interviews from his careers at Long Beach Poly High School and the University of California. If you want to see why safety Quintin Demps considers himself a playmaker, you can search his name and watch his highlights from Texas-El Paso, including an interception of Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb when Kolb was at Houston.
The Web is a tool that Josh Wright, Studebaker's Chicago-based agent, thought would help the player from Division III Wheaton College. Studebaker spent the second half of his team's season sidelined by a Lisfranc sprain in his right foot, which required surgery. Being from a small school and unable to perform the drills required at the scouting combine in late February, Studebaker was not invited to Indianapolis for the NFL's annual rookie meat-market event.
After being cleared two months sooner than anticipated to run the same drills that are conducted at the combine, Studebaker, through his agent, informed all 32 NFL teams that he was going to work out at Wheaton College, where pro days are about as common as Orange Bowl invitations.
Eagles scout Johnathon Stigall helped run Studebaker's workout, and the team was hoping it would be able to sign the 6-foot-3, 251-pound defensive end as an undrafted free agent. When the workout was over, however, the Eagles decided that if they waited until after the draft to sign Studebaker, he wouldn't be available.
"We knew about him," Eagles general manager Tom Heckert said. "When we first went in there, his coaches said no one had really been in because he was hurt. No one watched him much as a junior because he was at Wheaton, and his senior year nobody had much film to look at. We thought we had a guy who would be a great free agent."
Studebaker's impressive workout, which can be seen on YouTube.com, changed the Eagles' approach.
"We knew it was being videotaped, so we knew it would get out there, and he'd draw some interest," Heckert said. "It was a pretty impressive workout, especially coming off the injury."
Wright said teams already knew about Studebaker and that seven teams were at his pro day. But being able to send a videotape of the workout to all 32 teams gave his client a chance to showcase his athletic ability. In other words, he brought the combine to the teams, since his client couldn't go to the combine.
"It was out to every team about an hour after the workout was over," Wright said. "It was kind of a scale-tipper. It proved he was healthy. He already had shown he could play football and that he was intelligent."
In addition to the impressive workout video, Wright also sent out a series of interviews with Studebaker that had been conducted by the production company Fanfuego.
Studebaker, who is trying to make the transition from defensive end to linebacker with the Eagles, said he can't believe how many people have looked at his workout and interviews on YouTube. The combined number was more than 50,000 as of yesterday.
"I think this whole thing exploded in a different direction than it was intended," Studebaker said. "It seems like it has worked, but it wasn't my brainchild. What you see on tape is somebody else's idea."
The high school interviews and highlights of Jackson weren't his idea, either. His brother, Byron, who is 19 years older and employed as a freelance editor by Fox Sports in Los Angeles, majored in television and film at Long Beach State, where he also played football. Byron was good enough to be invited to two training camps with the Kansas City Chiefs in the early 1990s but never made the team. After Byron's playing days ended, he decided he'd chronicle his brother's career, while also helping him develop his talent by watching the film with him.
Byron made his little brother's recruiting tape, and the lightning-quick DeSean has made plenty of highlights of his own that have since been added to YouTube by people he doesn't even know.
"I'll click on YouTube when my buddies are with me and just try to find some of my best highlights," Jackson said. "My brother used to film me a lot in high school and somehow it got on the Internet. I'm blessed and fortunate that people can go on there and find highlights of me."
Byron Jackson said he's done documenting his brother's career, but it was a labor of love.
"I'm sure with NFL Films, it will be well-documented," Byron Jackson said. "I'm looking forward to sitting back and not watching him through the camera lens. It has been fun. I've been documenting a great athlete who just happens to be my little brother."
Watch video from Eagles rookie camp at http://go.philly.com/studebakerEndText