Isidore Newman is a private prep school in New Orleans, which certainly doesn't conjure up images of a football factory churning out NFL talent. But having provided the Giants with two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Eli Manning, it's truly amazing that Manning's high school alma mater also produced first-round wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who figures to help right an offense that has struggled the past two seasons.
Beckham arrives knowing he already has a comfort level with Manning after catching balls from him and big brother Peyton for two summers at the Manning Passing Academy. "He messes with me all the time, calling me 'Greenie' and stuff like that, saying how it's great to have another 'Greenie' on board," Beckham said Tuesday. "So I always joke with him about it."
Believe it or not, "Greenie" is the nickname for Isidore Newman's sports teams. Very preppy, indeed. But opponents may envy the Giants' all-"Greenie" passing combination if the No. 12 overall draft pick turns into the deep threat who can supplant departed free agent Hakeem Nicks.
"It's been pretty surreal, going to the Manning camps and throwing with him," Beckham said. "Back in high school -- I think it was my sophomore or junior year -- he came back to school, and he was throwing. The coach always tells me about how him and Peyton were deciding who gets to throw with me. One day, I was thinking that maybe I'll get to play with one of the Mannings, and now, here I am."
Recalling one particular experience running routes for Manning, Beckham said, "I ran a post, and Eli threw it. Before I could look up, the ball was in your hands. It was something I wasn't used to. It was pretty comforting."
It must be a comforting thought for Manning, too, that Giants general manager Jerry Reese made it a priority to give him a weapon like Beckham, who caught 57 passes for 1,117 yards, a 19.6 average gain and eight touchdowns for LSU last season.
Manning is recovering from offseason ankle surgery and hasn't yet been cleared to run, but Beckham said he has taken some snaps in drills.
"I think it was the first week he was out there," Beckham said of last week's practice sessions. "I didn't see him today."
The presence of former LSU teammate Rueben Randle at wide receiver also has eased Beckham's transition. "When I came into LSU, Rueben taught me the ropes there," Beckham said. "He's teaching me things now."