Newark Star-Ledger Feature Connects UMass With Jets - UMass Athletics

Newark Star-Ledger Feature Connects UMass With Jets

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The Newark Star-Ledger has a feature story on how UMass has so many connections with the New York Jets.

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and assistant general manager Scott Cohen are both graduates of UMass. In recent years, the addition of guard Vladimir Ducasse and safety James Ihedigbo, also Minutemen, further advanced a pipeline that seems to grow by the year.

Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum has developed pipeline from alma mater UMass

Published: Friday, January 14, 2011, 5:00 AM
Jets.JPGJets general manager Mike Tannenbaum is a 1991 graduate of the University of Massachusetts.

In the University of Massachusetts athletic department, there's a collage on the wall that displays the Minutemen who managed to make it to the NFL.

And though it's deep in the heart of Patriots country, there was only one -- Brad Listorti -- who donned New England's red, white and blue. Most around him were coated in the colors of their rival: Jets green.

Even Listorti, currently a free agent, had spent time with the Jets. Many there have simply come to live with the conflicting ties that hang over UMass football.

"It's fascinating, and it is very interesting that there's such a tie between the state university of Massachusetts with the Jets," UMass associate athletic director Jason Yellin said. "It just happens to be where a few things have fallen into place."

But to those around the Jets program, it all makes sense. This weekend's game against the Patriots in Foxborough, Mass., serves as just another reminder that the team plucked some of its most integral parts -- front office and player-wise -- from a school in enemy territory.

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and assistant general manager Scott Cohen are both graduates of UMass. In recent years, the addition of guard Vladimir Ducasse and safety James Ihedigbo, also Minutemen, further advanced a pipeline that seems to grow by the year.

"We talk to the staff up there, they do a good job," Tannenbaum said. "I like to think we get good information as well. I try to help them out when I can with favors."

In the offseason, Tannenbaum has UMass' coaches come up to training camp to visit with the team, learn a little about their operations, and spend time with the Jets coaching staff. Come draft time, there may be an inclination to look at their players when other teams don't.

Star-Ledger reporters preview upcoming Jets game at New EnglandStar-Ledger reporters preview upcoming Jets game at New EnglandStar-Ledger reporters Jenny Vrentas and Conor Orr give their take on this weekend's divisional playoff game against the New England Patriots. Video by John Munson/The Star-LedgerWatch video

"You have to be objective when you're scouting players, but if the stars align and the right guy shows up, it helps," Cohen said.

All this leading to an allegiance that's come to be expected, almost inevitable.

During the Jets' preseason game against the Giants in August, Cohen and Tannenbaum watched their team's secondary get torched by a relatively unknown rookie, Victor Cruz. Six catches, 145 yards and three touchdowns later, the two were being harangued by those around them.

Cruz went to UMass. Everyone wanted to know how they could have possibly missed him.

"We were kidding our scouts (about) that, and maybe we didn't do a good enough job researching guys at UMass," Cohen said. "That's one that slipped through the cracks."

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