ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The idea initially came from Jimmy Landes’ older brother, John. He’s the one who got Jimmy started snapping footballs. John Landes said he knew the guys from Dude Perfect, a YouTube channel where five friends perform trick shots and hold goofy competitions, from a shared Bible study at Texas A&M. He saw them trying trick shots before they became famous.
So John suggested to his brother that he try to trick long-snap. John mentioned it again after Johnny Manziel, who John said grew up near the Landeses in Tyler, Texas, did a Dude Perfect video at Texas A&M. Then John forgot about it until Jimmy called one night.
“[He] said, ‘Hey, I’m about to text you this link. Just watch it,’" John said. “I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s never good. That’s never good with that phone call.’ So I clicked it and he had already done it.
“It was a total curveball.”
“It” was Jimmy’s own high-difficulty version of a Dude Perfect trick snap. Jimmy snapped the ball from the top of McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas, into a garbage can filled with pylons.
Jimmy said he finally completed the trick on about his 35th attempt, but that he actually made it once before they started filming and then had another bounce into the can and out around snap No. 15, necessitating the additions of pylons to the trash bin to give added weight.
“I had to aim at the left foul pole, excuse me, field goal post,” said Jimmy, who was also a former baseball player at Baylor. “Yeah, foul pole, that’s baseball right there. Got in at the left field goal post and you could see the ball just curve to the right and it dives down at the last second.
“Had to try to aim it.”
Not surprisingly, Jimmy’s feat went viral fairly fast, giving last season's best long-snapper in college football a little bit of notoriety entering his final season. The shot didn’t compare to the last weekend in April, though, when Jimmy was stunned to hear his name called as a sixth-round pick by the Detroit Lions.
He wasn’t expecting it. John said Jimmy handicapped his chances of being drafted at around five percent. The pick came toward the end of the sixth round, while Jimmy was actually hanging out with family and friends in Tyler. He later joked with Detroit media, “I missed my flight to Chicago on Thursday” for the draft.
“I was very surprised,” Jimmy said. “I was expecting free agency just because I know long-snappers rarely get drafted. So I wasn’t expecting anything in the draft. Man, this is a great surprise.
“What an honor, to be drafted as a long-snapper. Just so excited that the Detroit Lions [drafted me] and ready for the journey that is ahead of me.”
It was a journey started by John when he was a senior at Lee High School in Tyler and Jimmy was a freshman. John had been Lee’s center, so he spent the spring of his senior year teaching Jimmy how to long-snap in 20- to 30-minute sessions at the end of spring practices.
John said he never told Jimmy that because he was a Landes, he had to play center. That instruction, John said, came from the team’s offensive line coach. Neither brother imagined then it would lead to Baylor, a viral video and eventually a NFL accomplishment -- becoming a long-snapper drafted to specifically play that position.
John, showing a glimpse of the personality the Lions will be getting in his younger brother, explained the scene at the family home after the improbable happened. Jimmy had started to get a little nervous, but felt confident he’d have a team, somehow, someway, by the end of the day. When the phone call came, Jimmy’s parents, Drew and Jamie, got emotional. So did his grandparents.
Then, Jimmy got off the phone with the Lions.
“The first comment was to tell his family and friends and the guys around him, the first thing he wants them to know is that he spoke to [Lions owner] Mrs. [Martha] Ford,” John said. “And he hopes she doesn’t know he drives a Chevy.”
This is the Lions' potential new long-snapper -- if he beats out Don Muhlbach -- a joke-telling, prank-pulling, karaoke-signing, trick-snap-performing personality.
And he’s already thought about his next trick.
“I was thinking about going to the Farrell Center in Waco, that’s our basketball center, and snapping it into the goal, but never had time to do it," Jimmy said.
“You never know, I could come out with some Dude Perfect stuff.”
They, after all, were one of his inspirations. Maybe one day, he'll partner in a Dude Perfect video.