Jennings High School has produced some great running backs in recent years including the brother tandem of Travis and Trevor Etienne. Travis played at Clemson and currently is the starting running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars while his younger brother Trevor is coming off a Freshman All-SEC campaign at Florida. Despite the Etienne brothers being incredible talents and having promising careers ahead of them, there is another Jennings running back coming up that could be just as good coming up in Re’John Zeno.
Legendary Jennings head coach Rusty Phelps has coached both Etiennes and he has even said that Zeno possesses qualities that blend both star running backs that played before him.
“It means everything to me because both of them are very smart and talented players. I feel as if I stay focused and continue to work hard, I’ll continue the tradition going. It would mean a lot to me because I would feel as if I accomplished one of my goals.”
Being compared to two of the best running backs that have ever gone through Louisiana by a coach that has coached both of them is quite an honor, but having the opportunity to learn under one of them has helped him become the talented running back he is now.
“A college running back that I model is Trevor Etienne because I was able to play his senior year with him. I also watched him play in previous years, going to the Dome, and I learned a lot of football knowledge from him. He is also a great person on and off the field.”
Now, he is looking to take the advice that was given by Trevor Etienne to help himself find a place to play at the next level. At 5’10, 180 pounds, Zeno is only entering his junior season in 2023, but he wants to put colleges on notice, especially in a loaded 2025 running back class for Louisiana.
“My goals are to just go out there on the field on Friday nights and make my family proud, get coaches to start looking at me, and give the city what they been looking for.”
He has already started to put work in by attending the second Gridiron Football Elite Camp of 2023 at Eunice, Louisiana. Nicknamed “2Quick”, Zeno was indeed that at the camp by running the fastest 40 (4.53) and fastest shuttle (4.18) there. After the camp, Zeno talked about what he thought about his performance at the camp and why he thought it was important to have a good showing.
“My goals heading to the camp was to just show up and be the best me I can be. I definitely feel like I accomplished my goals.”
What helped him in getting those numbers was his experience in running track, which translates well to playing on the football field.
“I run track. It helps with stamina and keeps me active and running during the off-season.”
As an extra reward for having a phenomenal performance at the Gridiron Football Elite Camp, Zeno received an offer to play in the Gridiron Football All-American Bowl Game at the end of the year.
“It means a lot to me being invited to play in the Gridiron Football All-American Bowl Game. I am starting to feel like I’m climbing to top. I’m truly blessed to be able to play and achieve my goals. I cannot wait to compete against some of the best guys in the country. Thanks for this opportunity!”
Zeno hopes to carry the positive momentum from the Gridiron Football Elite Camp to the rest of the upcoming offseason and 2023 year.
“My plans this offseason are to go to a few camps, work hard, learn something new, and just get better everyday.”
“Heading into my junior season, this off-season I want to improve on my balance, footwork, and vision of the field.”
He may be only an upcoming junior, but the star Jennings running back has been around the sport for quite a long time and all he wants to do is be around the sport for plenty of more years to come.
“I have been playing contact football all my life. Like as a kid, we have this big field next door and the whole neighborhood would come and we all would just play tackle football until it got dark.”
“I love the game so much because I grew up watching the Jennings Bulldogs play. I always wanted to be one and I feel as if football has its own spot in my heart no one will ever replace.”
Not only is he now a Jennings Bulldog, but Zeno is expected to be one of the Bulldogs’ biggest stars. Last season, he ran for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns while showing his receiving skills with 334 yards and five touchdown catches. While those are good numbers, what he will remember most about his sophomore year was the big impact he made in giving Coach Phelps his last playoff win of his career as he retired at the end of last season.
“The game that stuck out to me was a Round 1 playoff game against Plaquemine. It meant a lot to me because the beginning of the second half, I ran for a 92-yard touchdown for the first time and I just feel as if it gave the team a little more momentum to keep going and not let up off of the gas.”
Zeno is looking to make plenty of more great memories the next two seasons with the players that help him score on Friday nights.
“My favorite part about football is having teammates that are there for you. When you fail, they help you get back up and shake it off and go on to the next play.”
As a running back, Re’John Zeno is always looking to what’s ahead of him and not behind. Leading the Bulldogs to a championship while trying to get college offers is what his biggest focus is on.
Although he has yet to receive any offers, Zeno is certain that they will be coming soon as he wants to play for programs like LSU, Tennessee, Clemson, Georgia, and Florida.
“My message to college coaches that are looking for a player with my skill set is to go get him. Don’t wait until it is too late.”
Knowing his potential and what he brings to the table as one of the best up and coming running backs in Louisiana, there will once again be a lot of eyes on another talented running back from Jennings High School.