When Ethan became "Boobie"

Chelsé Lilly

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Editor's Note: This story was originally printed in Dave Campbell's Texas Football's 2023 'Rising' Magazine and written in October of Ethan Feaster's freshman season at DeSoto. 

The night before his flag football championship, a four-year-old Ethan Feaster watched "Friday Night Lights" to learn why his father nicknamed him Boobie.

Feaster was too young for the league's 5u division had his parents not signed a waiver. So he'd only played defense that season. But his team trailed by a touchdown that game with the movie fresh on his mind. So Feaster turned to his coach and shouted Odessa Permian running back James "Boobie" MIles' iconic phrase.

"If you want to win, put Boobie in!"

Now, Boobie Feaster is trending into a household name in Texas. But Ethan Feaster became Boobie in the Shreveport, Louisiana, youth football circuit. He started writing down his football goals at six years old. 

Ethan wanted 10 offers before high school. Boobie's got 31 now. Ethan wanted to start on Varsity as a freshman. Boobie's the first freshman wide receiver to start for Claude Mathis at DeSoto High School. Ethan wanted to be an Under Armour All-American by his senior year, win the Biletnikoff Award in college and make the NFL All-Pro at least seven times. It's up to Boobie to do it. 

Feaster is shockingly comfortable as a 14-year-old playing 6A football. That is, until learning about the years Mathis has spent preparing Feaster for this moment since DeSoto alum and former Arizona State player Courtney Jackson invited Mathis to watch this fourth grader from Louisiana on his youth football team. 

"When he told me about him, I just knew I couldn't lose him," Mathis said.

So Feaster attended a summer camp in fifth grade while his older brother, Matthew Mobley, was a varsity linebacker and worked out with the team. Mathis let him stand on the DeSoto sidelines in eighth grade through the state championship run. 

Feaster watched wide receiver Johntay Cook pledge to the University of Texas at DeSoto's National Signing Day ceremony this past year when Mathis approached him. Cook was the best receiver in DeSoto's history. Boobie could match him. So Boobie studied the varsity playbook before he'd graduated middle school. 

"I wanted to come in prepared so outsiders don't say anything," Feaster said. "They don't have anything to say because I already know the plays. They can't say, 'Oh, they just put him on varsity just cause he's got these offers and things.' I wanted to prove to everybody that I was ready for varsity."

Most incoming ninth graders show up on the first day of high school and just see what happens. Boobie called Mathis while receivers coach Kerry Sweeny was on summer vacation, asking if he could gather all the receivers for a Zoom call to discuss the offense.

"I didn't give him nothing," Mathis said. "He has earned everything."

Boobie Feaster has reached where Boobie Miles was 30 years ago, an impact player in the state's largest classification.

But Boobie Miles's story is a tragedy. An ACL injury ended his college hopes; everyone except his uncle discarded him, and he's been in and out of prison while his likeness became famous. Boobie Feaster can be different. He has a village supporting him. His father coached in Louisiana. His mother is a business education teacher at Cedar Hill ISD's Permenter Middle School with DeSoto memorabilia draped around her classroom. He's close with former LSU receiver John Diarse. His brother navigated DeSoto's program.

"I got so many people that are mentors to me, and they want to see me win," Feaster said. "I've got people I look up to that made the wrong decisions. I've got ones that made the best decisions."

And his program will protect him. That's the benefit of playing for DeSotoU, a program that's morphed into a collegiate regimen the more players they send to Division I. Pair that with Feaster's talent, and that's a scary concoction for the rest of the state. 

"You have a hard time guarding him one-on-one right now," Mathis said. "What the hell are you going to do in two years."


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