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Class is in session at Jeff Stoutland University

Jordan Mailata helped coin the term, Jeff Stoutland University.
Jordan Mailata helped coin the term, Jeff Stoutland University.

On Sunday Night Football, when fans tune in from home to support their beloved Eagles, the broadcasts are guaranteed to draw a smile – even before kickoff.

When the starting lineups are announced and Jordan Mailata's face flashes across the screen, he proudly says, "Jeff Stoutland University," in place of a college.

Mailata didn't take the beaten path to the NFL. The 6-foot-8, 365-pound natural athlete had formerly played Australian Rugby, competing at the professional level for the South Sydney Rabbitohs earning notice from the league. The Eagles drafted Mailata in 2018 in the seventh round from the NFL International Pathway Player Program – before he had ever played a snap of the football.

Offensive Line Coach and Run Game Coordinator Jeff Stoutland first met Mailata in 2018 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, with the intention of instilling some football knowledge in the young player. He has since coached him into a starting left tackle on an Eagles' offensive line that's commonly regarded as the league's very best.

"He comes across as a bit intense at first, but once you really know who he is and his approach and the way he cares about the players, it doesn't matter what round you were drafted, if you were undrafted, he coaches you the same way he does with the starters," Mailata said.

"I think, in a coach, overall, that's something you want. Someone who cares about you and you really feel it because he will never lie to your face. He will tell you your weaknesses, but he will also tell you where your strengths are and develop you."

Mailata is just one of Stoutland's success stories throughout his storied 39-year coaching career. In his 10th year in Philadelphia, he currently sits as the longest-tenured member of the Eagles' coaching staff.

If there were a Jeff Stoutland University, its students and alumni would include the likes of Eagles legends, multi-year Pro Bowlers, and college football standouts hailing from programs across the country between Southern Connecticut State, Syracuse, Cornell, Michigan State, Miami, and Alabama.

His daughter, Madison Lee, says that the list is far too vast to even attempt to compile. Stoutland said the number is likely in the thousands.

"I don't even know if the math would be possible, honestly. How many people would have attended said university? I think it's probably a pretty scary number, how many people qualify for that," she said.

That was just one of her thoughts while designing a Jeff Stoutland University T-Shirt to sell in support of the Eagles Autism Foundation.

With inspiration from Mailata's intro and the help of the Eagles Autism Foundation Executive Director Ryan Hammond, Madi and her father worked together to create a T-shirt that encapsulates what it means to be part of "Stoutland University."

"Since I was very young, he's had the same structure and the same way he's coached, so it was pretty easy to pinpoint what would really encompass Stoutland University. A pretty straightforward one was, 'Hungry dogs run faster.' I think he's had that probably hung up in his office, to my knowledge, since Michigan State – I was like 5 years old then," she said.

"Whenever I would visit my dad's office, even when I couldn't really write, I'd write like hungry dogs run faster on his whiteboard somewhere."

The shirt, which fittingly is available in green or black, features Stoutland's signature saying and the established date of 1984 – his inaugural coaching year.

"I generally go for a distressed look – and because he's old school and he's been around for a while, the reality is a Stoutland University Shirt would reflect that."

Jeff Stoutland University's Class of 2022
Jeff Stoutland University's Class of 2022

Madi is a brand strategist and designer by trade; she owns her own company, Lovelee, which provides creative services surrounding web development, branded assets, and brand foundation.

The T-shirt project was the first time that Madi and her father's careers overlapped. Amidst another busy football season, Coach Stoutland was grateful to have an opportunity to make football a family affair, spending time with Madi brainstorming designs whenever he had the chance.

"It was actually really cool for her and me to work together. We sat down, she asked me questions, and then I'd tell her what I think it should look like, and then she comes up with it," he said. "She's tremendously talented, so I just let her run with it."

The effort comes much to the pleasure of Stoutland's wife, Allison, a seasoned volunteer at Eagles Autism Foundation events, including the Radiothon, Public Practice Yard Sale, and the Eagles Autism Challenge.

The final product received the line's stamp of approval on Wednesday -- they all sported the new merch and posed on the NovaCare practice field where countless hours of tutoring have taken place.

The shirts can be purchased here now or Sunday night at the Pepsi Plaza before the Eagles take on the Packers. The T-shirts are $30 and 100% of the proceeds will go to the Eagles Autism Foundation.

"We love the Eagles. It was an easy choice for us to do it with Eagles Autism Foundation because we love volunteering and doing whatever we can to help out," Madi said.

"It feels like the Eagles are our family, so it's fun that we can do stuff like this and be involved like this because we've been here for the longest of my life anywhere at this point. It's our 10th year this year that we've been here, so it's just really cool that we can and want to continue to do these things."

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