Up and Comer

Darnell Jenkins is a sophomore wide receiver from Miami Central High School. On the season he has 14 catches for 140 yards and one touchdown. Jenkins and his teammates are working hard in practice in preparation for a game against North Carolina tonight at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2.

Wide receiver Darnell Jenkins made probably the most important catch of the season against Louisville. Miami was losing to Louisville 38-34. There was only 1:52 left on the clock, and it was fourth down and four yards to go. Brock Berlin saw a streaking Darnell Jenkins run across the field and hit him for a five yard gain. It was a play that kept Miami's drive alive, and season alive as Miami went on to win the game.

Jenkins, a 5-10 183 pound sophomore, finished that game with 7 receptions for 68 yards. Jenkins says it is no surprise that the receiving corps is starting to produce. With the extra work in practice, and the extra time that is going into film study, results were bound to come.

"After working hard in practice we would stay after and work with the quarterbacks on our receiving," Jenkins said. "We are correcting our mistakes each week and as games go on we are making less mistakes. We are studying film more."

Jenkins says that the hard work stems from the criticism that the receivers received. They were tired of being the scapegoat, so they went out and worked on their timing and route running after practice. The offense wanted to correct its mistakes, and get better as a unit.

"Yeah we took it personal because the only perception people had on the receivers was that we were dropping balls and not getting open. We took it upon ourselves and coach C.J. stressed to us that if we wanted to be great you have to do the extra work like watching more film and running route trees (hitch, slants, and outs) after practice."

"The production gives us a little boost because everyone thought of Miami as a defensive team and that the offensive wasn't progressing right," said Jenkins. "Coach Werner ran us to death after one game and told us not to let it happen any more. We had to correct our mistakes and get better as an offensive unit to help the offense."

Not only has the extra time had an effect on the receivers, quarterback Brock Berlin has been more productive as well. The receivers and quarterbacks started to do the extra work before the Georgia Tech game. Since that game Berlin has thrown for 773 yards for a 57 completion percentage. He has also thrown 11 touchdown and just two interceptions. Jenkins says he can see Berlin's confidence rising.

"He is throwing the ball a lot better because he is feeling more comfortable. He knows our speed now as a receiver corps. After practice he makes sure he gets the timing down with the receivers when they run their routes. It feels comfortable and doesn't feel any pressure. He is throwing the ball a lot better."

As Miami is in the hunt for their sixth national championship, Jenkins says what the receivers have to do the rest of the season is rather simple.

"The key is to stay healthy and keep doing what we are doing. Keep watching film and doing extra work after practice. And basically just play football."

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