Jenkins Leaving?

Senior wide receiver Darnell Jenkins suffered a season-ending injury on Sept. 16. Will he be back in 2007?

Darnell Jenkins suffered a season-ending knee injury on Sept. 16 and was expected to receive a medical redshirt enabling him to return in 2007. However, Jenkins indicated he might not return. When asked if there was any thought about him not returning, he responded:

"We will find out what the best decision is for me," said Jenkins, who caught 13 passes for 183 yards in three games this season. "I want to come back, but if it all boils down to it, then I will make a decision (to leave)."

Jenkins, who graduated last week, could transfer to another school and play immediately if he does not enter the NFL Draft.

Jenkins graduated with a degree in liberal arts, which was a goal of his.

In his career, Jenkins has caught 62 passes for 675 yards and four touchdowns. His best game came against Louisville in 2004 when he caught seven passes for 68 yards (both are career-highs).

"My career has had it's ups and downs," Jenkins said. "My freshman and sophomore years I was more like a guy that really wasn't going to play although I had the talent. I was just worrying about who was ahead of me and why and that was my problem. Now, I am more mature and I graduated last week. That is one goal that I achieved and my next goal that I want to achieve is to play in the NFL one day. That is what I am focusing on now and that is how I want my career to end at the University of Miami."

Earning a degree is something that is is "very meaningful" to him and his family.

"I knew I could do it," Jenkins said. "I had my mindset saying I wasn't going to leave until I got my degree. The best thing I got out of that was seeing my family proud of me and having their support. It's just a great feeling because I always heard other players coming back how special that is and I have achieved that. Now I am a part of the alumni."

Jenkins signed with UM in 2002, but did not join the team until the spring of 2003. He has seen a lot of his teammates pursue their careers in the NFL, which is something he expected to do as well.

"It is kind of hard because I expected myself to leave also, but I had to come back another year and watch them pursue their careers in the NFL and some in other careers," Jenkins said. "It's kind of hard of hard to see them leave because I wanted to be in that class, but it didn't work out that way so with God's grace by getting healthy it is just another start for me."

INJURY UPDATE

Jenkins suffered a torn PCL on Sept. 16 against Louisville, but his recovery is progressing at the rate he hoped.

Yesterday, Dr. Uribe said Jenkins will be 100 percent soon. Jenkins is resting his knee right now and working hard in the weight room including squats.

Jenkins feels he will be 100 percent in 2-3 more weeks, which be in time for the NFL combines if he does declare for the draft.

Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com

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