Jenkins Leads the Way

The Hurricanes were suffering from some lackluster receiver play in the first two games of the season, but senior receiver Darnell Jenkins stepped up on Saturday to become Kyle Wright's main target. Read on to see what Jenkins is saying about coming back from injury, his performance on Saturday, and more.

Senior receiver Darnell Jenkins has had a trying year. A true senior last year, he tore his ACL last season against Louisville and was forced to take a redshirt. During the spring practice, a time where he'd normally attempt to get back on the field and strengthen his knee, he had to leave practice with some personal issues and subsequently fell on the depth chart. Jenkins spoke about overcoming the injury after Saturday's game.

"I feel good now, my knee is 100 percent," Jenkins said in the locker room after the FIU game. "To get out there and make plays, it just makes me want more to help my teammates. We still have a goal to accomplish, to win the ACC, and that's what we're headed towards right now."

"It's a good feeling for my body, letting me know that I still got it. There's nothing wrong, so just go out there and play for your teammates and be 100%."

Jenkins has been adjusting to a new position this year. In previous years, his primary role as a receiver was to line up at either split end or flanker, but this year he is primarily in the slot.

"That is his role," Head Coach Randy Shannon said at Monday's press conference. "Everybody on the team has a role. Darnell doesn't play when there are two receivers in the game. Strictly when we play 3 and 4 receivers, that is his little niche. Like I said, we try and find something for everybody on this team to do. Darnell knows when those two personnel groups come in, he has to block or he has to come in and get into the open field where he can make plays and get us moving on the offensive side of the ball."

Jenkins himself acknowledged that changing positions was an adjustment.

"I'm getting used to it," he said. "It's my first time playing it. I'm kind of getting comfortable. I still have more work to go, but I'm going to do my best to become one of the greatest at that position."

"[There is more] double coverage, a lot of blocking, and you have to know how to read defenses really well, because they can fool you. On the outside it's easier to see, but on the inside it's harder."

The main reason for Jenkins' success on Saturday was FIU's tendency to give up the middle of the field. Quarterback Kyle Wright had great success finding Jenkins on mid range passes above the heads of the linebackers and in front of the safeties.

"They were giving up the middle of the field," Jenkins said about FIU's game plan. "We thought they were going to give up the corner routes, but they were giving up the middle. We said if they were going to play that far behind the middle, then we were going to take it, and that's what we did."

The Hurricanes enjoyed their best day passing of this young season and hope to build on that for the rest of the year. Jenkins spoke briefly about breaking out and what it means for the remainder of the season.

"It was hard until you go out there and have a breakout game, and once you get that breakout game, you have to have consistency to keep that momentum going. A lot of teammates feed off each other and a lot feed off me. I feel good right now and I'm going to continue to make plays throughout the season."

Jenkins and the Hurricanes take on the Texas A&M Aggies on Thursday.

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