Devante Jenkins wants to play every game to the best of his ability
Edgar Ayala – Sports Writer
After an impressive outing in the season opener that saw him record three touchdowns against Gannon University, junior Devante Jenkins hopes to continue leading the Owls on offense, and more.
Although a junior, this is Jenkins first season with Southern after transferring from El Camino Community College in Torrance, California.
Yet he didn’t look or play like a newbie after having seven receptions, 84 yards and three touchdowns in his debut for Southern Connecticut.
“I always hold myself to high standards,” said wide receiver, Jenkins. “I wouldn’t say I expected to score three touchdowns, but I expected myself to have a big game.”
“I started off slow in the first two quarters, and that got stuck in my head at the half. My teammates know what I’m capable of, so I feel like I owed them a bigger performance in the second half,” he said.
Surprisingly, this is only Jenkins fourth year playing competitive football. Since he was a child, he has been playing flag football, but it wasn’t until his junior year of high school that he decided to do tackle football.
From his time at North Torrance High School, he managed to get All-State selection, earned Most Improved Player and Offensive MVP, reaching state finals and serving as the team captain his senior year.
He has stated that earning MVP last year for El Camino Community College has been his biggest accomplishment to date.
“I haven’t been playing football for a long time, so I had to work harder to reach the level that some of my teammates were at,” Jenkins said. “So when I got the MVP award over people that have played their whole life, that to me is a huge accomplishment.”
Incidentally, offensive coordinator for the football team, Chris Bergeski, said Jenkins has been progressing so well that scoring three touchdowns in his debut didn’t come as a surprise to him.
“He’s definitely a big-play type of player,” said Coach Bergeski, “he’s got a natural knack for attacking the ball when it’s in the air. It’s not a total surprise, but he definitely came out the way you want to come out in the first game.”
Despite arriving to Southern this year, Bergeski stated that Jenkins will be a key player throughout the season and also noted the leadership role he has created within the team.
“He’ll be big for us, obviously as a player, but just as important as an offensive leader,” Bergeski said. “He’s got tons of abilities to make plays, that’s obviously a plus, but the leadership role within the team and of the offense is just as important.”
But with every catch a receiver makes, there’s always a quarterback behind that throw.
Robert Nittolo, a redshirt freshman quarterback for the Owls, said he always tries to find Jenkins upon snapping the ball. He added that Jenkins is a natural-born catcher and is quick in the air too.
“Every time I connect with him, he never seems to disappoint me,” Nittolo said.
Jenkins returned the favor and praised Nittolo, but said he had one message to all his supporters at Southern.
“You can expect me to play every game to the best of my ability, always giving my 100 percent,” Jenkins said. “I can promise you action, excitement and big plays.”
It’s those big plays that Jenkins will need to make in their next home game against the University of New Haven, Friday Sept. 25.
Photo Credit: Tyler Korponai – Photo Editor