Miami Hurricanes salute to seniors: S Rayshawn Jenkins

Rayshawn Jenkins greets fans after Miami's win at Georgia Tech. (Getty Images)

Rayshawn Jenkins greets fans after Miami’s win at Georgia Tech. (Getty Images)

One in a series of short pieces about each Miami senior leading up to the Hurricanes’ final home game of 2016, Saturday against Duke. 

The rest of the series: 

S Jamal CarterC Alex Gall | RG Danny Isidora | S Rayshawn Jenkins | P Justin Vogel | TE/DE Stan Dobard | CB Corn Elder | WR Malcolm Lewis | CB Adrian Colbert | WR Stacy Coley | FB Gage Batten | FB Marquez Williams | LS Frank Gabriel, five others

* * *

He was a playmaker as a sophomore, lost all of 2014 to a back injury, and can end his career among Miami’s top-10 interception-getters. Safety Rayshawn Jenkins, one of Miami’s oldest players, is enjoying a sweet end to a long college career.

“I’ve been here five years,” he said. “Part of me wants to go. Part of me wants to have another year under my belt with these amazing coaches and my teammates.”

The coaching change, essentially, was a career highlight. Coach Mark Richt, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and their assistants “took me to places I didn’t think I could take myself,’ he said. “They pushed me every day and made me teach the younger guys.”

Jenkins, from Tampa, has nine career interceptions, which is tied for 11th all-time at UM. What’s next? He said he has been invited to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, and hopes for Senior Bowl and Shrine Game invites.

“The next level, that’s all I can really think about right now,” he said. “Finish out these last two games, and start training.”

CBS Sports rates Jenkins 14th among free safeties, and a seventh-rounder or free agent. Does he feel he’s put enough on tape to be drafted?

“Definitely,” he said. “I feel like I have. I feel like my coaches made me do that. They made a big point — they told me I needed to put some good film together. I believe I have.”

He also believes in the future of the program.

“In my opinion, if everybody keeps doing what they’re doing — this is the best I’ve seen it, since I’ve been there — I feel like if everybody keeps on the same path, they can do whatever they want, man,” he said. “They can compete for national championships, ACC championships, and get this place back to where it used to be.”

What makes him feel that way?

“The atmosphere of the place,” he said. “The players love being here. We like being around the coaches. We feel like we’re getting taught a lot. Overall, it’s a better atmosphere to be around.”

 

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