Jaray Jenkins’ Path to the Pylon

Published: Nov. 26, 2020 at 10:01 AM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (KALB) - Scoring a touchdown as a LSU Tiger is something Jaray Jenkins has dreamed of and against Arkansas, that dream became reality.

“It was crazy because I know that a lot of people from Jena don’t make it out,” Jaray said. “As a kid, it was my dream to score a touchdown for the Tigers.”

With minutes left in the game, LSU quarterback T.J. Finley found a wide-open Jenkins in the back of the end zone—one giant goal that started in Jena.

“It’s always exciting anytime he makes a play,” Jena head coach Jay Roark said. “We get excited around our house. He’s such a great kid, a hard worker, and I’m just so proud of that young man.”

Jaray has a strong support system at home. The Jena community has watched him grow and saw him sign with LSU in 2017.

More than 300 people in the community have ordered number 10 jerseys, the number Jaray wears.

His father, John, has been proud during every moment.

“He’s really worked hard through these years trying to get to the next level,” John said. “For me, being a parent that’s working with him, words can’t describe how you feel at the time. It’s even harder to describe after seeing him score his first touchdown.”

Jaray’s journey to Baton Rouge didn’t come easy.

He sat out his senior season because of a broken leg, making his high school dreams become a nightmare.

“The doctors told him he wasn’t going to be able to play anymore in his senior year,” John said. “He cried because he really wanted to play. We thank God that LSU called the next day and let him know that his scholarship was still good when a lot of schools were backing away.”

“I had coaches that would pushed me,” Jaray said. “I guess they saw the greatness in me. They pushed me to be the best. There were days that I didn’t want to go hard in practice, but they pushed me because they knew of my ability and what would be the outcome. I think back, and I want to thank them for pushing me. It made me the man I am today.”

LSU stood by him, and the investment has paid off.

This season Jaray has caught 16 passes, for 277 yards, and that one touchdown.

“Early on, you could see his ability in practice,” LSU linebacker Jabril Cox said. “He’s one of those underdog receivers that people don’t give a lot of credit to. He’s one of those guys that comes in, works hard every day, and everything that he’s put in from early on is showing on the field. He’s been doing a great job at that.”

“He has done a tremendous job,” LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said. “He is one of our most improved football players. He has come here and done a tremendous job. I’m so happy about what he’s doing. I think we need to get him the ball more. I know he represents Alexandria and that area. He’s very proud. He’s a great young man and I’m happy for him.”

The path to the pylon for Jaray is a trip that has led to one special touchdown.

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