Sept. 17, 2003

by Andrea Manka

As the most experienced player in Notre Dame’s receiving corps, senior wide receiver Omar Jenkins is often called upon to make key plays for Notre Dame’s West Coast Offense. A steady presence on the team, one often hears Jenkins described as consistent. Jenkins would prefer to think of himself as “constantly stepping up his game.”

“I listen to what people what people say, but I take it with a grain of salt. I take that sort of comment and try to be consistently improving,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins has a great deal of respect for the University of Notre Dame, but he never expected he would play here. He started playing football almost by accident, because it looked like fun. Even after he had visited campus during high school, he did not think he would end up playing for Notre Dame.

“I started playing football when I was 12. I saw it on television and thought it looked like fun. All my friends were playing, so I thought ‘Why not?'” said Jenkins. “I never thought I would play at Notre Dame. I came here for a game during my sophomore year in high school, but I never thought that I would actually be able to play here.”

Jenkins is also looked to as a leader on the team, being the most experienced receiver. In addition to making big plays, he tries to bring up the level of the players around him. Jenkins takes a relaxed approach to his leadership position on the team, but is willing to ask his teammates for more.

“Basically, I just want to be someone my teammates can talk to. I want to be able to fire up the team when needed, which is something we need now, more than ever. I also want to be someone who can make big plays when needed,” said Jenkins.

As a leader on the team, Jenkins knows how important it is for the whole team to get in a winning mindset for this week’s game. Jenkins believes that the intensity of practices has changed this week, as the Fighting Irish prepare to take on the Michigan State University Spartans on Saturday at 1:30 (EST) at Notre Dame Stadium.

“The level of mental intensity come up, we know we need to lock down and pick it up,” said Jenkins.