For Devante Jenkins, Every Snap of the Football Means Showtime
Photo Credit: New York Streets
New York Streets wide receiver Devante Jenkins did not always have the speed that makes him so dangerous on the field.
“Not at all,” Jenkins told Prime Time Sports Talk. “I just continued to work to try and perfect my craft, just catching a lot of footballs, working on routes, lifting weights, and looking at some things that people do well.”
From Carson, California, Jenkins has an older brother, older sister, and twin sister.
“We were always competitive growing up,” Jenkins said. “My brother was always pretty good at basketball and all types of different sports so I always looked up to him and tried to be better than he was. My sisters always had high expectations for me and always pushed me to keep doing what I’m doing and chase my dreams.”
In Carson, it was easy for young kids like Jenkins to fall in with the wrong crowd. He, along with his friends took to sports as a distraction and a possible way out.
“A lot of us decided to play sports to get to a better community to see each other and stay out,” Jenkins said. I’m not really a person who likes to stay in I’d rather be out [doing something].”
Jenkins decided to take his talents to the East Coast attending Southern Connecticut State University, a school with a Division II football program.
After graduating college, Jenkins waited for his opportunity when the phone rang and his life changed forever. The National Arena League’s Maine Mammoths called and offered the Southern Connecticut State alum his first chance at professional football.
“I was excited,” Jenkins said. “I was at home and I wasn’t sure if I was going to play and when coach [James] Fuller called me last year, it was just a blessing and I felt like it was my opportunity to get back out there and show what I can do and I can showcase my talent. I was just very grateful for the opportunity
Going from outdoor to indoor. It was all about patience learning to play a new type of football.
“It was all about how you act quicker, move a little faster,” Jenkins said. “You also have to control your speed here a little more than outdoor, there was a few things that I had to get accustomed to playing arena.”
In his rookie year, Jenkins caught 26 passes for 201 yards and a score. Ranked fourth on the team behind Edgar Poe, Devin Wilson, and Rob Brown.
It was good enough for a starting franchise in the New York Streets looking for talent, to call Jenkins.
Jenkins made a huge sophomore leap. So far this season, the former Mammoth has recorded 71 catches for 804 yards and 18 scores which ranks second behind Poe.
In arena football, Jenkins has become a name and owes his success to the man upstairs.
“All glory to God,” Jenkins said. “It’s a blessing to be able to still play this wonderful game and do the things I’m able to do and I’ve played with a lot of different teammates and I’m just blessed to continue to be able to work hard and try to get to the next level.”
His ability earned him the nickname, ‘Showtime’ which he says came along when he was playing on the basketball court as a kid.
“I used to play basketball when I was younger and I was electrifying out there,” Jenkins laughed. “The way I used to play, it was just a show every time and I got the nickname in middle school and it stuck with me ever since.”
It has stuck with teammates but Jenkins admits he has to get it to stick with fans.
“I gotta get it out there a little bit more,” Jenkins laughed. “Hopefully my game speaks for itself.”