LSU sophomore Jaray Jenkins was already enjoying what many would consider a breakout season heading into the Tigers matchup with Arkansas last Saturday.
After redshirting in 2018 and catching just five passes in 2019, Jenkins is currently third for LSU in both yards (277) and receptions (16). Against The Razorbacks, the former Jena standout accomplished something he'd dreamed of doing throughout his childhood — scoring a touchdown for the Tigers.
The score proved to be the game-winner as it gave LSU a 27-24 lead which was the final margin of victory for the Tigers.
"It was it's been a long time since I've been in the end zone," Jenkins said. "...I just knew like my time was going to come with it, like, I knew I'm going to get a touchdown. I just didn't know when.
"But I just knew it was going to be whenever my team needed me and like we needed it at that moment and we made it happen."
Jenkins has emerged as one of LSU's top targets in the passing game this season behind Terrace Marshall Jr. and Arik Gilbert. The 6-foot-4, 194-pound Jenkins however wasn't expected to be.
When discussing potential replacements for 2019's leading receivers, current Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson and the SEC's record holder for touchdowns in a single season, Ja'Marr Chase, Jenkins wasn't mentioned by head coach Ed Orgeron. But Jenkins didn't let that discourage him.
"I knew that it was going to be me," he said. "So like the summer, I saw all the media and whatever, they didn't have my name in there. So I worked hard and I knew that my time was coming and when it came I took advantage of it and I ain't looking back."
Orgeron said he was proud of Jenkins' improvement since going LSU in 2018.
"His first year (he) had to learn how to play football at a Division I level and he did," Orgeron said. "He’ kept on working has turned into a team leader for us.
"He told me before the game he said 'Hey coach! We got this.' And he catches the game-winning pass.
"He is a tremendous young man and again we did not name him but he’s a competitor. Thatjust goes to show you that once you stay around the program, you develop, you'll be able to play here."