Aug. 7, 2010

By Jeff White (

CHARLOTTESVILLE — In recent episodes of “Virginia Football: The Building of a Program,” Nick Jenkins has been featured prominently in segments on Brandon Hourigan’s offseason strength-and-conditioning program.

He’s never looked fitter, and the redshirt junior defensive tackle from Westminster, Md., confirms that he’s in the best shape of his life.

“Absolutely,” Jenkins said. “This is the lightest I’ve been since high school.”

The heaviest he’s weighed as a Cavalier, Jenkins said, was 305 pounds, before the 2008 game against Virginia Tech. But he doesn’t worry that he’s now too lean to win battles against opposing linemen.

“I’m very comfortable going at 275,” Jenkins said. “In the last three or four months, with Coach Hourigan’s program, I’ve been able to lose weight and still get stronger, in every lift that we’ve done.”

A nose tackle in Al Groh’s trademark 3-4 defense, Jenkins has different responsibilities in the 4-3 that Mike London and new defensive coordinator Jim Reid installed. At 275 pounds, Jenkins said, he’s better equipped to meet them.

“I’m able to run, just run and run, and that’s what we need,” he said. “Our whole defense needs to be able to run and run, and losing weight is what I needed to do.”

Of the Wahoos’ five captains, only Jenkins is not in his final year of eligibility.

To be in such a position “feels nice, especially being a younger guy and having a lot of the younger guys as well look up to me,” said Jenkins, a graduate of Good Counsel High School.

“It’s a pretty special feeling, and I just feel like every day at practice, I have to go out there and work, and I owe that to them to go out and be accountable for that.”

Jeff White


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