OGDEN, Utah — Every father’s nightmare is that call in the middle of the night to tell the family of an accident on the road.
But then there’s the dream-come-true call that Brandon Jenks received Monday night when his boy Kaden called from Ogden, Utah to tell him he’s been named the starter at quarterback for Weber State University. The work, the dedication to excellence, the family sacrifice had all paid off, at least for the time being.
On Monday, Weber State coaches named Jenks as the man to lead the Wildcats’ offense in the opener against Utah when the school released its Week 1 depth chart.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Brandon Jenks said of the phone call. “You watch what they go through to make it happen. There’s so much work to get to that point. Hopefully, it’s a little bit of a reward for all the work he’s put in over the years to get to that point.”
Kaden Jenks signed with Weber State in 2017 and red-shirted last season. He and sophomore Jake Constantine shared the first-team reps in practice after senior Rathen Ricedorff suffered a hamstring injury and was limited.
“He’s been playing great. I like what he gives us with his legs and his arm. He’s got a strong arm. He’s athletic. I like where he was at,” head coach Jay Hill told the Ogden Standard-Examiner. “I don’t know that it came down to one miraculous day, just that over time, we liked how Kaden was playing.”
It’s been a long road from Washington state Class 1A football to the FCS program in Ogden. Jenks was 27-0 as the starter his final two seasons at Royal, leading the Knights to back-to-back 1A state championships.
Kaden Jenks, who had a 45-6 record as a four-year starter, finished his senior season as The Associated Press 1A Player of the Year, throwing for 2,506 yards and 36 touchdowns. More, he had 45 touchdown passes as a junior in addition to 546 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns his senior season.
“He’s had to compete against some pretty good quarterbacks for the job (at Weber State), but I’m not surprised with his determination,” Washington Coaches Association Hall of Famer and Royal head coach Wiley Allred said. “He’s got a lot of arm talent and a good head on his shoulders. He’s come a long ways since I first started working with him.
“College football is a tough game and he’s got a tough opener against Utah, but he’s got the personality to work through it all.”
It could not be confirmed whether or not Kaden Jenks is the first student-athlete from Royal City to start at a major university, but he’s certainly in a class of his own. He’s been working on a dream for a long time and now he has a chance to compete on the big stage against a Utah team ranked in both The Associated Press and Coaches’ polls
“I’m not a Todd Marinovich kind of dad (drill sergeant, overbearing), but I would say he exceeded my expectations already to tell you the truth,” Brandon Jenks said. “I never have been the one pushing the button, telling him what to do. This is a kid that decided at an early age this is what he wanted to be and he’s worked hard to get there.”
Weber State opens the season today on the road against Utah.