The Dreher Blue Devil offseason got quite the boost in late February when it was announced former Blue Devil Corey Jenkins was returning to lead the football program.
It was a much needed boost after the 2021 season ended with a lopsided loss to rival A.C. Flora.
Following his playing days at Dreher, Jenkins was drafted in the first round, 24th overall, by Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox. Later, he was recruited by Lou Holtz at the University of South Carolina and played for the Gamecocks for two seasons. In 2003, he was drafted in the sixth round by the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins. He later played for the Chicago Bears.
Jenkins said returning to Dreher didn’t hit him until he walked through the doors for the first time.
“It has been amazing,” Jenkins said. “The kids have welcomed me with open arms. I know a lot of the kids’ parents. Being here is great. My mom graduated from here. My brothers, sisters, and cousins did as well. This school is a part of my family; it’s a part of our history. To be the head coach here is unspeakable. I couldn’t believe it when it happened. It’s important to me to be the first African American head coach at Dreher. I’m excited about it.”
Despite all of his excitement, Jenkins felt that spring practice started a bit shaky, but overall he was pleased with how his team performed. Now he knows the work must continue.
“Anytime kids get something different, it’s like a toy,” Jenkins said. “It has to be a good toy to keep their interest. The task for the coaching staff is to keep them interested the whole time. One thing that helps keep their interest is winning or at least a vision of the team winning.”
While he didn’t mention any specific names, Jenkins said there were some players who caught his eye during the spring.
He feels the strength of the team will be its unity. Jenkins said he believes the Blue Devils can be pretty good this season, but they need to focus on getting off to a good start and that means being 1-0 after August 19.
He thinks the defense needs to continue working, while the offense is showing signs it could be pretty decent. The quality of special teams is still to be determined, according to Jenkins.
Another big change for Dreher in 2022 comes with reclassification, which moves the Blue Devils from Region 4 in Class 4A to Region 5 in Class 3A.
Dropping down a class will be no less challenging with road trips to Orangeburg-Wilkinson, Brookland-Cayce, and Lower Richland along with home dates against Swansea and Gilbert. Even before the Blue Devils get to that part of the schedule they will be tested. Dreher opens at Keenan before hosting rival A.C. Flora. Trips to Lakewood and Ridge View sandwich a home game against West Florence.
Jenkins’s arrival has brought some positive momentum to a team that needed it. He inherits a program that has won four games over the past three seasons.
Jenkins feels the team needs to believe in what the coaching staff is doing in order to get the program headed in the right direction.
He wants to see his Blue Devils play hard. If they are able to transfer the positive vibes coming from the offseason and spring practice, Dreher could see the momentum turn into some wins.