Sports

Malcolm Jenkins on Piscataway Chiefs in the NFL: ‘I Think It’s in the Water’

70c88169bd10b3c7c51c_Malcom_Jenkins_cropped.jpg
Malcolm Jenkins, Piscataway Chiefs alum and current NFL player with the Philadelphia Eagles at his Next Level Youth Football Camp (File Photo) Credits: Chris Nalwasky
815a910cda438b8260f3_Tajae_Sharpe_credit_Chris_Nalwasky.jpg
Left: Tajae Sharpe, of the Tennessee Titans, on the sidelines during the Piscataway Chiefs' 2016 championship run. (File Photo) Credits: Chris Nalwasky
70c88169bd10b3c7c51c_Malcom_Jenkins_cropped.jpg

PISCATAWAY, NJ – Throughout the years, the Piscataway High School football teams have been loaded with supreme talent.

The Chiefs have won nine sectional championships in 16 appearances, and head coach Dan Higgins has been a part of all of them in some capacity. Higgins was a ballboy for the team in 1974 when Piscataway, coached by his father, Tom Higgins Sr., topped Colonia to win the Central Jersey, Group 4 title. Now older and a linebacker in high school for the Chiefs, Higgins won the CJG4 title in 1981 against Middletown South.

Since then, he’s come out on top once as an assistant and six more times has a head coach, including this past winter when his Chiefs got revenge against Manalapan in the Central Jersey, Group 5 championship at Rutgers after the Braves bested Piscataway a few weeks prior.

Sign Up for E-News

Besides countless collegiate players, Higgins has also produced three NFL first-round draft picks, one in 2009 and two in 2010, which was enough to dub PHS by some as ‘NFL High’.

With the selections of Malcolm Jenkins out of Ohio State with the 14th pick by the New Orleans Saints in 2009, and Anthony Davis (Rutgers, No. 11, San Francisco 49’ers), and Kyle Wilson (Boise State, No. 29, New York Jets) in 2010, Piscataway High School, at the time, became only the seventh program to have first-round draft picks in consecutive years since 1990. It is not known if it has been done in the last six years.

When Davis, an offensive tackle, and Wilson, a cornerback, were chosen in 2010, PHS became the first school in history to have two first-rounders in the same draft.

“I don’t know. I think it’s the water in Piscataway,” Jenkins told TAPinto Piscataway with a laugh at his Next Level Youth Football Camp held on the high school’s football field last month.

Jenkins, Wilson, and Davis all played together on varsity for one year, in 2004, and what a year it was. The Chiefs went 12-0 and edged-out Phillipsburg, 27-26, in overtime in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 title game. Jenkins helped Piscataway win three consecutive crowns in 2002, 2003, and 2004 before ascending to play for the Buckeyes where he won the Jim Thorpe Award which is given to the nation’s best defensive back as a senior. He finished his Ohio State career with 11 interceptions.

Jenkins was drafted by the Saints as a cornerback and preceded to win Super XLIV as a rookie when New Orleans upset the Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts. The Second Team All Pro and Pro Bowler in 2015 later switched to the safety position and signed closer to home with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014. So far in his career, Jenkins has six defensive touchdowns, 476 tackles, 14 interceptions, 5.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, and eight fumble recoveries.

But he isn’t the only one doing damage in the league. While Davis has since retired twice from the NFL and Wilson is a free agent, two other former Chiefs are currently on teams including Dwayne Gratz and Tajae Sharpe. Gratz, a cornerback, played at UConn from 2008-2012 and was drafted in the third round by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013.

Sharpe broke receiving records at UMass and was taken by the Tennessee Titans in the fifth round of the 2016 draft with the 140th pick. He became the 10th overall player to make it to the NFL in some way.

“There were three first-round picks on my high school team alone between myself, Kyle and ‘AD’ (Anthony Davis),” Jenkins said. “Dwayne Gratz, I literally grew up across the street from him and now we’re teammates on the Eagles. Steven Miller was a block behind me and he was with the (Detroit) Lions (2013-14). Tajae is on the Titans. It’s been a pipeline and it’s impressive to watch and be a part of. I brag about that all the time.”

Having numerous Piscataway guys isn’t the only thing Jenkins brags about to teammates and others. He boasts about the success the Chiefs football program has had over the years, especially being a consistent public school with tons of good players, year in and year out.

“I always try to follow them and see how they’re doing and to see the success that they’ve been able to have over the years has been impressive,” Jenkins said. “It feels great to brag about the team a little bit.

“It’s always good to be back on the map. You can’t win every year, but I’m always proud, too that we’re a public school and we still have the success that we have. I think it’s a tribute to the coaching and obviously the kids that come through the program.”

Right now, Higgins has loads of former players getting ready for college ball, including Rutgers freshman running back, Elijah Barnwell who signed with the Scarlet Knights in February.

If all things work out for the best, maybe he’ll be the next Piscataway product in the NFL.

TAPintoPiscataway.net is an online newspaper serving the Township of Piscataway. Sign up for our FREE daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @PiscatawayTAP.

Businesses: Advertise with TAPinto Piscataway. Click here for more information.

Download the TAPinto App!   Click here for Android.  Click here for iOS.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Piscataway

Steven Cahn for Ward 3 Piscataway Township Council

May 19, 2018

Why I am Running for Township Council:

I am running for re-election for the 3rd Ward Piscataway Township Council position because I want to remain part of the team that has been very successful in making great improvements to our community in recent years. We have been named three times (2008, 2010, 2014) by MONEY Magazine as one of the best towns to live in America. I am also running because ...

Michele Lombardi for Ward 4 Piscataway Township Council

Hello, I’m Michele Lombardi, your Piscataway fourth ward councilwoman. I’m asking for your support in the upcoming democratic primary race on Tuesday June 5th. I care about what happens here in Piscataway.

I have lived in Piscataway my whole life, I was raised by parents who have strong family values and taught me to be involved in my community. My dad was a volunteer firefighter ...

Mohammed Raqeeb for Ward 4 Piscataway Township Council

Mohammed Raqeeb for Ward 4 Piscataway Township Council, June 5 Democratic Primary

1. Why are you running for election for Piscataway Township Council, Ward 4?

Piscataway is a very special place to my family and me. Along with my wife, I have been a homeowner here for 13 years, where we are raising our 3 children. I am running to be the Ward 4 representative on Piscataway’s Township ...

Frank Uhrin for Ward 1 Piscataway Township Council, June 5 Democratic Primary

1. Why are you running for election to the Piscataway Township Council?

Little League baseball and Pop Warner Football have taught me a lot: teamwork matters, hard work counts, and there is a place and role for everyone.I cherish the time I spend as a Little League commissioner and Pop Warner president because the sparkle in every child’s eye when he or she makes a great play or comes to ...

Dr. Tom Connors for Ward 2 Piscataway Township Council, June 5 Democratic Primary

1. Why are you running for election for Piscataway Township Council, Ward 2?

I have been a resident of Piscataway for the past 30 years.   I have been a Democrat my entire life.  I am running for election because I'm tired of Piscataway’s career politicians who have made decades of unfulfilled promises. In my book, they get a failing grade for how they have handled the ...

Staci Berger for Ward 3 Piscataway Township Council, June 5 Democratic Primary

1. Why are you running for election for Piscataway Township Council, Ward 3?

I am running for the Piscataway Township Council Ward 3 position because our community needs new leadership. I will be the independent, principled, and collaborative advocate our neighborhood deserves.

I have been a Piscataway homeowner for 20 years.  I am proud that my husband, Bill Irwin, and I are raising ...

Dr. Jacqueline Littlejohn - Candidate for Piscataway Town Council

Why are you running for election to the Piscataway Township Council?

I am running for election to the Piscataway Township Council because I believe that a vibrant democracy only flourishes when the governed have a voice in their government, be it in the form of compromise, protest, or even becoming viable candidates themselves. I have chosen the latter approach. As a candidate I want to be the ...

The Piscataway Democratic Organization Names its 2018 Ward Slate

The Piscataway Democratic Party is putting forward an incredible slate of ward candidates for the Township Council.  “Frank Uhrin, Jim Bullard, Steven D. Cahn and Michele Lombardi have brought us a 12 percent drop in the tax rate, many new job opportunities for hard working residents, and a rise in property values,” party chair and former mayor, Ted Light said.  ...

New Jersey State Motor Vehicle Commission Returns to South Plainfield

May 21, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – A new state Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) opened its doors in South Plainfield on Monday, just one week shy of a year since the borough’s former agency closed its doors. The office, located at 5000 Hadley Road, will provide in-person services to residents of the borough and the surrounding communities six days a week. 

“I would like ...

Obituaries

Toms River – Mary Stella Whiteman, 97, passed away peacefully Saturday May 19, 2018 in Rose ...
Read more
Piscataway – Reinhard Rudolf Kiefer, 85, died Sunday March 11, 2018 at home. Born in ...
Read more

Relay For Life Top Fundraiser Brianna Cagan – Event Set For June 2

May 20, 2018

When Brianna Cagan’s dad was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, she and her family wanted to do something meaningful to fund cancer research. Brianna, her mom Sue Kelly, and their friends started a started a Relay For Life team called “Pearly Girls.” Seven years later, the high school freshman is the American Cancer Society’s top individual fundraiser for the Berkeley ...

ESCNJ Raises $12,000 at 6th Annual 'Autism Awareness' Fundraiser

For the 6th straight year, the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey's (ESCNJ) Annual Autism Awareness Swim & Play fundraiser on behalf of Autism New Jersey was a great success.

Total funds raised were approximately $12,000, as a result of pledges for laps completed, T-shirt sales, and families participating in arts and crafts activities.

The event received additional ...

Violent Campus Rapist Sentenced in New Brunswick

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - While walking across the Rutgers new Brunswick campus two years ago, a young woman was grabbed, viciously beaten, and raped by a middle-aged man from Newark.  She was saved by several students who intervened on her behalf.  Yesterday, her attacker was sentenced to 22 years in prison with no early release possibility.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey ...

Holy Savior Cheerleading Squad Takes Season by 'Storm'

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy’s (HSA) ‘Biddy’ Cheerleading Squad, the Storm,  recently completed their 2017-2018 season with a first place win in their division at Cheerfest. Held May 12 at Six Flags Great Adventure, the annual multi-state competition featured teams from throughout New Jersey. 

“This cheer season has been such an ...

Suspect Charged in Fatal Hit-and-Run Flees Country

May 22, 2018

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – A 36-year-old suspect charged in the hit-and-run death of a pedestrian May15th has fled the country, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Charges have been filed against Mario Infante, age 36, of New Street, Plainfield, following an investigation by detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office and North Plainfield ...

A Royal Pain

I went to a big wedding over the weekend.  It was in England.

I like to think I was invited, but according to the Royal Guards and the Thames Valley Police I was not.  But more about that later.

You see, not too long ago I received an evite addressed to me from H&M@royalwedbot.co.uk.  Curiously, it was in my spam folder with a warning message. For an evite it was pretty ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...