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The Grind: Oak Ridge senior Darrius Jelks is a workhorse

Relentless and confident are two strong words to characterize Oak Ridge wide receiver Darrius Jelks.

Jelks is a returning senior player for the War Eagles, who loves being able to come together on the field with his many brothers, coaches and support staff.

Pre-War Eagle football time, Jelks attended a Klein Collins zoned school — Schindewolf Jr. High School. He played football there before transferring to ORHS for his freshman year, where his football career rapidly advanced.

He connected with new coaches, peers and techniques during off season that gave him a push to increase his skill level, not only on the field but also as an individual.

“The work ethic Darrius has is truly second to none. His goals are set high and he is very consistent to match his work ethic to the goals set,” Oak Ridge co-offensive coordinator Kevin Goodwin said.

Jelks expressed that Coach Goodwin is one of the coaches who has helped him on a lengthy path of goals and confidence. He knows it will positively continue for whatever Jelks’ future may hold, on or off the field.

During the ORHS vs TWHS football game, Jelks had five receptions and many more different eye catching plays/saves. He never gave up after some mishaps, and was a leader to others with his encouraging words to his teammates not to give up.

Despite the hard loss, Jelks did not let his head down, but used the game as a lesson for himself, and his teammates on what needed to be improved.

A loss in the community’s biggest game of the year can be a hard pill to swallow, but it opened Jelks’ eyes to what he needed to do as a leader of the team.

Jelks is determined to be a leader for the War Eagles (PHOTO: Randi Uber - VYPE U)

During the ORHS vs KCHS game, Jelks appeared to have a clear mind from the negativity brought by the previous game (TWHS).

It reflected well on his playing skills, as all fans could tell that Jelks had brushed that loss off and was ready to play at his best. It also was a special chance for Jelks to play some of his former junior high teammates and friends from Klein Collins.

“Darrius is a kindhearted plus strong friend and teammate,” Oak Ridge senior Kendrick Johnson said. “He’s trustworthy and hardworking in any situation, but is also a full-time team leader.”

Johnson and Jelks have been teammates and close friends the past few seasons, and the running back has full confidence in Jelks as a leader and positive role model for the team.

That leadership shows up on and off the field, especially when the entire Oak Ridge program is practicing together.

For Jelks, his biggest supporters are his mom and dad.

His mom would describe him as a determined person...determined to work hard and always give his all in all positions. Negative or positive he is committed to grow from it and improve.

His father likes to portray him as hard working.

Jelks is a pure hard-worker, whether in a classroom, the weight room or on the field. He simply refuses to give up.

No matter what is happening, he won't relinquish his job. Nor will he surrender.

Randi Uber is a student at Oak Ridge HS and member of the VYPE U Ambassador Program. To learn more about how you can become a VYPE U Ambassador at your school...


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Oak Ridge High School - Football
Oak Ridge High School - Football
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