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Football: Offensive player of the year

Darius Jennings, Gilman, quarterback, senior

If you watched Jennings score the final rushing touchdown of his Gilman career, you saw exactly what makes him The Baltimore Sun's Offensive Player of the Year.

After taking the snap in the Wildcat offense against archrival McDonogh and stepping through a hole in the line, the senior quarterback ran as if he were shot from a cannon, flying 54yards for the touchdown.

The cornerstone of a lethal Greyhounds running game, Jennings became their all-time leading rusher with 4,338 career yards on 493 carries and 53 touchdowns. This season, he led No.2 Gilman to a 7-2 record with wins over Good Counsel, DeMatha and McDonogh and was named an Under Armour All-American and the Gatorade Maryland Player of the Year.

Opponents knew what he was going to do — they just couldn't stop him. In an instant, Jennings accelerated into a gear most other humans don't have.

"He's the fastest kid I've ever played against," veteran Calvert Hall lineman Dan Yarborough said. "It's the Darius factor. You can't catch him. He has that kind of speed that might not be on paper. He's not a 4.1[-second 40-yard dash] guy, but I don't think a 4.3 guy is catching him. I don't think his feet touch the ground."

This season, Jennings, 6 feet, 180 pounds, amassed 2,248 total yards and scored 24 touchdowns. He ran for 1,592 yards on 165carries for 19 touchdowns. He also returned five kickoffs for 220yards and two touchdowns and was 29-for-50 passing for 425yards and three touchdowns.

"He is a lights-out football player," Gilman coach Biff Poggi said. "If you make one mistake, if you have one of your 11 chess pieces out of place, he is going to take it to the house and you're going to pay dearly, and there aren't many players in the country that can do that. They can hurt you, but they can't take it 99[yards] and hurt you. He can take it 99 and hurt you."

A repeat first-team All-Metro selection, Jennings will play in the Under Armour All-America Football Game on Jan. 5 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. He will also play in the Chesapeake Bowl on Dec. 30 at Towson University.

Jennings, rated the No. 2 recruit in the nation in the athlete category by Scout.com, has narrowed his college list from 35offers to six: Maryland, Ohio State, UCLA, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. He plans to take his official visits in the next few months and make his decision by Signing Day on Feb. 2.

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