■ Enunwa be­com­ing a fa­vorite of Darnold, Jets fan base,

The Palm Beach Post - - SPORTS - By Den­nis Waszak

FLORHAM PARK, N.J.— Quincy Enunwa catches passes, takes big hits and dishes out some vi­cious shots of his own.

The New York Jets wide re­ceiver has be­come a fan fa­vorite for his phys­i­cal style and re­li­able hands — and those im­pres­sive at­tributes have quickly made him a go-to guy for rookie quar­ter­back Sam Darnold.

“First of all, Q is a great dude, so it’s easy to de­velop a rap­port in that way,” Darnold said. “With how smooth he is route run­ning, he’s smooth but he’s also phys­i­cal. He’s very sud­den, a very quick dude. It’s awe­some to be able to throw to him. The routes that he runs are very crisp, but again very vi­o­lent at the same time.”

Enunwa was the Jets’ lead­ing re­ceiver in their 48-17 rout of the Detroit Lions on Mon­day night. He was tar­geted 10 times by Darnold and had six catches for 63 yards and a touch­down — a play which he dragged two would-be tack­lers on his back as he reached over the goal line.

“I just try to make sure that I’m do­ing what I need to do, even when I know the ball’s not com­ing to me, be­cause those are al­ways go­ing to show up on film,” Enunwa said. “When I can do what I’m sup­posed to do, he’s go­ing to see that, and he can know that even when his No. 1 (op­tion) is not open he can come back to me.”

Enunwa was al­most a for­got­ten man by those out­side the Jets’ fa­cil­ity as re­cently as a few months ago.

Af­ter a break­out season in 2016 when he set ca­reer highs with 58 catches for 857 yards, Enunwa went down with a neck in­jury dur­ing a scrim­mage last sum­mer. He had a bulging disk in his neck and needed surgery. A gru­el­ing re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pe­riod was next with many won­der­ing when — or if — Enunwa would get back on the field.

“I’ve never had that where I just didn’t play,” he said, “so that was the hard­est part for me.”

But Enunwa al­ways be­lieved he would play again. He grad­u­ally worked his way back onto the field dur­ing mini­camp this spring and was ready to go by the time train­ing camp be­gan. Af­ter miss­ing some time with a thumb in­jury, Enunwa is com­pletely healthy.

“I def­i­nitely missed it and it felt good to go back out there, and I’m ex­cited to keep go­ing on through the year,” Enunwa said. “That was just Game 1 and I’m hop­ing to go out there some more, play some more, take some more hits and give some more hits.”

At 6 feet 2 and 225 pounds, Enunwa is an im­pos­ing pres­ence. He’s strong enough to line up in the back­field as an H-back to help in the run game — as the Jets have used him in the past — and quick enough to get down­field and cause prob­lems for smaller de­fend­ers.

“He’s very ver­sa­tile,” coach Todd Bowles said, “and he al­lows us to do a lot of things and put him in places to try and cre­ate cer­tain things as well.”

Even be­fore this season, Enunwa en­deared him­self to Jets fans be­cause of the way he never shies from con­tact.

“I try to be a phys­i­cal guy,” Enunwa said. “I know fans love the hard-nosed player. That’s just al­ways been me, so I’m al­ways go­ing to con­tinue to do that.”

JOE ROB­BINS / GETTY IMAGES

Jets re­ceiver Quincy Enunwa, who missed last season be­cause of a bulging disk in his neck and needed surgery, had six re­cep­tions for 63 yards and this touch­down against the Lions on Mon­day.

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