East Aurora native, Buffalo State long snapper Cole Jenkins receives invite to Bills’ rookie minicamp | Buffalo Bills News | NFL

Cole Jenkins will have the opportunity of a lifetime next weekend.

Jenkins, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound long snapper from Buffalo State, has received an invitation to rookie minicamp with the Buffalo Bills. That alone would be worth celebrating, but it’s even more special for Jenkins, who attended East Aurora High School.

“I’m ecstatic. It’s crazy,” he said Monday. “Coming from a Division III school, Buffalo State, being from East Aurora, being a local guy, it’s really a dream come true. I’m still processing this whole thing. It doesn’t seem real. It’s been a wild process, for sure.”

Jenkins, 24, represented the Bengals in January at the Tropical Bowl in Orlando, a showcase for seniors from around the country across all NCAA and NAIA divisions. He also participated in the FCS Bowl in December. He played in all 10 games for Buffalo State in 2021, and was named a third-team All-American by The College Football Network. He snapped in 41 games overall for the Bengals.

The odds for any undrafted free agent to make it to the NFL are long. For those who receive minicamp invites, they’re even longer. Jenkins is aware of that, but not deterred by it.

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“Just doing what I have been doing,” he said of his plan for minicamp. “Get out there, showcase what I can do. I mean, the odds are tough, but I’m one step closer. The odds have always been tough coming from a Division III school, but just getting this opportunity is incredible.”

Bills long snapper Reid Ferguson is the longest-tenured member of the team, entering his sixth season. If the Bills ultimately offer Jenkins a contract, they could bring him to training camp to save some work for Ferguson. From there, Jenkins would at least have a chance to get valuable tape in the preseason to perhaps attract another team.

Jenkins snapped in high school, but joked that was only because “we needed a guy who could throw a football between his legs, and I was that guy.” He played defensive end in high school, and planned to play there upon arriving at Buffalo State, but quickly turned his attention to snapping full time.

“I saw I could have an opportunity as a long snapper,” he said. “So I became just a specialist, and now we’re here.”

“[Cole] is one of the most hard-working athletes I have had a pleasure to be around,” Buff State special teams coordinator G. Chandler Williams said when Jenkins was selected to represent the school at the Tropical Bowl. “I’ve never seen someone work so hard on their craft, but also help others work on their own. Constantly in between special teams’ periods (he) would be helping freshman involved in the operation unit in performing to the best of their ability.”

Jenkins grew up a Bills fan. He said it was during his sophomore season that he started to think he might have a chance at pursuing a professional career.

“I had a punter (Ryan Mutterer) and a kicker (Marc Montana) that really knew what it was like to be a specialist, and they kind of took me under their wing and really showed me what camps to go to and how to be a specialist,” he said. “When I was a sophomore, everything was starting to click. That’s when I started seeing guys I was going to camps with getting shots, and I’m like, ‘I’m just as good as that guy,’ so I just kept working at it, and it brought me to here.”

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