Rocky Mountain Tight Ends

Rocky Mountain College tight ends Darneail Jenkins (left) and Brandon Mosley share a laugh before practice this week.

BILLINGS — Their teammates playfully call them “Mutts.”

They are tight ends, a mashup of an offensive lineman and a wide receiver.

And while they have no position coach to call their own, when the whistle blows, Brandon Mosley and Darneail Jenkins are the big dogs on the football field.

The two Rocky Mountain College seniors are similar in many ways and in many ways have their differences.

Both are California-born, Mosley in southern and Jenkins in northern, and both are large — Mosley is 6-foot-4, 238 pounds, while Jenkins is 6-5, 250. Possessing great hands, the two are go-to receivers when the Battlin’ Bears need a clutch catch.

The two also had their college football careers interrupted for a full year before finding a home in Billings.

Mosley, of Fontana, California, spent a little more than two seasons with Colorado State-Pueblo, an NCAA Division II program before the coaches cut him. “Lack of progress,’ they told him.

The now 24-year-old spent a year working in warehouses for Under Armour and Toys "R" Us.

“I missed football,” said Mosley.

Urged by his father Chris to get back in the game, Mosley played for Chaffey College, the same place his father played. Former Rocky offensive lineman Kiyoshi Harris, now an assistant coach for Independence Community College in Kansas, recommended Mosley to the Battlin’ Bears coaches.

“Nothing, I knew nothing,” he said of the school located in south-central Montana.

Jenkins, of West Pittsburg, California, now known as Bay Point, started his career at Laney Junior College. He committed to Colorado State but was derailed by grades.

“My fault,” he said.

The 22-year-old Jenkins also sat out a year, working as a manager at a Burger King and valet at a Marriott hotel. He was already contemplating life without football.

“I thought I was done,” Jenkins said. “I was trying to find a good job when coach P (Jared Petrino) called me. I knew about Montana and Montana State but not Rocky. Of anything, I knew it was cold up here.”

Mosley is the more reserved of the two, prefacing his answers with an “Oohh,” while leaning forward or back in his chair. “He opens up after a while,” Jenkins said.

“He’s really a good teacher, especially with the younger guys,” said Rocky coach Jason Petrino of Mosley. “Brandon might speak softly, but he is well respected on our team.”

Jenkins is the more gregarious of the two, comfortable in any setting. He’s known to give nicknames to all he meets on campus. “Everybody has a nickname,” Jenkins said. He calls Mosley “Money Mos.” Jenkins’ own nickname is “Big Bruh.”

“Darneail has got one of the most unique personalities,” Petrino said. “He gets along with everybody.”

During practices, the two will spend time the offensive linemen, wide receivers and quarterbacks.

Jenkins has caught 28 passes this season, six for touchdowns. Mosley, taking a more blocking role this season, has 13 receptions and one score.

While both want to play at the next level, they are thinking of being in public service after graduation. Mosley wants to be a firefighter while Jenkins is leaning toward law enforcement.

The two took some questions before a recent practice this week.

Q: How do you view yourself?

Mosley: Definitely a receiver.

Jenkins: As a receiver.

Q: Whose company do you prefer?

Mosley: Ooh, that’s a tough one. I like the offensive line guys, but they are definitely weird. The receivers seem normal. Depends on the day.

Jenkins: I’ll go with the receivers.

Q: What makes Brandon/Darneial a great tight end?

Mosley (on Jenkins): He moves really well for a big guy. That’s what allows him to separate from people. He’s a big target who can move really fast.

Jenkins (on Mosley): He’s a huge tight end who can get open. He’s a smart guy and he’s a good blocker who’s not afraid to get in there.

Q: What do you bring to the field?

Mosley: I always pride myself on catching everything. I’m not scared to catch a pass over the middle. I love getting open.

Jenkins: Everything. I try to bring athleticism and intelligence … knowing where to be at the right time. My high football IQ. I try to get that mismatch. Not many linebackers can cover me.

Q: What’s the worst part of not having a position coach?

Mosley: Sometimes we don’t learn about an error until we’re watching it on film.

Jenkins: The focus from somebody who can come up to us right after a play to tell us what we did right or what we did good.

Q: What’s the best part of not having a position coach?

Mosley: You get to practice with all different groups. You get to be around the linemen, be around the receivers and work with quarterbacks on specific tight end routes.

Jenkins: I like to socialize with everybody. Not just the tight ends.

Q: Pregame music?

Mosley: I like Nipsey Hustle, he’s a southern California rapper.

Jenkins: Century and Fall Out Boy.

Q: Pregame superstitions or rituals?

Mosley: None. Just music with my headphones.

Jenkins: I just have to have my music. I need my music to help keep me calm.

Q: Pregame meal? (Note: There is a team breakfast on game days).

Mosley: The regular, eggs and bacon. And whatever we can take from coach’s office.

Jenkins: Eggs, potatoes, sausage or bacon, and an orange juice.

Q: Favorite Rocky football moment?

Mosley: I’ve got to say beating Southern Oregon this season. The previous two years were by one point. That’s just one team there’s always been a little rivalry.

Jenkins: Beating Southern Oregon. It showed we could compete with anybody.

Q: Something about you that would surprise people.

Mosley: I can’t think of anything. Oh wait, I can dance. I’m always dancing on the field, even during practice.

Jenkins: I’ve got 20 siblings. (After some prodding by Mosley) Oh yeah, and I Iike country music.

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Email Joe Kusek at joe.kusek@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsJoe

Sports writer at the Billings Gazette

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