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Front Row: Wernick Will Shatter Jays' Reception Marks

November 15, 2010
Sam Wernick grew up playing football and baseball in Texas, a prime training ground for both sports. But when it came time for college, Wernick didn't stay in the Lone Star State.


"I had family in Potomac that suggested I look at Johns Hopkins," the graduate of Dallas Jesuit High said. "I fell in love with the school and the campus the first time I saw it."

Sam Wernick
(JHU Athletics)

The Hopkins football program must feel the same way about Wernick. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound junior has helped lift the Blue Jays to their greatest success in many years, on the gridiron and the diamond.

Under the guidance of coach Jim Margraff and offensive coordinator Dan Swanstrom, Wernick has been the most productive receiver in a wide-open Blue Jays offense that averages more than 34 points a game.

Wernick, who has already set a single-season Hopkins record with 14 touchdown catches, leads the Blue Jays with 55 receptions (through Nov. 10). His 1,027 receiving yards put him in a tie for the single-season lead with Bill Stromberg, who holds every Hopkins career receiving mark. Wernick is already among Hopkins' all-time leaders in receptions (143, sixth), receiving yards (2,141, seventh) and touchdowns (17, sixth). 

"Coach Margraff and Coach Swanstrom taught me how to get open," said Wernick. "I learned how to make myself a target, instead of just running around out there. And a lot of my success has come from growing in synch with (Hopkins quarterback) Hewitt Tomlin. Outside of practice, we pick each other's brains and talk about things that might work." 

Wernick's breakout game came Oct. 23 at Susquehanna. The Blue Jays' wideout caught seven passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns in a 49-24 Hopkins win. He also is the team's primary kickoff returner, racking up more then 500 yards in runbacks this season. 

Once the football season wraps up, Wernick will only have a short break before beginning workouts with the Hopkins baseball team. The outfielder was an integral part of last spring's Blue Jays squad that finished fifth at the NCAA Division III College World Series. 

"The mental discipline carries from sport to sport," said Wernick, who hit .367 last season. "I want to have equal success in both sports, and that pushes me."

Wernick needs no pushing in the classroom. A political science major who plans to attend law school, he was one of seven Hopkins players named to the CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District football team in early November. Wernick, who carries a 3.52 grade point average, was a first-team All-District selection for the second consecutive year. He is now a national candidate for Academic All-America honors.

-- Steve Jones

Issue 155: November 2010

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