On two consecutive days, Blake Jarwin stood in front of a bank of cameras in the Dallas Cowboys locker room at The Star.
The second-year tight end from Oklahoma State calmly responded to questions about his three touchdown performance against the Giants. His career-high seven catches for 119 yards on Sunday earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He’s the first tight end to win it since Jimmy Graham had nine catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns for the Saints in Week 3 in 2013.
The sudden attention didn’t faze Jarwin, who has been besieged by well-wishers, including former high school and college coaches. After the game Sunday afternoon, he decided that his first of three touchdown balls would go to a high school teammate whose mother died the day before.
“I had a buddy lose his mom yesterday to cancer so I’m probably sending that ball off to him this week,” he said. “I know it means a lot to him that I’ve always thought about her as someone who has been special to me and she’s been battling for a while. I know it’ll mean a lot to him.”
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In 28 games for Oklahoma State, Jarwin caught five touchdowns. Most of his 307 yards receiving and 23 of his 27 receptions have come in the past six games. A season-ending injury to Geoff Swaim forced Jarwin into the mix and his most recent game clearly separated himself from Dalton Schultz and Rico Gathers going into the wild card game against the Seattle Seahawks at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at AT&T Stadium.
“He’s been a big part of what we’re doing all year long,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “I do think there is a really good role for Dalton and Rico as well, but Blake has just gotten better and better week by week and certainly had a breakout game the other day and made a number of big plays, but we believe in those others guys and they’ll get their opportunities as well.”
For the first time, it seems as if Dak Prescott has found a reliable option at tight end in place of Jason Witten. Prescott reminded the media on Wednesday that he’s been championing Jarwin since March.
While explaining where his chemistry with Prescott came from, seemingly out of the blue in New York, Jarwin was on the same page again with his quarterback.
“It’s not just one game,” he said. “It’s built over the year. We’ve done a great job all the way back to March. I don’t think you can ever stop building chemistry. Hopefully, we’ll be together a long, long time and continue to build on it. The confidence builds every single game. Dak has put me in spots to be successful so that’s definitely helped.”