In everyday life, each of us strive to find a way to improve the way we live, our performance in our careers or as a human being in general. In the case of two of Slippery Rock’s most talented wide receivers, Redshirt Juniors Jermaine Wynn Jr. and Henry Litwin serve as each other’s stepping stones to greatness. Although the two have known each other for only two years, Wynn and Litwin share a chemistry and mutual respect that is unmatched.
Even when asked about who holds the edge when it comes to the top traits a talented wide receiver should possess, the two busted out in laughter and bantered back and forth about who was better at what. So, let the questions begin.
Who has better hands?
“That’s a tough one, I don’t try to give that to someone, but I’ve seen (Litwin) make some crazy catches, he has some of the best hands I’ve ever seen,” Wynn said as he grinned. He went on to say that as far as catching the ball goes, he gives his partner in crime the slightest edge imaginable.
Who has better speed?
Wynn exclaimed that ‘he is the speed guy’, much to the dismay of Litwin who let out a long, exaggerated sigh that was soon halted by his own laughter.
And finally, who runs better routes?
“Oh, that’s Jermaine,” Litwin said with a conviction. Almost instantly, the two looked at each other and began to laugh.
“If you watch Jermaine, even at practice, everyone is exhausted and his routes are still perfect,” Litwin said. “That’s what I shoot for, that’s what I want to be and he sets the standard.”
The mark of a true friendship, the tandem laughed and joked with each other through each question and still recognized the talents of one another without the slightest trace of jealousy or sarcasm. As each day passes, a bond has steadily been developing and is now strong enough to never be broken.
“This is my guy right here,” Wynn said as he pointed to a smiling Litwin. “Even since my first semester here, we work together in the weight room and over the past two years he’s developed into not only my teammate, but a real brother.”
The two receivers lined up across one another in each of Slippery Rock’s 14 games last season, posting nearly identical stat lines while finishing in the top two in every receiving category for The Rock. In 2018, Litwin reeled in 51 catches for 841 yards and eight touchdowns while Wynn also hauled in 51 catches, but for 745 yards and nine touchdowns.
Coming off a season where the Green and White finished with an 11-3 record after losing in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Playoffs, Wynn and Litwin continue to challenge each other to take their game to new heights in 2019.
“When (Litwin) makes a play, it drives me to want to make a play,” Wynn said. “We feed off each other’s energy and we’re always trying to one up each other. That’s what pushes me to be great and that’s what pushes him to keep trying to be great.”
Despite the pair trying to make a bigger play than the other, Litwin emphasized that despite their competitiveness and will to outperform each other, they never let that get in the way of their friendship or team.
“Even though we’re teammates, every day is a competition between us and we’ll never let it interfere with winning games or our relationship,” Litwin said. “If he makes a play, now it’s my turn.”
Litwin went on to explain that this exact situation happened in last Saturday’s game against Shippensburg in the second quarter after Litwin scored on a 40-yard strike from Roland Rivers III. The two went back to the sideline and celebrated and now, it was Wynn’s turn. As one would expect, Wynn stepped up to the challenge and scored the next touchdown for The Rock.
With Wynn and Litwin being the most experienced wide receivers on the roster, both can often be looked at to set the right example for newcomers to one of the most high-powered passing attacks in the nation. They not only hold each other to a higher standard, but they expect the same from the rest of the wide receiver corps. With several new additions to the wide receivers in 2019, Litwin explains how his and Wynn’s leadership style help to elevate the performance of the wide receivers.
“We like to lead by example, especially for the freshman,” Litwin said. “You have a lot of people that like to talk or give advice, but there’s only a few people that go out and do it right all the time. We take pride in that.”
The results have certainly shown this season as well, as Wynn and Litwin weren’t the only two receivers to unravel Shippensburg’s defense. Redshirt Freshman standout Qaadir Dixon scored his first collegiate touchdown last week while Cinque Sweeting recorded four receptions for 57 yards.
With a talented wide receiver corps that features Wynn, Litwin and new additions like Sweeting and Dixon, one might be asking, “What else could possibly make this group even more deadly to opposing defenses?”
The will to never become complacent despite big performances and to find a way to improve week after week. Litwin acknowledges that stats can be a good indicator to measure the talent of a player, but in the greater scheme of it all, the team will always come first. If him or Wynn are being targeted by the offense, they understand that it creates the potential of another player to score instead.
“I feel like when we’re doing our job, that opens it up for someone else and you love to see it,” Litwin said.
Wynn followed up to expand on Litwin’s point.
“I have never played on a team where we were this close, like a brotherhood,” Wynn said. “Everyone goes out there and plays for the guy next to them and that’s important for us. We have a goal and that is to be champions.”
Brothers by choice, not by chance. Jermaine Wynn Jr. And Henry Litwin have helped to propel Slippery Rock University into the conversation as one of the best football teams in all of Division II football. Sharing a desire to achieve a common goal as one unit, the duo and team alike is primed for great success as the 2019 season moves along.