Commentary

Nothing fazes DE Jordan Jenkins

Fierce recruiting battles? Double and triple teams? ESPNU 150 star takes it all in stride

Originally Published: September 23, 2011
By Jamie Newberg | ESPN Recruiting

Considering the circumstances, Hamilton (Ga.) Harris County Under Armour All-American defensive end Jordan Jenkins has handled things exceptionally well. Jenkins, No. 62 in the ESPNU 150, is one of the most sought-after prospects in the nation and the recruiting process has not dragged him down one bit.

"If recruiting has gotten to him, then I haven't seen it," said Harris County coach Tommie Parks. "Jordan has taken it in stride."

That speaks volumes about Jenkins, considering it's a SEC battle royale between Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Auburn for the nation's No. 5 DE. Right now, the Crimson Tide and Gators are in the front of the pack.

"They both have the edge," Jenkins said. "It's just that with those two schools I have a really good relationship with those coaches. I feel at home with those schools. But I need to finalize everything, looking at the depth charts, playing time and all that stuff."

While Alabama and Florida lead, it's not a slam dunk for either one of those SEC powers. Before Jenkins makes his pick, he will officially visit all five schools starting next month -- Tennessee (Oct. 7), Auburn (Oct. 14), Alabama (Nov. 4), Georgia (Nov. 11) and Florida (Nob. 25). He has already been on all those campuses, so what happens on these last trips will be the difference. And he will be busy this week and next, taking in the Arkansas/Alabama game and the Alabama/Florida game.

"That's the plan and what I am trying to do," Jenkins said. "I am looking for one of these teams to give me that edge. The hope is to announce at the Under Armour Game, or something like that."

Still, it hasn't affected his play on the field. Even though he's a marked man on defense, he's not getting frustrated and is still making a difference.

"He could really make it happen as a freshman or sophomore because nobody knew who he was," Parks said. "He can't just do that now because he's getting double and even triple teamed. It's like a pitcher pitching around your No. 4 hitter. But it also allows other around him to play well and make plays. He has handled that kind of adversity very well."

One player making plays now is junior defensive tackle Jay Ellison, who already has offers from schools like Auburn, Tennessee, South Carolina and others.

"Jordan being there helps me and everyone else," Ellison said. "You have to try and block him or else he will get to the ball. That frees a lot of us up to make a play. He's the one that gets all the attention for the offenses we face."

Jenkins knew teams would game plan him a certain way this fall, so prepared.

"I feel like I am using my hands better than ever," Jenkins said. "I am much more confident in my pass rush. I've added some finesse moves. I am getting in the backfield. But it's been a challenge."

It's a battle on the field for Jenkins. It's a battle off the field as well. Of course, talking to him you wouldn't know it. Pressure? What pressure?

"I can't believe what has happened and how big this thing has gotten," Jenkins said. "It was a UCLA offer at first and expanded into all of this. I didn't think the top schools would offer. It's been amazing. But thankfully I have a great family around me. I do my school work and have balance. When you have balance nothing becomes too overwhelming."

Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting both in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at jamienewbergbw@yahoo.com.