Harris County defensive end Jordan Jenkins plays in Under Armour All-America High School Football Game tonight; elite recruit to decide among Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia

jhendrickson@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 5, 2012 

Jordan Jenkins is 6-foot-3, weighs 235 pounds and runs a 4.67 40. Physically he can get a lot of things done.

For the past four years as a defensive end for Harris County, when Jenkins decided he wanted to make a tackle, he generally made the tackle.

Now Jenkins, who says he has not made up his mind about where he’ll attend college and play football in the fall, has narrowed his future to four schools. Alabama, Auburn, Florida or Georgia will be the lucky recipient of Jenkins’ decision, which he’ll announce at a ceremony Jan. 9.

Jenkins has been in Orlando, Fla., this week, taking part in activities in advance of tonight’s Under Armour All-America High School Football Game, which can be seen at 7:30 on ESPN. He took some time out to talk with us about the four schools on his list.

On Auburn

“They have such a great family feel to them. A lot of the players, it seems like most of the players, are from the area. It’s only about an hour from my house. It just feels like home to me. I have such a great relationship with the coaches there. I also like the fact that it’s so close to home for me and my family. The changes in coaches has had no impact on my process.”

On Georgia

“I love Coach (Todd) Grantham. It had nothing to do with the season they had. I do really like them. It’s really been about him. Watching how the outside linebackers (the position he expects to play in college) play has been impressive. Watching how the whole defensive scheme comes together was pretty amazing. I think it will be an easier transition from high school defensive end to outside linebacker in this system.”

On Florida

“One of the things I like about Florida, especially after I got to go down there, was how they go about their business. Whether it’s game day or not, they are down to business. They have fun, and they get things done. Coach (Brian) White was a lot of fun to be around. Some places it seems that you need to have a split personality as far as on the field and off the field. They get everything done, business-wise, and they have a good time doing it. They do a great job of combining work and fun. I had a great time on my visit. I’ve always had Florida on my list.”

On Alabama

“I have great ties with all the coaches, and I have a teammate there in LaMichael Fanning (a 6-foot-7, 275 freshman defensive end for the Tide from Harris County) and a couple of other guys I’ve played against. I like that they work hard. Everybody in college football works hard, but there is just something different about the way they do it there. When the linebackers coach comes on, they get things done.”

On winning the lineman challenge Tuesday at the Under Armour All-America game

“That was a lot of fun. It was a pretty hard challenge. We had to dive under a chute, drive a sled about 5 yards and do a whole bunch of other things. It was a tough competition. I won the preliminaries and then came back for the finals. I had to go against Noah Spence (the No. 4-ranked defensive end, who has committed to Ohio State). I actually took out a photographer during the end of the challenge.”

On being at the event for the week

“It’s been a great experience. I heard a lot about last year’s event, and it has been all that and more. I didn’t realize all the stuff we get to do and meeting all the players has been great. I didn’t realize all the friendships I could make. It’s just been a great experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. We got to go to (Disney’s) Hollywood Studios for the day and just got to hang out and have a great time.”

On being pressured by fellow players at the event to commit to their choice

“Reggie Ragland (an inside linebacker), Brandon Green (an offensive tackle) have been trying to get me to go to Alabama, and Marcus Maye and LaTroy Pittman were trying to get me to Florida. I stood my ground.

On surprises during the recruiting process

“I didn’t anticipate the amount of exposure. I didn’t know how many people from all over would try to get in touch with you to sway your decision. I appreciate everyone (laughing) who has helped me, but I didn’t think so many people knew so much about me.“

On disappointing people with his decision

“I’m not really worried too much about it. All the schools are great and their fans know that. I just hope everyone knows I’m trying to do what’s best for me.”

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