HAMILTON, Ga. — Ronald Jenkins said his retirement from the Army as a master sergeant with the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team couldn’t have been more timely.
A neck injury forced him to leave the Army, but Jenkins said it gave his son, Jordan, the opportunity to grow into one of the top football recruits in the state of Georgia.
The 245-pound, 6-foot-3-inch senior defensive end at Harris County High School celebrated his commitment to play for Georgia, a Division I school, with his family Friday at the school’s auditorium. Jordan, who is rated by Rivals.com as the No. 6 defensive end in the nation and the 56th best overall prospect, sent his letter of intent Wednesday.
Jordan said he was glad much of his family, including his mother, Phyleshia, and his sister, Aysha, was able to attend the ceremony because many of them live out-of-state.
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Ronald retired in 2007, which was Jordan’s freshman year. It was a change of pace since the Jenkins family had traveled from duty station to duty station during his career.
“There are a lot of families that move around,” Ronald said. “Jordan has experienced life in other places. If kids have the opportunity to spend four years at a school and grow with that program, they will excel.”
Harris County head football coach Tommy Parks said he was thankful for those four years as well.
“I think what impresses me most about (Jordan) is that he’s the ultimate team player,” he said. “That has a tendency to rub off on other kids and it’s done wonders for our program.”
Jordan said he was glad he no longer had to go through the daily stress of being one of the nation’s top recruits.“I’m glad I don’t have to answer a million calls and do a bunch of interviews every day,” he said. “I’m ready to get on to Georgia.”
Ronald said the Georgia decision came as a surprise to him. For a while, Florida and Alabama were higher on the list.
“It was a process of a lot of different schools that we’ve visited over the last three years,” he said. “For it to culminate with Georgia was a surprise to us because Georgia was trailing early on. Their persistence was what won out for them.
“Coach (Mark) Richt was a very honorable man and a man of faith. That meant a lot to our family as well.”
Rivals.com ranked Georgia’s recruiting class as the 12th best in the nation. The class is particularly strong on defense as Jordan will join five-star linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons, and four-star defensive linemen Josh Dawson, Leonard Floyd and Jonathan Taylor. All of those players are Georgia natives.
“I strongly say we’re going to get to the SEC championship game and we’re going to win it,” Jordan said.Meanwhile, Shaw High School had three athletes with Fort Benning ties sign with schools.
Olawale Dada signed with Applachian State, an NCAA Football Champion Subdivision Division I school in Boone, N.C.Anthony DeMunn and Jalen Jones both signed with Point University, formerly known as Atlanta Christian College, which is part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.