Martin Jenkins of Centennial High is proof that you don’t have to be five-star rated blue-chipper to get noticed by major colleges.
Jenkins, a 5-foot-9, 168-pound cornerback, received a scholarship from Clemson on Thursday. Friday night he will perform for the Florida Gators at their Friday Night Lights elite camp in Gainesville, Fla. Previously Jenkins’ only firm offers had come from Syracuse, Toledo, Middle Tennessee and Western Carolina.
“We’re excited,” said Martin’s father, Lee Jenkins, a former Tennessee cornerback who also coaches defensive backs for Centenniel. “He’s popping on the radar all of the sudden. It’s starting to pick up.”
What recruiters like is Jenkins’ speed. He has been clocked at 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash and finished fourth in Class AAAAA in the 100- and 200-meter dashes in the state track and field finals this past spring. That drew the attention of such schools as Georgia and Ole Miss, who invited Jenkins to their summer camps. But a groin injury forced him to miss those opportunities.
Now Jenkins is back to full speed and recruiting has picked up accordingly. Hence the surprise invitation from the Gators.
“I have to admit, I was impressed with what they had to say,” Lee Jenkins said of Florida. “Martin is not a 5-star recruit but their assistant coach told is they have a goal of being the the fastest team in America and they really like his speed. Even though they’e the best team in America they’re still working hard and trying to find the best talent, even some that might have been overlooked.”
Lee Jenkins wasn’t sure if Florida would offer Martin a scholarship but said they’d be hard-pressed to pass it up if they did. Even if they don’t he figures they will make a final decision in the next week or so. They were originally scheduled to visit Ole Miss on Saturday but will likely reschedule if the Gators don’t come forth with an offer.
Meanwhile, another Centenniel player is taking a visit this weekend. Offensive lineman David Yankey (6-5, 275), who already has offers from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and UCLA, among others, is in California to visit Stanford.