Surprise! UGA gains ground with 5-star DE Jordan Jenkins after visit — “too close to call”

  • BREAKING NEWS: Florida QB who some call the “next Tim Tebow” commits to UGA (go here for story)
UGA is now a serious contender for AJC Super 11 DE Jordan Jenkins after his official visit with the Bulldogs this past weekend (AJC)

UGA is now a serious contender for AJC Super 11 DE Jordan Jenkins after his official visit with the Bulldogs this past weekend (AJC)

Jordan Jenkins, the 5-star defensive end from Harris County High School, liked his official visit to UGA so much that the Bulldogs may be sneaking up to join his longtime frontrunners, Alabama and Florida.

It was some surprising good news for UGA, which had been given up as all but dead in the fierce recruiting battle for the 6-foot-3, 250-pounder who is considered one of the nation’s top overall athletes. Jenkins nearly canceled his official visit to UGA on two separate occasions before finally making the recruiting trip this past weekend.

UGA’s chances for the AJC Super 11 selection who is ranked as the state’s No.1 prospect by at least one recruiting publication have dramatically improved.

“Jordan told somebody that Alabama and Florida are on top, and that UGA is right there with them,” his father, Ronald Jenkins, told the AJC. “But it’s really too close to call right now, I will tell you that. UGA really did impress us, and we didn’t expect them to impress us like they did. We almost canceled this trip a couple of times, and we’re glad we didn’t. I know Jordan was glad he went over there. It was a real good visit and opened up our eyes about Georgia.”

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After Jenkins and his family arrived in Athens on Friday, they met with UGA coach Mark Richt and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. They explained that Jenkins is being recruited to play outside linebacker in similar roles as Jarvis Jones, and that UGA’s logjam at the position isn’t really what it appears to be.

“Coach Grantham explained how he planned to utilize Jordan, as well as some things on the depth chart that would open up some early playing time for him as long as he keeps working hard,” Jenkins said. “There are some guys in the mix at outside linebacker who are outgrowing the position. They are going to be moved more toward the line in the near future.”

The opportunity to compete for early playing time is important to Jenkins, as is coaching stability. The elite recruit and his family like Richt, but heard so much speculation about his coaching future that they briefly considered canceling the official visit. UGA’s eight-game winning streak, along with a heart-felt conversation with Richt over the weekend, helped calm the concerns.

“We had a long talk with Coach Richt, and it was good,” Jenkins said. “We’ve talked with him before, and we know he’s a good man. Another thing that was holding us up with UGA is that we wanted to see how the season went because we knew there was speculation that if things didn’t go right that Coach Richt might not be there at the end. We feel confident now, based on how their season has gone, that Coach Richt is going to be back. That’s a thought on the minds of a lot of recruits when you start talking about Georgia. Is Coach Richt going to be there so you can play for him? We feel like he will be.”

UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has made quite the impression on 5-star Jordan Jenkins (AJC)

UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has made quite the impression on 5-star Jordan Jenkins (AJC)

UGA freshman linebacker Sterling Bailey served as Jenkins’ recruiting host on Friday, taking him to the basketball team’s season-opener, while UGA freshman linebacker Ray Drew took over the entertaining duties on Saturday night. “They couldn’t have picked two better guys,” Jenkins’ father said.

The highlight of the weekend for Jenkins was meeting with Grantham to review pre-game strategy, listen to the Georgia assistant explain it to his players, then watch them perform it to near-perfection in the convincing 45-7 win over Auburn.

“Jordan enjoyed watching Georgia’s defense play,” Jenkins said. “There were some things that Coach Grantham discussed with his players prior to the game, some things to look for and how they wanted to execute. And everything Coach Grantham broke down and talked about, they executed it in the game. It was impressive to see how he was teaching and passing down the knowledge to his players in a way they could grasp and use on the field immediately. We all know, coming from a guy with 11 years of NFL coaching experience, the guy knows what he’s talking about. We’ve always been high on Coach Grantham. Jordan has always liked him. He has always been a big plus for UGA.”

With Jenkins being such a high-profile recruit, he was recognized almost immediately at the game by other prospects and Georgia fans. “People had a lot of good things to say to Jordan in Athens, such as ‘Hey, come to UGA’ and ‘We need you,’” Jenkins said. “When they might’ve been getting up to walk to the restroom or to get something to eat, some Georgia fans would see him and make comments. His hostess was smiling every time that happened. It’s a special feeling for a kid to know that there are people outside of the coaches that want him to be a part of that team and university.”

Jordan Jenkins, John Theus

5-star teammates at UGA? 5-star DE Jordan Jenkins of Harris County vs. 5-star OL John Theus of Jackonsville at Dawg Night (Photo courtesy of UGASports.com)

UGA’s only 5-star commitment so far this year, offensive lineman John Theus of Jacksonville, also made a recruiting pitch on behalf of the Bulldogs. The two had an epic head-to-head battle at UGA’s Dawg Night prospect camp last summer. “He had a good conversation with John Theus, and Quayvon Hicks came up to him pushing UGA,” Jenkins said with a laugh. “Those two are definitely good recruiters for the program.”

Jenkins and his family met with UGA coaches again on Sunday before leaving, with Richt and the elder Jenkins talking about the pair of secondary NCAA violations involving the two from last May. Here’s what happened:

The elder Jenkins texted Richt to ask about summer camp dates, and since Richt did not have the number programmed in his phone, the text was identified as “unknown.” Richt intended to forward the text to a recruiting assistant for identification but accidentally replied to Mr. Jenkins, which was a violation NCAA Bylaw 13.4.1.2. Richt immediately reported the inadvertent violation to UGA’s compliance director, who subsequently asked if Mr. Jenkins had replied. In an attempt to forward Mr. Jenkins’ response to UGA’s compliance director, Richt accidently replied to Mr. Jenkins again, hence he had to report another text violation.

“We laughed about the text message thing; that comes up every time we see each other,” Jenkins said. “When we’re leaving, Coach Richt says ‘You’ve got my telephone number? Oh, that’s right, you texted me.’ We laughed about it. He remembered I had his telephone number, based on the past texting issues that occurred. That was so ridiculous for it to be all over the Internet like it was.”

Back to recruiting: What’s next for Jenkins? He has already made official visits to UGA, Alabama, Tennessee and Auburn. His final recruiting trip will be to Florida on Nov. 25. He will announce at the Under Armour All-America game on Jan. 5.

“Realistically, like I’ve told Jordan, until we’re done with the visits, we don’t know where anyone is at [as far as having a favorite school],” Jenkins said. “We want to finish the visits and then sit down as a family to talk about it. Then we’ll start looking at academics, the depth charts, the relationships with coaches and players, and which place is the best overall fit. It’s going to be a tough decision.”

DeVondre Seymour, son of NFL All-Pro DT Richard Seymour

DeVondre Seymour, son of NFL All-Pro DT Richard Seymour

  • In case you missed it, one of the most talent-loaded teams to ever take the field in the state of Georgia lost in the first round of the playoffs. Stephenson, which has 11 seniors committed to D1 schools, lost 7-0 to Lowndes on Saturday. How will this Stephenson team be remembered? Express your thoughts here
  • UGA is making a late push for the state’s No. 1 WR, Sandy Creek’s Ja’Quay Williams, offering him a late scholarship last week. Williams is a longtime commitment to Auburn, and made an unofficial visit to UGA on Saturday for the Auburn game. Williams had some fun with a little smack-talking on his Twitter account during his visit, tweeting “imma do Brandon Smith from UGA sooooo wrong next year #wareagle.” Note: Branden Smith plays cornerback for the Bulldogs. We assume Ja’Quay is pretty solid with his Auburn commitment.
  • Allatoona RB Miles Jones said he still hadn’t heard from Georgia Tech on late Sunday night. There was speculation that Georgia Tech might offer a scholarship after another RB target, Liberty County’s Shadrach Thornton, made a surprising commitment to NC State over Georgia Tech on Friday night (click on story link)
  • Malachi Jones, the younger brother of Notre Dame WR TJ Jones, finally picked up his first two offers this weekend with Presbyterian and Tennessee-Chattanooga. The younger Jones is a 6-foot-1, 180-pound wide receiver at Central Gwinnett High School and also has sparked curiosity from UCLA, UMass, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech.

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

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250 comments Add your comment

WV Dawg

November 14th, 2011
7:13 am

Come to Georgia we need you.

Bulldog Proud

November 14th, 2011
7:14 am

Come on down Jordan and play in a really dominant defense. While we are at it go ahead and offer Coach G a healthy raise and a long term contract.

Bigdsel

November 14th, 2011
7:15 am

BLACKOUT HA

November 14th, 2011
7:17 am

Why would any young man want to play for Coach Todd Grantham? He is no role model. He makes silly gestures to teenagers that kick for the Florida Gators and tries to bully poor old Vanderbilt. I wish Grantham would try to pull that kindergarten stuff on our Coach Saban.

WV Dawg

November 14th, 2011
7:17 am

dawgerbrown

November 14th, 2011
7:21 am

If he wants early playing time, why consider Alabama?

VA DAWG

November 14th, 2011
7:23 am

Best of luck with your decision Jordan. Hope to see you play between the hedges in RED & BLACK! GO DAWGS!

BigDaddyDawg

November 14th, 2011
7:24 am

Come be a part of the 2012 national champions

BobDawg

November 14th, 2011
7:24 am

This recruiting class is about to get alot better….

Destin Dawg

November 14th, 2011
7:29 am

Parade magazine says ” UGA #2 large State University education plus big time sports ” in a great college town.. Athens, Ga.. Go Dawgs !!

Old Dawg

November 14th, 2011
7:32 am

kids that stay in State, close to support groups, friends and family, do better in school and life after sports… Go Dawgs !!!

Ogeechee Dawg

November 14th, 2011
7:37 am

Down the final stretch for recruiting – a lot of needs to fill – and a lot of positions to fill as well.

The Richt speculation has hampered efforts – and has been used against UGA is gettting recruits interested – making a wait & see approach.

Fair enough – IMHO – UGA would do the same against our rivals if in the same situation.

finish strong!

Destin Dawg

November 14th, 2011
7:50 am

Jordan… .. come to UGA… get coached up by Todd Grantham… be a Junk Yard Dawg… things are really going up hill in Athens !!

Bull Dawg

November 14th, 2011
7:58 am

Jordan, surely not Florida.. not now.. Muschamp is Crazy.. fat A$$ Weiss can’t even stand up without a cane ?? they’ll be gone after a couple painful years… the Swamp = the Dump

Destin Dawg

November 14th, 2011
8:03 am

Richt is 2 for 3 against Saban… we get to play’em next year too… Saban runs in 3/4 year streaks.. he’ll leave for Texas, Ohio State, or Penn State ???

WV Dawg

November 14th, 2011
8:11 am

I’m taking my two young sons to their first UGA game Saturday any suggestions on where to park? Thanks and go Dawgs!!!!!!!

dap01

November 14th, 2011
8:11 am

Mr. Jenkins: Saturday was a preview of what Grantham’s defense is becoming. Be a home state hero and be prepared for the NFL by the best. And don’t forget to compare the character of our head coach to anyone else’s head coach. CMR is the best. He don’t oversign and cut like some.

You will be a great Dawg!

All Saints

November 14th, 2011
8:15 am

Just a reminder that we’ll be having our regular tribute and moment of silence on Saturday for Saint Jan Kemp, the courageous martyr who exposed UGA and Vince Dooley’s “remedial studies” fraud. Mark Richt keeps the scam going even today, almost thirty years later.

Please approach this special moment with awe and reverence as we honor her sacred name.

suwaneedawg

November 14th, 2011
8:18 am

The kid picked the right game to attend for his official visit. Comes down to what position does he want to play and how qucik does he want to get on the field. If he sees himself at OLB then why would he not choose UGA? With or without Jenkins, this class is going to be solid. Haters beware.

[...] he managed to use his pregame preparation as a recruiting sales tool, according to über-recruit Jordan Jenkins’ dad: … The highlight of the weekend for Jenkins was meeting with Granthan to discuss pre-game [...]

slydog

November 14th, 2011
8:38 am

You know why this is happening? For the first time in years, the team played as a complete team, a state of Georgia team, by smacking the opposition in the mouth on both sides of the ball. Add the fans in the stadium, who for the first time in forever, actually gave Sanford Stadium a home field advantage. The atmosphere was more electric than I have ever experienced. This makes “elite” prospects, not just good ones, turn their heads.

UGA Dawg

November 14th, 2011
8:38 am

Jordan is the kind of kid that CMR and staff need. The kid is solid on the field and in the classroom, and comes from a first class family. We need to stay on him and keep him in the state. Come on Jordan, be a Dawg. Things are turning in the right direction and you can help us next year.

JB

November 14th, 2011
8:39 am

Grantham starting to open eyes…Dogs ranked 4th in total defense in Nation and has some real talented players “hitting their stride”……. Even soft rumors that Ole Miss has him on the short list.
This team playing better every week. Hope we don’t lay an egg. would love to finish 10-2 and in the top 10 facing LSU. Beating those guys would be a tall order, but I would bet a million to 1 they would rather play Carolina than us.

falcon

November 14th, 2011
8:40 am

Jordan can help this UGA program go to the top. Let’s hope he decides to stay in his state and wear the red and black.

slydog

November 14th, 2011
8:41 am

St. Mark even buttered him up with two licensed ministers…. Oh, I love this game.

dawg2

November 14th, 2011
8:42 am

Do whats best for you…Its your life and you will have to live with it………..Nothing worse than going to wrong school. I did that and it was hell till I got out. Be sure!

JB

November 14th, 2011
8:42 am

ALL Saints….We’ll take of your butt in 3 weeks. Hold that option together until we get there.

slydog

November 14th, 2011
8:42 am

BTW, CTG will be getting a 3 year, $3 million contract either before or during the following season. Bet on that.

UGA Wins

November 14th, 2011
8:45 am

Come to UGA…you felt the love on Saturday…!

Go Dawgs!

slydog

November 14th, 2011
8:49 am

Wow, there must be a plethora of Academic All-Americans and Rhodes Scholars who attend LSU. Jan Kemp took her money and shut her trap, just like the rest of them do. (See Penn State)

KJ

November 14th, 2011
8:51 am

“I wish Grantham would try to pull that kindergarten stuff on our Coach Saban.”

What exactly do you think Saban would do…. oversign him?

Saban

November 14th, 2011
8:58 am

I am sure we can find you a place on our b team.

Of course you can go to Georgia and carry choakdawgs krispy kremes and smoke dope with the team.

Sendem Uhauls

November 14th, 2011
9:02 am

These kid will change their minds when Richt chokes in the comimg weeks. Saturdays game was just a fluke or tease.

Flo-Ri-Duh

November 14th, 2011
9:04 am

Why would Jenkins want to play for Grantham you ask? I guess you have not been paying attention. Georgia is building a dominating defense that will be better than LSU and Bama next year. Georgia is on the way up. Tennessee, Florida and Auburn are on the way down. Saban is on the way out – good for about 5 years per school and is talking to Ohio State as we speak. Muschamp is in over his head at Florida and Urban Meyer isn’t coming back…. Tebow is long gone. It all starts with a dominating defense. Also, Georgia has the best QB in the SEC back for two more years with LeMay,( a former 5 star QB) waiting his turn. Anchored by John Theus at OT and Avery Young (hopefully) also at OT, with young talent like Malcolm Mitchell and Isaiah Crowell back for at least 2 more years, the offense will rival Arkansas for the best in the SEC. Education? Georgia is far better than Alabama. Summing it up – Musvchamp is another Zook, Saban will be gone in 2 years and Georgia will be the place to go if you want to LEARN defense for the NFL.

Achtung

November 14th, 2011
9:05 am

Georgia’s defensive ranking is up to #4 in the country, Grantham really knows his stuff, he’d have Jenkins leading the SEC in sacks like Jarvis Jones. The quarterback commit out of Florida, Bauta, has been described as a Tebow type. Nice pickup.

JB

November 14th, 2011
9:06 am

uhauls………..We hear this every week from you………………………Next chance of losing is in the Dome against the #1 team in the Nation. I can’t wait to play Tech. Our DB’s are really playing well, so 2 of them can man cover Tech’s awesome WR’s and we can put 9 in the box and cause some grief. Johnson will not even have to eat his pre game prune to get that look on his face. The D will do it for him.

SECIsFootball

November 14th, 2011
9:07 am

Jordan Jenkins will sign with Alabama in Feb. I am sure UGA is putting up a good fight to get him but his interest in Alabama will be too much. Will look good in Crimson & White!

slydog

November 14th, 2011
9:09 am

@Saban

So what has Alabama’s kickers been smoking lately? Did you know that Alabama, along with 9 other SEC schools, do not suspend for a first failed test of marijuana, and probably any drug for that matter?

JB

November 14th, 2011
9:10 am

Alex, college football for $500……………Ok. name a once proud college football power who has not won a game since early September, with that being a paid cupcake………………..Alex, who is Florida……………………..Ding ding ding ding………correct….

SECIsFootball

November 14th, 2011
9:11 am

Destin Dawg…impressive! 3-2 against Saban? Wow. In the time Richt has been at LSU, Saban has won 2 national championships. He has won 3 or 4 conference titles and he has BAMA ranked #3 in the nation right now. Knowing that, do you think he would trade any of that for a winning record against an average coach in Mark Richt? My guess is no. As for his 3/4 year streaks, you are aware he is in year 5 now aren’t you? You are aware that his name is not even being mentioned for the Penn State job. Just want to make sure you know the facts when you make these lame predictions. But keep it up. You will be in the one who looks ridiculous when he is still at BAMA over the next several years.

DawginLex

November 14th, 2011
9:11 am

Blacout Ha=another jealous idiot who now realizes that we will be in the SEC title game versus LSU and Saban and his staff along with Dooley and Muschamp will be eating Dreamland BBQ at Nick’s house watching the game on TV being served by Eli Gold……………….

DawginLex

November 14th, 2011
9:13 am

BLACKOUT HA=ANOTHER JEALOUS IDIOT

Enjoy watching the SECCG from your trailer while we play LSU

JB

November 14th, 2011
9:13 am

Just like Drew and Crowell were Bama locks?

DawginLex

November 14th, 2011
9:14 am

Saban is a Techie hiding behind another team’s coach.

slydog

November 14th, 2011
9:14 am

Plain and simple: This comes down to Alabama or Georgia. Bailey will probably be moved to ILB and Stripling to DE.

Destin Dawg

November 14th, 2011
9:14 am

Mark Richt for President… Todd Grantham for Sec. of Defense… Go Dawgs beat Kentucky !!!

JB

November 14th, 2011
9:16 am

Lex, I’d say 90% of the haters on here are Techies. The envy and hate is so bad, they live on here. Pretty boring on a Tech blog…….VT brought them back to earth after the Clemson win, and I will say they played well against Clemson……

JB

November 14th, 2011
9:18 am

If I’m Jenkins looking at the Bama and Georgia, I would say Richt is more likely to be in Athens another 4 years than Nick at Bama.

7576DAWG

November 14th, 2011
9:18 am

Jenkins seems like a smart young man if he was able to follow Grantham’s pre- game instructions. I’m impressed. It is very obvious that Alabama was filling him and his family with a lot of doubt’s about Georgia. For me that would be important because I would think Alabama would feel they don’t have to bad mouth another school to get recruit’s to come there. They should be able to stand on their own merits. Them resulting in that kind of tactic would be a huge negative if it was me they were recruiting. If Jenkin’s can find his major at Georgia I hope he will give us serious consideration.

Spurriers smirk

November 14th, 2011
9:19 am

We will make it three in row in Columbia next year over the mutts. Yall gonna get waxed at the dome in a few weeks.