ATHENS – It has been an emotional couple of days for Ronald Jenkins and his wife Phyleshia. But they have a good attitude about it.
Of dropping off his son Jordan Jenkins at UGA this week and leaving him behind to try to fulfill a dream, Ronald Jenkins quipped, “Well, our grocery bill will be considerably less.”
That’s true. But the reality is, it is a watershed moment for players and parents when these kids start their college football careers. It’s exciting and nerve-racking for both. And the process the Jenkins are going through is being repeated about 14 times over early this week. That’s how many new Bulldogs are showing up to begin classes by Friday and off-season workouts sometime next week.
Three of Georgia’s 19 signees enrolled in January and have been with the team for six months now. Two others — defensive tackle John Atkins and defensive end Leonard Floyd — are still working out their academic requirements, as detailed HERE on the AJC Recruiting Blog.
But 14 others were being dropped off Monday and Tuesday, moving into the East Campus Village dormitory and going through orientation this week.
These, as they say, are interesting times.
“It’s a special experience,” said Ronald Jenkins, whose son was considered one of the top recruits in Georgia for 2012. “You think about back in the day when they were young and watching them play. To finally get to where they’re playing on a college scholarship and playing for a big-time program is humbling.”
The Jenkins have been staying at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education since Monday. They’ll drive back to Harris County on Wednesday as empty-nesters. Their daughter Aysha left for Albany State last year.
Much will be on their minds on the way home.
“You wonder about how he adapts to the college life and being independent, going to classes and working hard on the football field and how he combines all that together,” said Jenkins, who met his wife at the University of Washington. “It’s a big phase for kids, to step out there and start going to classes and getting into the workout program and stuff like that.
“My thing is I just want him to stay focused and work hard. Like I’ve always told him, ‘when you’re doing well and you know you haven’t done your best, then you know you still have work to do. You don’t ever allow an opportunity in life to have regrets because you feel you could have done better in something because you got content.’ Being in the SEC, there’s some tough competition out there and you have to work hard for anything you want.”
There’s another transition signees must make. Until now, they’ve been wooed and charmed by college coaches. Their future encounters will be mostly of the in-your-face variety.
“We’ve talked about that,” Ronald Jenkins said. “He prefers to have somebody in his face pushing him. If he does it right, he’ll be fine. If he doesn’t do it right, he’ll get chewed. That’s the way he prefers to be coached, to tell you the truth.”
Starting tomorrow, it will be up to Jordan Jenkins and 13 others to deal with the transition. Ronald Jenkins believes his son is up for it.
“It seems like he’s looking forward to it,” he said. “I haven’t seen anything but smiles on his face. He’s happy to be here.”
– Chip Towers, The UGA Blog