by Jeff Barlis
Yesterday’s Outbox blog detailed how Hamilton, Ga., five-star Jordan Jenkins (6-foot-3, 245 pounds), whom the Gators are recruiting for the Buck linebacker position, very well may be Florida’s top priority.
Florida coach Will Muschamp called early this morning, the first day coaches are allowed to call players after the summer. Obviously the Gators are working very hard. Several UF coaches stay in touch with Jenkins, but running backs coach Brian White, who has been at Florida since 2009, has known Jenkins the longest.
Jenkins’ father, Ron, texted me this morning with Jordan’s travel plans — official and unofficial visits — for this fall. There’s some good news for Gator fans, which I will detail below.
The bad news for Gator fans is that Jenkins has Alabama in front as his leader. However, Florida is a close second and is very much in the running. Jenkins will also visit Auburn and Georgia, which are a more-distant third and fourth on his list of favorites.
Jenkins has been growing tired of the recruiting process for some time now. He originally planned to commit on National Signing Day in February, then felt better about the Under Armour All-American Game in January. But Ron Jenkins says Jordan is focused on his high school season, and he would not be surprised if Jordan makes a decision during or right after the season.
Jenkins is all about the coaches and players at this point. He has spent a lot of time in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and knows their staff well. They’ve been recruiting him for a long time. That’s where the relationships could give the Tide an edge. But Jenkins has been to Gainesville, Fla., at least five times and really bonded with current Buck linebacker Ronald Powell in his most recent visit for Friday Night Lights on July 22.
This fall, Jenkins will take in seven live games. He’ll see Florida, Alabama and Auburn three times (visiting each campus twice) and Georgia just once. Here is his schedule …
Sept.10: Mississippi State at Auburn (unofficial)
Sept. 24: Arkansas at Alabama (unofficial)
Oct. 1: Alabama at Florida (unofficial)
Oct. 15: Florida at Auburn (official)
Nov. 5: LSU at Alabama (official)
Nov. 12: Auburn at Georgia (official)
Nov. 26: Florida State at Florida (official)
The best news for Florida is that Jenkins will be in The Swamp last. That visit could leave a strong impression and possibly sway his decision. That is, if it hasn’t already been made after Alabama and Florida battle on Florida Field on Oct. 1. The stakes could be very high in that game.
Jordan Jenkins will be watching.