One of the biggest players in the state, Jenkins has a reputation as gigantic as his size. He is the No. 4-ranked offensive tackle in the country by Scout.com and No. 8 by Rivals.com. But Jenkins is a puzzling player. Scouting services often make rankings based on size and potential. Despite those lofty national rankings, get this: Jenkins wasn’t selected WPIAL first-team all-conference by opposing coaches in 2013. Jenkins, who didn’t start playing football until seventh grade, acknowledges he was not worthy of all-conference last year and talks about wanting to prove himself. He is about 10 pounds lighter since the spring, but is stronger than he was a year ago. He also will play defense this year for the first time.
Jenkins had scholarship offers from schools across the country, but made a verbal commitment to Penn State in early May. His final three choices were Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan. He had favored Penn State for a while.
Do you like defense? I do like it, but executing is still kind of hard. … I still like offensive line more, no doubt. But definitely defensive line is good for me.
You have said you believe you have a lot to prove this year, right? I realize the situation. I know it’s hard to predict how good offensive linemen will be and I know a lot of people say I’m like a project type of guy. I feel I can really be dominant in ways I haven’t shown. I know people say I’m overrated and it’s just a potential thing with me, but this is the year I have to prove myself and silence them.
Did not making all-conference last year bother you? It wasn’t real surprising. I didn’t feel like I earned it. But I never had that as a goal so I wasn’t working toward it. If I have a goal, that’s what I work to get. This year, all-conference is what I want to get. Making all-conference is not what you get because you’re a prospect. It’s for how you play. That’s what I’m shooting for and I’m going to get it.
Do you still feel strong with the Penn State commitment? I feel completely at home with all those guys up there and all the recruits. I’m able to just concentrate on football now. It was a good decision to get it out of the way.
Your coach [Pete Wagner] says you pay attention to comments on Internet message boards and Twitter? I definitely look at them and it definitely fuels me. Coach will actually send me screen shots of what people say just to give me some motivation. I appreciate that.
Did you have a job this summer? I did actually. I worked at Eat’n Park washing dishes. It was terrible. That place is so busy all the time.
You had to be the biggest dishwasher in America? Yeah, everyone was like, ‘Are you that guy going to Penn State?’
Did you break any dishes? Yes (laugh). I actually broke a whole bucket of bowls.