Jenkins has enjoyed process

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Back in the spring, Under Armour All-American Jordan Jenkins had a recruiting plan. It was simple: He would make his official visits and then make his decision on national signing day.

"Change of plans," Jenkins said with a laugh Sunday after UA All-American Game practice at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World. "I realized a little while ago that I couldn't wait. It's not that I don't want to; it's just become too hard. It's the calls, the interview requests and the stress. It's too much."

Now the 6-foot-3, 235-pound four-star recruit will announce his decision Jan 9. The No. 5 defensive end in the ESPNU 150 made a smart move in taking all five of his official visits this fall. Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee were the five lucky recipients.

"Yeah, that was good for me," Jenkins said. "I got to see the schools I really wanted to see. I got that done. It would have been hard to go into January and taking those official visits."

Now he says he's down to four: Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Georgia.

Reports have speculated that Jenkins will decide between the Gators and Crimson Tide. Those two, at least for a good spell, where his two favorites.

"The thing I love about Alabama is the hard work that team and staff puts in," Jenkins said. "It's the players. It's the coaches. It's everyone involved with that program. Man, they really get after it and it's every day. You are constantly surrounded by people that really work hard. And they do it right. I would like to be a part of that because that's what I do.

"Florida is place where I really feel at home and very comfortable. I love Coach [Brian] White. Then you have T-Rob [Travaris Robinson] and Coach [Dan] Quinn. They are a great bunch of guys."

One team that was on the outside looking in was the in-state Bulldogs. But Mark Richt and Georgia have come in late and made a big push for the state's No. 6 overall recruit.

"You know, prior to the season, I wasn't really even thinking about Georgia," Jenkins said. "I sat down and started thinking more and more about the Dawgs. Seriously. They have a great team and a great program and I love Coach [Todd] Grantham. It had nothing to do with the season they had. I do really like them."

One team that has quietly remained in the mix is Auburn. The Tigers have been communicating with Jenkins since early in the process, and for Jenkins, they have something no other team has.

"There's no place I have been to that has that homey feeling more than Auburn," Jenkins said. "It really is like family there and I love that about them. I really do. When those coaches came to my house and did an in-home visit, it felt like my cousins coming over. It's so easy with them. I have such a great relationship with the coaches there. I also like the fact that it's so close to home for me and my family."

With a little more than a week to make up his mind, Jenkins plans on sitting down with his family, laying it all out and coming up with his selection.

"As soon as I get back we will all sit down and talk about all four schools and all the important factors," Jenkins said. "I will look at the statistics and the engineering schools. It's not all about football for me. It's everything, including the relationships."

So his original plan has been altered. For Jenkins it's all still the same, and in time will look back on his recruiting experience and smile, because this is one prospect that enjoyed the ride.

"It's beyond what I expected," Jenkins said. "I mean that. It's been truly great and I really enjoyed it. And you know what? I think in time I will look back and miss it."

Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting both in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at jamienewbergbw@yahoo.com.