RECRUITING: A.J. Jenkins impressed by UF

With the Florida Gators looking to sign just a few players at every position in the 2008 recruiting class, look for them to be extremely picky. With that in mind, one of the most coveted receivers in the country this year is right in the Gators' back yard in Jacksonville Terry Parker wide receiver A.J. Jenkins. Jenkins recently visited Florida for Junior Day and came away really liking the Gators.

He now stands with six scholarship offers from Florida, Maryland, Illinois, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and Miami. The last two came in last week and the number keeps climbing.

It is all somewhat of a surprise for Jenkins, who doesn't lack confidence on the field, but is humble off of it.

"I think my highlights are out and I am getting out there a little more," he said. "I am having a lot more contact from a lot more colleges right now."

"Actually, I never thought I would be very highly recruited. I am not really a big guy, so I didn't think colleges would recruit me. Now I get like 10 text messages a day. My name is really getting blown up and my name is getting out."

Over a week ago, Jenkins visited the Florida campus to take in the Gators second junior day. He has visited both and liked what he saw.

"When I saw the practice, they do the same things as my high school, but much more intense," he said. "We looked at all the classes and stuff, and they really put on a good show. I really did enjoy it, but I am going to wait on a college. I am not going to tell anyone I am going to commit, because I really want to take my time."

He was eyeballing what may be his future competition for playing time and came away impressed with the talent at Florida as well as the teaching going on.

"I thought the receivers were well taught," he said. "Percy Harvin and Andre Caldwell, they really have a lot of talent. I know when I go to college I am going to have to step my game up a little bit. They were having fun out there running routes and catching the ball.

"I brought my pops and (fellow Terry parker teammate) Josh Price too. My pops is a long time Gator fan. Knowing him he really enjoyed it, he was grinning the whole time. I talked to Coach Gonzales and asked him about playing time, just stuff that I wanted to know. I am still wide open, but I wanted to know some stuff.

"I know Josh was talking to coach Mattison, they invited both of us to a one night camp called Friday Night Lights."

Depth charts will be one thing that he makes a college decision on. He wants to see the field as a freshman if possible.

"(It is) one of the things I will look at, because I want to play early," he said. "I don't want to have to wait a long time to get on the field. I will have to weigh all the pros and cons and stuff."

He also spent some quality time with the Gators' head coach, Urban Meyer.

"I talked to Coach Meyer, but I don't want to get too involved," he said. "I am very interested in Florida, but not ready to make a decision yet."

The Miami Hurricanes have offered and they will definitely get a look from Jenkins.

"I am impressed with Miami, they were my favorite team when I was growing up," he said. "(My dad and I) kind of talked a little trash over the years but had a good time with it."

The Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech are keeping the door ajar for Jenkins also.

"Georgia Tech, I talked to the coach (last week), and he said he really enjoyed my highlight film," Jenkins said. "I will listen to them and see what they will bring to the table."

The Hokies are telling Jenkins he has immediate playing time coming if he signs with them.

"Virginia Tech actually said I could come in right away and play in their offense," he said.

The Terrapins of Maryland were the first to notice Jenkins talent and he will make sure to return the interest by finding out more about them.

"Maryland was the first to offer. I am trying to get there this summer," he said. "I don't know much about them, but I am going to see what they have."

Illinois is another team that has offered and are making constant contact with Jenkins. Dan Disch is the wide receiver coach at Illinois, a former Gator assistant and a former high school coach in the Jacksonville area. He has plenty of connections in Jacksonville to keep players like Jenkins interested.

"Coach Disch and my head coach are good friends," Jenkins said. "I have talked to Illinois a couple of times. I have also talked to Arrelious Benn a few times.

"He wasn't trying to put pressure on me, but giving me advice on how to handle the pressure. He said the people that are telling you where to go, they may not be there when you sign, so make the decision based on something else. The level of play is so much higher at that level and he already knows since he has already enrolled."

The early enrollee option is also something Jenkins plans on looking into. He knows it is a great tool to get on the field early, and has an easy road to do it if he is willing to forego some of the things that seniors in high school only have one chance to do.

"I am thinking about enrolling early, I only need to take two classes, so I am really thinking about it," he said. It's just one of those things that I have to think about missing prom and other stuff."

Academics are no worry for A.J. Jenkins and his list of suitors already shows that the big time programs are really after him.

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