Bloomington – Indiana isn't giving up on Jaquez Jenkins.
The 6-2, 180-pound athlete from St. Petersburg (Fla.) Lakewod H.S. verbally committed to South Florida over the summer, but that hasn't dissuaded IU and others from continuing their pursuit of him for their respective 2009 recruiting classes. Jenkins isn't bothered by the continuing interest, but instead flattered.
"It surprised me schools kept recruiting me, but it shows me the loyalty that they had to me," Jenkins said.
Jenkins remains committed to South Florida, but said he plans on taking all five of his official visits before signing a national letter of intent in February. Those trips won't come after his high school season wraps up later this month, and he's yet to finalize any of the programs that he will visit.
It's easy to understand why schools such as IU, Ole Miss, Louisville, Arkansas, South Carolina and Iowa State weren't quite ready to accept "no" the first time around. Jenkins is a tremendous athlete with 4.35 speed in the 40 who has accounted for more than 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns as quarterback on his high school team. Most college programs view him as a big-time prospect in the secondary, where he could play either cornerback or safety.
"College coaches like that I'm 6-2, and they say I move my hips like I'm 5-10 or 5-9," Jenkins said. "They say I'm 6-2 but I can move like a little guy, that I can change directions well. They say there aren't many guys my size in college that can move like me."
Indiana appears to like Jenkins as a cornerback first and foremost, but the Hoosier staff also thinks they could put his athleticism to use on the offense side of the ball as well.
"Coach (Billy) Lynch is recruiting me, and he coaches the receivers and he said I could play receiver as well, maybe run the ‘Wildcat' formation," Jenkins said.
The Hoosier staff believes it has something besides early playing time and strong academics to offer Jenkins. It would also be a chance for him to reunite with childhood friend Donnell Jones, a fellow Lakewood H.S. product.
"We're really good friends and grew up together," Jenkins said. "He's a couple of years older than me but we still stay in touch."
If Indiana can get Jenkins to visit, it's a good bet that Jones would be his host and that the redshirt freshman corner would make his best effort to get his childhood friend to join him in the IU defensive backfield. It won't necessarily be easy to convince Jenkins that he should back off his USF pledge and instead opt to play in the Big Ten, but Jenkins isn't ruling anything out at this point.
"My commitment (to USF) is pretty strong, but I want to take my officials because you never know when you're going to get a feeling that a certain place is the right place for you," Jenkins said. "You never know what can happen."
Hoosiers Not Giving Up on Jenkins
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