Jenkins Sees Better Days Ahead for Michigan

2015 Pittsburgh (PA) Baldwin OT Sterling Jenkins was liked what he saw at Michigan before he made his way to Ann Arbor last weekend. He likes it even more now.

Sam Webb:  What was the game day experience like for you (Saturday)?

Sterling Jenkins:  “It was really surprising.  I wouldn’t say surprising, but I would say it showed a lot about Michigan’s competitiveness.  That and the atmosphere and watching them play for the first time in the Big House, I thought it was really cool.”

“Looking at past Ohio State-Michigan games that when that game comes around, no matter what the rankings are, they want to compete and they play a really good game no matter what the ranking is.  I knew that Michigan would give a fight.  I didn’t think that they would really get them on the ropes like that.”

Sam Webb:  What exactly did you learn about Michigan yesterday? 

Sterling Jenkins:  “I would definitely say that they can do much more than they have.  They can go and compete at a national level and not just the Big Ten.  They put Ohio State on the ropes yesterday and I think they have a lot going for them in the future.”

Sam Webb:  I know you were paying close attention to Taylor Lewan.  What did you see from him yesterday?

Sterling Jenkins:  “I could just tell that he wanted to compete.  I know what playing tough looks like and he was playing at a great level.  I thought it was really cool for him to play so well his last game.”

Sam Webb:  There was obviously a great deal of disappointment after the loss. Understanding that, how was your interaction with the coaches?

Sterling Jenkins:  “They were calm about it.  I talked to Coach Funk mostly about it. I told him good game, and he said, ‘yeah, we play to win’.  He just left it at that.  They played good but it came down to the wire and it wasn’t enough.  I still think he was proud of his players even though they didn’t get it done.”

Sam Webb:  What did you think of the decision to go for two?  Was that what you would have wanted made if you were on the team?

Sterling Jenkins:  “If I was a coach, I probably would have gone for one, but from what I’ve heard and asked about that situation, it seemed like he asked the senior for what they wanted to do.  They said go for two and the fans were all saying go for two.  Just going off of what everybody else wanted, he went for two and I think that was the (right) decision.”

Sam Webb:  As far as other places you’ve been, but how was that atmosphere, how the environment compared to some of the other game days you’ve been too?

Sterling Jenkins:  “It was a crazy to see all the diehard fans.  There were a lot of guys in yellow and blue, and a lot of people in red.  They were screaming at each other, sometimes outside or like in the actual seats they were yelling at the game or stuff, if there was a bad call.  They were really into it.  Even if there was a ten yard run, the crowd would just erupt.  I thought that was something really cool.”

Sam Webb:  I know in the past you came up for the BBQ and a lot of the commitments were there and they were recruiting you a little bit.  Was it the same this time when you were up there with the other committed guys, were they trying to court you a little bit for Michigan?

Sterling Jenkins:  “Not really.  I talked to some of the guys like Wilton Speight, Michael Ferns, but I was just saying what’s up to them.  We were all so into the game.  We really didn’t have that much recruiting talk.”

Sam Webb:  Reflect on your season, how did things go for you on the football field this past year?

Sterling Jenkins:  “We went to the playoffs, but we played the number two seed and we got knocked off then.  It was the first time we’ve been in the playoffs in ten years.  It was a big step forward I’d say.”

Sam Webb:  So you made progress.  I know when I talked to you in the summer, one of the things that you were working on was pass pro, particularly speed rushers, give me an idea of the growth of your game.  Evaluate yourself, where would you say you got better over the course of the season?

Sterling Jenkins:  “Getting used to speed rushers, which is definitely something I was working on.  I would say that I got better at a lot.  Even against the bigger stronger guys, I’ve done a better job blocking this year.  When we were in the playoffs, I think that was my best game.  That was our hardest opponent.  From watching films, I got my footwork better.  I would say it is a lot better than last year.”

Sam Webb:  Have you and your parents talked any more about your recruiting strategy, game plan, when are you going to start narrowing things down?

Sterling Jenkins:  “I don’t want to burn any bridges too soon.  If someone offered me, I wouldn’t just want to flat out tell them I’m not interested.  I really want to look at every school that I would be slightly interested in to see if that would be the best programming school for me.  When it comes to narrowing things down, it will probably be next year, like actually legit narrowing it down, telling people I’m not interested and stuff.  I don’t want to make enemies in this process.  I just want to find the best school that I can.”

Sam Webb:  You’re still open to every school, but among the schools that you are hearing from and have offered, where does Michigan sit on that list right now?

Sterling Jenkins:  “Definitely around the top with Ohio State and Penn State.  I don’t really have a rank like one, two, three, four, but they are up there in the six that I have in my considering group.”

Sam Webb:  What is it about Michigan that has them so high in your eyes at this point?

Sterling Jenkins:  “They were one of the first schools that recruited me that I heard of that gave me a scholarship.  Coach Funk is real laid back.  I’ve met all the coaching staff when I went up there and they were really welcoming and the recruits there were really enthusiastic about it and were saying it was the place to be.  If I were to commit there, I feel like I would have a home there and a family.  It wouldn’t have to be something I had to start fresh and feel awkward about it. It is already there.”

Sam Webb:  Tell me your thoughts on Ohio State. What did you think about that offense?  Also, you named three schools in the Midwest that you’re high on.   I know when we talked before, the cold and the snow were things that you wanted to get away from.  Is that still going to be an objective of yours to get into a warm weather climate?

Sterling Jenkins:  “I would say Ohio State…I love the campus and I really do love the coaches.  Even though at first, it took a while to really gain a better relationship with them.  I like the coaches there.  The only thing I would be worried about is playing time and how long it would take for me to get a starting job at a tackle position.  Of course, it comes down to hard work and who’s the best… but and depth chart wise, is there going to be a spot for me? When it comes to climate, the best school turned out to be in Alaska, I would go there.  Climate is just a bonus.  If the best school was warm that would be nice.  If there was some school that I didn’t like and it was cold, obviously I wouldn’t go there.  I’m pushing that lower on my priority list because it might get in the way one of the better schools.”

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