On The Road Again

The weekend was a blur for Jelani Jenkins and his family. They stopped to check out four Midwest schools in three days.

"We were all over the place," he said.

In three days, Jelani Jenkins, his father, mother and stepfather took in the campuses at Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Illinois.

On Sunday, the Wheaton, Md., product and Our Lady Good Counsel High standout was in South Bend for the first time. Jenkins and his family arrived in the afternoon and left in the evening.

"The coaching staff was very informative about the way they would treat Jelani," Maurice Jenkins began. "They thought he'd be able to get early playing time. They're looking at playing him at outside linebacker. They figure they'd be able to create a lot of formations that he'd be able to do a lot of blitzing out of."

"Of course the academic history of Notre Dame is such that it is one of the best institutions in the country, as well as their very rich legacy of football.

"The facilities are great facilities, and the campus is beautiful. We didn't really get a chance to experience the student body. Other than that, those are some of things that stuck out.

"(Jelani) pretty much talked about the same things. What I expressed to you, was the general consensus of his mom, step-dad and Jelani."

This past season, Jenkins used his 4.45 speed in the 40-yard dash, to register 60 tackles, four sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble. Playing outside linebacker the majority of the game, Jenkins also recovered two fumbles. He sometimes sees action at safety.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Jenkins also rushed for 791 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was named to the prestigious first-team All-Met squad by the Washington Post, and has a 4.0 GPA.

Jenkins spent most of his time on campus with Notre Dame defensive coordinator Corwin Brown.

"We were very impressed with coach Brown," Jenkins stated. "He was able to talk to us about the significance of how Notre Dame's defense closely relates to a lot of NFL schemes. He pretty much kind of gave Jelani a coach that has been around, and he gave the heads up on some things he needs to think about in reference to life issues and football. He was very good in bringing answers to the table, and seems like he would be a great mentor for Jelani if he went to Notre Dame as well."

The family also got some one-on-one time with head coach Charlie Weis.

"Coach Weis pretty much reiterated that Jelani would play a strong role in the football program, and he thought Jelani would be an immediate impact player and come in and make a difference."

Did Notre Dame do enough to earn an official visit out of Jenkins down the road?

"I believe they are one of the finest institutions, but like I said, we're trying to take in all the information," the elder Jenkins explained. "We haven't even begun to talk about these are our top five. Everyone is equal at this point, but we were impressed with the institution."

Jenkins said they'd like to take a trip down to the Florida schools and also check out Boston College. Earlier this summer, they flew out West and took in USC, UCLA and Stanford. Out East, they've seen Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Penn State and West Virginia. Everybody has offered.

Jenkins commented on the other places the family visited last weekend.

Michigan: The University of Michigan, we were pretty impressed with their program as well. Specifically, they just built an academic center that was state of the art. Their facilities are getting better with the new structures they're building. We were pretty impressed with their strength and conditioning coach. The campus was very cosmopolitan."

Illinois: "What sticks out about Illinois is the relationships the players have with the coaching staff. Coach Zook is a players coach, and they all talked about how he is changing that program around. Their facilities are in growth mode."

Michigan State: "Coach (Ted) Gill over there, we were definitely appreciative they made that happen Sunday morning. They're building a major football center and merging it with a academic facility over there. They're moving in the right direction. We didn't get a chance to meet a lot of the coaches. We met coach Gill and the defensive coordinator."

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