Staying The Course

Despite a month of relative upheaval in his personal recruiting world, things are staying roughly the same for five-star prospect Josh Jenkins. He continues to favor two schools but has a visit to a third planned this weekend. Get all the latest on his recruitment here on

Things might be changing for Josh Jenkins, but to some extent they are remaining the same.

In the last month, the five-star offensive lineman from Parkersburg, W.Va., has officially de-committed from West Virginia in a move that appeared to put Ohio State in the driver's seat for his recruitment. But now with less than one month remaining until National Signing Day, it still appears to be a two-horse race between the Buckeyes and the Mountaineers for Jenkins' services.

At least, that's how Parkersburg assistant coach Mark McCullough, who handles Jenkins' recruitment, sees it.

"It's going to come down to between Ohio State and West Virginia, that's just the way he and I have talked about," McCullough told

Former WVU head coach Rich Rodriguez accepted the head coaching job at Michigan, the final straw that caused Jenkins to de-commit. The Mountaineers then appointed Bill Stewart to the position after he led WVU to a 48-28 victory against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.

Prior to playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio during the first week of January, Jenkins said he would consider the Mountaineers if Stewart reached out to him. It appears that has taken place.

The thing is, McCullough said there are a great deal of similarities between Stewart and OSU head coach Jim Tressel.

"What you see is what you get with Bill," he said. "He's a very genuine person. The same thing with Coach Tressel. It's truly a blessing to be able to sit and talk with Coach Tressel. He and Coach Stewart are out of the same mold."

Jenkins is set to take an official visit this weekend to Florida State, where former WVU offensive line coach Rick Trickett holds the same position for the Seminoles. Trickett was a big part of the reason Jenkins committed to WVU in the first place, and his decision to leave helped open the door for Jenkins to begin exploring other schools such as OSU.

McCullough said the Seminoles are a clear third on Jenkins' list behind OSU and WVU, and that partly has to do with something the Buckeyes have enjoyed for seven seasons now: coaching stability.

"You have coaches leave that have a $4 million buyout just to leave," McCullough said, referring to Rodriguez. "That's pretty strong in his mind that that's just the way college sports work. He's looking for some stability. He's looking for someone that's going to be there.

"Stability is going to be the biggest key that he's doing to look for. He looks at Ohio State and the great tradition and you look and see that they have great stability in their coaching staff and they have wonderful people in their coaching staff."

In addition, McCullough cited the distance involved with FSU as part of the reason why he feels Jenkins will not end up there.

Jenkins' responsibilities to both the recruiting process and the Army game have prevented him from suiting up for Parkersburg's basketball team this season. In the next week, coaches from OSU, WVU, Pittsburgh and FSU will all be on campus to meet with Jenkins and his coaches.

However, it remains unclear as to whether or not he will take an official visit to WVU. He has visited there unofficially several times. He has already taken official visits to OSU and Florida.

Jenkins has become friends with the three offensive linemen already verbally committed to OSU for its class of 2008: Dublin (Ohio) Coffman's Mike Adams, Orlando Edgewater's Michael Brewster and J.B. Shugarts of Klein, Texas. In an interview with while in San Antonio, Jenkins made it sound like the three of them could actually hurt OSU's chances of landing him.

That might all have been a misunderstanding, McCullough said.

"I had heard about that before and Josh feels comfortable with his playing ability and his position that if he did go to Ohio State that he would get the opportunity that he wants," he said. "Again, you've got to remember that he's being talked to by so many different people.

"Florida State's making a good point, saying, ‘Josh, you're going to start right now for me.' Trickett is saying, ‘This is a situation that I need you right now' where Ohio State is going to have an excellent recruiting class, but it's a class that is just stocked with great individuals. I don't see that being a factor for Josh."

Look for a final decision from Jenkins on National Signing Day.

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