The Final Visits

With time running out before National Signing Day, highly coveted players such as Josh Jenkins are expecting the final pitches from some of the top programs in the country as they try to make a final decision. This Friday, one coaching staff will get a chance to make the final visit to meet with Jenkins, and BuckeyeSports.com has the details.

A strong case could be made for Ohio State being the home team in the pursuit to land coveted offensive lineman Josh Jenkins. Much like in a baseball game, the Buckeyes will get the final in-person crack at the five-star prospect.

With National Signing Day looming on the horizon, this week is the final chance for coaches to make the trip to Parkersburg, W.Va., to meet with Jenkins in person. The last visitor to head to Jenkins' school will be OSU offensive line coach Jim Bollman, a coach who has grown particularly close to the Parkersburg coaching staff as well as their prized recruit.

"Coach Bollman is coming in on Friday, and we always enjoy having his visits," Parkersburg assistant Mark McCullough, who handles Jenkins' recruitment, told BuckeyeSports.com. "A person that's lost in a lot of this is Coach Bollman. I want to tell you right now, he is a quality individual. He is just a person that a lot of times you'll see coaches walk through the door and you'll say, ‘Oh boy.' It's not like that when Coach Bollman comes in. He's someone that you really get to like and enjoy having him around."

Bollman will not be the only coach on hand during the week, however. McCullough said coaches from Florida State and West Virginia are expected to be on hand at some point during the week, although they had not yet firmed up which date which team will be there.

One week ago, FSU head coach Bobby Bowden made a rare visit to meet with Jenkins. A former WVU head coach, Bowden left an impression on some of the older members of the community who remember him from his 10 years on the Mountaineers coaching staff.

Bowden's trip came one week after OSU head coach Jim Tressel did the same.

"I think the reaction from the younger kids was bigger for Coach Tressel from the sense that a lot of them are Ohio State fans and they know him, whereas with Coach Bowden, him being at West Virginia for 10 years, some of the teachers remembered him. It was pretty comparable, but Coach Tressel is just such a super person – not saying that Bobby's not.

"Bobby can sit and tell stories and stories and stories and what a personality and Coach Tressel can do the same thing and they're both very charismatic individuals and you can just tell and see why they've been successful at what they do."

All that aside, McCullough said Jenkins' top two schools remain OSU and WVU and that a final decision will likely be made between those two.

Michigan was a team that had been showing Jenkins interest, but it appears that ship has sailed.

"I don't know what the story is about Michigan," McCullough said. "Michigan wasn't in last week, so I'd say they're all the way out. It's going to come down, I would say – like I've been saying the whole time – it's going to be between Ohio State and West Virginia. I really feel stronger about that today for no other reason than that's just the way I see it."

A two-time winner of the Hunt Award, which is presented annually to the top prep player in West Virginia, Jenkins originally verbally committed to WVU but opted to re-open his commitment following his junior season.

Located just on the other side of the Ohio River from Ohio, McCullough said he is noticing an equal number of OSU and WVU fans in town.

"If you go up to our mall and just sit – and I've not been that aware of it until all this started – I sit there and you'll see as many Ohio State as you do West Virginia and I think every one of them has voiced their opinion to Josh," he said. "Our papers cover Ohio State as well as they do West Virginia"

The 6-3½, 305-pound Jenkins will announce his final decision at a press conference at his high school on signing day.

"It's a tough decision for him, but I have faith he'll get everything figured out," McCullough said. "I know he will, because the day's going to come when he'll have to say and sign.

"I think when I was talking to him today he was probably in the best mood I've seen him in a good while, and I think a little bit of that comes from the fact that he knows it's just a little over a week away and maybe he can get back and actually be a senior in high school. I think it's going to be a big relief for him."


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