Jenkins Tops List Of Buckeye Candidates

With Tuesday's election at the forefront of discussion amongst most Americans, media personnel took members of the Ohio State football team to the polls and asked which Buckeye would be most likely to be a successful politician. The results seemed to skew toward one Buckeye cornerback, but it being a political topic, there was much open for debate.

As Americans streamed toward the polls Tuesday afternoon in an effort to elect the 44th President of the United States, as well as make choices on a number of other issues, the Ohio State football team got to wondering who among them could one day stage a successful political race.

After all, a number of potential candidates should jump out simply because of their actions.

Defense continues to be an important subject with terrorism and the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan still ongoing, and who knows more about defense than someone like James Laurinaitis?

Some might view Justin Boren as a flip-flopper, but the Wolverine-turned-Buckeye might be one who could use his contacts to reach across the aisle in these times of unparalleled partisanship.

And Americans tired of political spin and doubletalk might yearn for the straight talk espoused by Alex Boone, who has always been quick with an opinion.

But those associated with the Ohio State football team who were interviewed Tuesday seemed to have one candidate who rose to the forefront. The Buckeye primary, it seems, was won by Malcolm Jenkins.

"Malcolm Jenkins is a unifying guy," said head coach Jim Tressel, who often has been called a senator because of his reserved and thoughtful demeanor. "He's that guy, he wants to talk about football, when he practices football he demands out of the scout team they do what he demands out of himself.

"Then when football's over, he's on the campus doing things. He's not just staying in his own little world. He makes sure that the whole campus knows who he is and he'd there to help and all those things."

Tressel punctuated his remarks by pounding his fist on the lectern while adding, "I would vote for Malcolm Jenkins."

Tressel's suggestion – endorsement? – was followed up by Jenkins' fellow defensive back, Kurt Coleman.

"He's a very convincing man, and he does everything with a lot of passion," Coleman said. "If he were to run, I think a lot of people would really follow him because he's a great guy and a great leader."

A possible advertisement for Jenkins, from BSB's Matt Hager

In this era of constant political fact-checking, Coleman's words seem to have some truth behind them. Jenkins is one of the team's defensive captains and has served as the player who shouts encouragement to pump up the team after its traditional hive formation.

Off the field, Jenkins is the chaplain in his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, and serves as the lead – or stepmaster – for the organization's step-dancing group.

"He's involved with the fraternity in all our community service initiatives, plus he finds new charities to get involved with," Foday Kenneh, the vice basileus for the fraternity, previously told BSB. "This year we had an opportunity to talk to kids who had gotten in trouble during the school year and were now in rehabilitation centers. They were teenagers. We got to speak to them about what it takes to be successful and go to college."

Of course, Coleman might have had another reason for getting behind a Jenkins' administration: the possibility of a vice presidential nomination with his friend.

"I'll run," Coleman said. "I'll take the vice president spot. I think I can hold that spot down."

From across the aisle – err, room – came a dissenting voice when wideout Brian Robiskie was asked about Jenkins' prospects of a political career.

"Would I vote for Malcolm Jenkins?" he asked. "No. Too emotional."

Robiskie has long been an opponent of Jenkins' on the practice field, and he seemed to consider throwing his hat in the ring as an opponent on the political battlefield as well. When asked if he would consider being part of a ticket with position-mate Brian Hartline in 2012, Robiskie nodded.

"I like that," said Robiskie, another captain whose credentials include being named a finalist for the Draddy Trophy, which is known as the academic Heisman. "It has a nice ring to it, Brian and Brian."

But before Robiskie turned the practice field into yet another Battleground Ohio, he added a couple of other suggestions, including Tressel, wideouts coach Darrell Hazell, and a possible ticket of defensive linemen Doug Worthington – known for his persuasive and commanding way of speaking – and Dexter Larimore.

Robiskie had trouble coming up with a ticket he'd support, though, perhaps because of his skepticism about who on the team had actually been following the election closely.

"I'm trying to figure out who's been following the election because a lot of guys talk but they don't know what they're talking about," Robiskie said, drawing chuckles.

All of the election talk made it clear that the subject was fresh in the minds of many, including those team members who were interviewed. To many, that was an encouraging sign in a country that has long struggled getting youngsters to vote.

"It's great to see them involved and great to see that they feel this is an important day because it most certainly is," Tressel said.


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