He has emerged as a major want for a number of colleges, including a handful from the Southeastern Conference. Jelks, of Henry County High School in Paris, Tenn., holds offers from Tennessee, Ole Miss, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.
He has already taken three unofficial visits to Tennessee, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt this summer. He visited Ole Miss over the weekend, where he sat down with head coach Houston Nutt and offensive line coach Mike Markuson. He has another visit scheduled, to Alabama, for Friday.
"It was a great trip," he said of the visit to Ole Miss. "I got to sit down with Coach Nutt and Coach Markuson. We just talked and I got to know them and Ole Miss football. It was just a really good trip."
Ole Miss could lose both of its starting offensive tackles following the 2011-12 season, making the position a priority for the recruiting class of 2012. Left tackle Bradley Sowell, a senior, is entering his final season. Right tackle Bobby Massie, a junior, is draft eligible, and very much an early-entry candidate for the NFL Draft next spring.
"They were talking about how badly they wanted me and how those tackle spots are going to be a prime position, ‘cause they have a senior and a junior starting at left tackle and right tackle this year," Jelks said. "They're going to be in need of a tackle here soon. They just said they really want me and they're going to be after me hard."
The 6-foot-6, 255-pound Jelks -- rated a three-star recruit and the No. 43 tackle in the country by Scout.com -- is mainly aiming to play in the SEC. But there are other factors in his recruitment, as well.
"I want to play at the highest level of football, which is the SEC. And then I'm looking at academics. That's a main thing," he said. "Just the coaching staff, and I'm really looking at the stability of the program. That's the main thing I'm looking at also."
In an earlier interview with Scout.com, Jelks named Vanderbilt as his leader. He said he has built the strongest bond with the Commodore coaching staff.
Sunday, however, he simply named five schools of interest: Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Alabama. Ole Miss, he said, is "definitely up there on my list of top schools."
"I really just want to get out there and see all these colleges," Jelks said. "I want to narrow down my list after the summer. If I'm comfortable with one particular school, I'll commit. But if I'm not, I'm going to narrow it down and take my official visits in the fall."
As for his senior season, Jelks has a relatively simple goal. He only wants to add weight.
"These college coaches, they said they think I'm fine the way I am. But I'm about 255 (pounds) right now. By the time the season comes around in August and September, I want to be playing around 270-275. Mainly, I'm just trying to add pounds of pure muscle," he said.
Jelks reports a perfect 4.0 core GPA and a score of 22 on his ACT.
'A great trip'
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