Standout OT Jenkins Down to Two

Pittsburgh, Pa., Baldwin tackle has narrowed his list following a pair of weekend visits. Which schools made the cut?

Spring drills are over for Penn State and Ohio State. Now, each will turn a heavy eye to recruiting, with the spring contact period set to begin Tuesday.

Both programs will travel countrywide looking for the next big prospect or to continue developing relationships in high schools everywhere. No matter where they go, though, plenty of their focus will be directed at Pittsburgh, the home of Sterling Jenkins.

The Baldwin High four-star offensive tackle visited both programs this past weekend, seeing the Buckeyes Friday and Nittany Lions Saturday. By the time he was back in Pittsburgh, he was ready to call his recruitment a two-horse race.

"I was really thinking about it — I haven't really thought of a school that I would reach out to," Jenkins said. "If a coach came to me and I looked into them, I'd maybe add them to the mix. But as of now, I wouldn't think of any other schools."

Jenkins arrived at University Park early Saturday morning to find an atmosphere mirroring that of a regular season game, even if the event was nothing more than Penn State's spring-ending scrimmage. Fans asked for pictures, recruits — committed and uncommitted alike — approached him for a hand shake and hello, and the Lions' staff made certain he knew they knew he was there.

It's hard to miss the 6-foot-8, 312-pound lineman. The group of 2014 and 2015 commitments on campus sure didn't. Jenkins said he spent the day with a majority of them.

"They were really excited," Jenkins said of the commitments. "You could tell they had bought into [Penn State head] Coach [James] Franklin and the rest of the staff's vision for Penn State. It was exciting, and we were going around like a group of friends."

His tour with the pledges included a post-game speech from Franklin that offered the oft-visitor to campus a new perspective on the man recruiting him.

"I was the only non-commit there, and he was talking about the importance of believing in the vision," Jenkins said. "That's something I hadn't heard before."

What was the message?

"I know a lot of people say he's just talking himself up and can't back it up, but he made it apparent he knew the situation," Jenkins said of Franklin's message. "He was talking about there being holes in the depth chart. I thought it was pretty cool to make that clear to the commits."

In Columbus, Jenkins was afforded the opportunity to watch Ohio State's final practice before its own spring game. Head coach Urban Meyer's units were aggressive, the tackle said, which showed him the type of bond they have formed throughout the spring.

It also showed him another side of the Buckeyes' coaching staff that he hadn't seen before.

"It was interesting because I know there are a lot of people that don't think I like Ohio State, but I respect those guys and like visiting," Jenkins said. "Before it was just a recruiting deal, and while it was a little bit of that this time, it was more of a realistic thing with them practicing and gearing up. That was really interesting."

A chat with Meyer and offensive line coach Ed Warinner followed practice.

"I would say that it was really interesting," Jenkins said of his dealings with Warinner. "I never saw him coach, and I only heard these good things. It makes sense now that he's such a prestigious coach. I saw him teach and coach and get the guys ready for spring ball. I never saw that before, and it became apparent how good he is."

Ohio State pitched how much it wanted him, and stressed the idea of taking his time to make sure his decision is a final one no matter what school he picks. It was not a new idea to the tackle, whose recruitment has been a picture perfect example of thoroughness.

A May or June decision has always been the goal, and Jenkins says it still is. He will return to Columbus at a yet to be determined time so his stepmother can see campus and meet the staff. She will have the same opportunity at Penn State the first week of May.


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