A&M Receives JUCO LB Commit

Even though the resurgent Aggies will have 18 returning starters back for the 2011 season, the team will have a couple of holes to fill at linebacker with the graduation of Von Miller and Michael Hodges. Thus, Texas A&M has decided to dip into the pool of junior college talent to land their latest commitment. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop talked to the newest Aggie.

When it comes to recruiting, typically the college coaches identify and pursue the best football players in the country. But occasionally, it's the player that seeks out the schools of his choice. That's what Coffeyville Community College freshman linebacker Steven Jenkins and his defensive coordinator James Lott did in recent weeks and it ended in a scholarship offer and commitment to Texas A&M.

"Coach Lott contacted the A&M staff about me and sent them my tape," Jenkins said Thursday night. "They first contacted me last week and said the staff really liked my performance this season. Then, Coach Nguyen called me tonight and everybody signed off on me, so he offered me a scholarship, and I accepted."

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker took the Big 12 offer sight unseen. Jenkins will see Texas A&M for the first time next weekend when he takes his official visit to College Station.

"I watched Texas A&M play on TV a couple of times and I liked the aggressive 3-4 defense. It fits my aggressive style perfectly and I like the name ‘Wrecking Crew'," Jenkins said. "Texas A&M is a big-time school and I didn't want to lose my place so I committed. I've come too far to wait around and lose this opportunity."

Coming out of Pensacola Pine Forest High School following the 2008 season, Jenkins earned second-team all-state honors but his qualification status scared off most colleges and left the talented linebacker to search not only for a football home, but an institution to redeem himself in the classroom. That led him to Coffeyville Community College.

"I received some attention from Troy and FAU (Florida Atlantic) sent me some things but I didn't have any offers," Jenkins said. "So I had to start sending my tape to schools and looking for somebody that would take me and that's how I ended up at Coffeyville."

Jenkins redshirted that first year to get acclimated and to work on his academics. While he excelled in the classroom, the year away from live competitive action took its toll on the Florida native. But the hunger for the game that resulted from the layoff gave him a new perspective of the game that transformed him into an aggressive, "hold-nothing-back" player on the field.

"Things for me changed with that redshirt year," Jenkins said. "I got everything in order, but it was not being able to play that really gave me a hunger and a focus for the game I didn't have before. When the 2010 season came, I knew I had to make the most of my opportunity."

And that's exactly what he did. The redshirt freshman became a disruptive force on the field from his outside linebacker spot. His relentless pursuit of the ball and his hard hitting are his trademarks, and his play resulted in impressive season statistics – 91 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, six sacks, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and a blocked extra point returned for two points.

Jenkins plans to enroll at Texas A&M in January and he'll have three years to play three years since he redshirted last season. While there is speculation whether he'll play inside or outside, Jenkins says he's wanted on the outside.

"I can play either position, but I think they want to give me a shot at the rush linebacker position," Jenkins said. "Von Miller is graduating and they need to find a replacement for him."

The Aggies continue to evaluate JUCO linebackers to plug the holes that will be created by the graduation of starting linebackers Von Miller and Michael Hodges. Thus, expect at least one more commitment from the junior college ranks for the Aggies.

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