RB Prospect Daniel Jenkins

He's been flying under the radar a bit, but running back prospect Daniel Jenkins, the 5-9, 180-pounder from Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde, is a secret no longer after being the Nike Camp running back MVP. He talked to us about the state of his recruitment...

Each spring, an under-the-radar type, one who was perhaps overshadowed by a teammate or playing in obscurity, makes a name for himself.

Such has been the case with Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde running back Daniel Jenkins (5-9, 180), who, despite rushing for nearly 1,200 yards on only 79 carries (about 15 yards per carry) and scoring 26 touchdowns, played in the shadow of his older brother William and teammate Tyron Smith, the top-ranked tackle in the country last year.

Jenkins is making his own name now, and several schools are beginning to take a closer look at him.

"Georgia Tech, Missouri and Syracuse have all been contacting me, on a daily basis, through e-mail," said Jenkins. "UCLA too, I've been in contact with their running backs coach Wayne Moses and they're talking about giving me a good look for a potential offer."

Jenkins had a strong showing at the Los Angeles Nike Camp recently, earning running back MVP honors. . "I came into the Nike Camp just with the attitude of performing real well that day, and working hard, and things paid off," Jenkins said.

But some schools knew about him before the Nike Camp, UCLA being one of them.

"Daniel was invited to UCLA's Elite Junior Day on the 19th of April, the day before the camp, and we got a chance to see the school," said his father, William. "Coach (Rick) Neuheisel was outstanding. He spoke with all of the parents and was impressive. He said that UCLA was ranked number three of universities and he had a hard time figuring out which two schools could be better."

Jenkins was plenty impressed with UCLA himself. "The whole UCLA campus was great and it was everything that people told me it would be," said Jenkins. "The Bruin Walk, the whole aura there. It just overwhelmed me. I'm planning on going to their 1-Day Camp (in June)," said Jenkins.

And Westwood isn't the only place he plans to camp.

"I plan to go to Georgia Tech, Syracuse and the Boise State camp and so far I'm going to the UnderArmour/Scout Combine this spring," said Jenkins.

He's also hoping that the spring produces his first scholarship offer, which he's anxiously awaiting.

Jenkins said his top five schools are Georgia Tech, Missouri, UCLA, Syracuse and Boise State, and he also has interest in Vanderbilt, Alabama and Colorado.

"Michigan and Nebraska have come by the school and so has Utah and Vanderbilt," said Jenkins. "Missouri is on the way, too."

Jenkins said that he's hopeful an offer comes through soon, but he's not ready to end his recruitment just yet. "It really depends on the situation and what they're talking to me about (position-wise) and what other choices I have at the time," said Jenkins. "I want to take a couple of visits and go from there. I'm just waiting though. If anyone sees my talent, come get it. Now, if I find a situation that is good for me, what's the point in wasting time? I'll be talking it over with my dad, my brother and my coach. Ideally, it will be mid-season or towards the end of the season."

In looking at his college choices, Jenkins said a few factors would have a role in his decision-making process.

"First of all the academic prestige because academics are always the first in line of importance," said Jenkins. "Then the environment around it, the surroundings. Then what kind of program they have to offer, as far as athletics for football. One of the most important things too is the position coach. We have to have a good relationship."

Distance, though, wouldn't be a factor for Jenkins, and he's genuinely open to any of the schools recruiting him in terms of that. "Distance isn't going to be a factor at all," said Jenkins. "My dad said he'll travel if that's what I decide to do, even if it's the East coast."

Jenkins had a big junior year playing for Rancho Verde, and running behind Smith, his workout partner and close friend. Making it more impressive is that Jenkins is still only 15 years old, young for a junior, and he'll graduate from high school as a 16-year old.

"He just was waiting for the opportunity," said his father. "Those 1,100-1,200 yards were on 79 carries and he wasn't really utilized like he will be this year. At that rate, he'll get the 2,000 yards."

Jenkins is scheduled to take the SAT on Saturday and academically, has a 2.7 GPA with a goal of getting that to a 3.0 by the end of the semester.

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