Family Plan

In addition to being an outstanding football player, Parkersburg High School's Josh Jenkins is a family man. His tight relationships with his mother and brothers figured prominently in his decision to commit to West Virginia University.

"I wanted my mother to be able to watch me, and I wanted my family to be close and be able to be there for me," said the junior, who became West Virginia's first commitment in the Class of 2008 when he verbally committed to the Mountaineers on Friday. "That's important to me. My mom came up with me to visit West Virginia on Sept. 21, and she liked everything. She really liked the coaches, because they were very up front with us. They talked about the school, not just football, and told us what they expect out of us and from our family. We talked about the same things with them, and it was just a really good visit."

Despite the fact that he still has another year of high school left, Jenkins saw all he needed to see at West Virginia, and decided the time was right to commit to the Mountaineers.

"I didn't feel any pressure to commit or anything like that," he explained. "It was just the right decision. I wasn't unfocused about what I was doing at Parkersburg or anything like that. I know what the Big Reds' goals are right now, and I will work hard to achieve those."

In addition to Jenkins' mother Deborah Lenford, his brothers, Bill and Paul also figured in the decision. Both brothers played collegiately. Bill played at Ohio University and Fairmont State, while Paul, a 6-2, 315-pound offensive lineman, is currently a junior letterman and starter at Ohio U.

"I talked with both of them about the decision, because they've been through the process before," Josh said. "They supported me, and told me if I felt good about the decision, then it is a good choice for me and that I should go ahead and do it."

Also contributing to Jenkins' decision was his comfort level with Mountaineer offensive line coach Rick Trickett. Although he plays both offensive and defensive line in high school, Jenkins was recruited as a left offensive tackle by West Virginia, where he will be subjected to the aggressive style of WVU's highly successful assistant coach.

"I like how Coach Trickett pushes you and gets the best out of you," Jenkins said of his future position coach. "He goes crazy, and he is just so intense. I love the way he acts on the field."

Jenkins is probably already off to a good start in impressing his future mentor. During his visit to the WVU-Eastern Washington game, Jenkins took the time he had on the field before the game started to watch the offensive linemen warm up. That studious approach yielded a new bit of knowledge for Jenkins, and also showed how serious his approach to the game is.

"I was watching them pretty closely, and being down there you see how explosive they are, even in warm-ups. Dan Mozes and those guys, they just blow off the ball. I learned you have to do that all the time, and you can learn a lot of things like that by just watching. And I know Coach Trickett gets the best out of them."

It hasn't been a secret that Jenkins has had West Virginia on the top of his list for some time, so the outstanding junior's commitment to WVU wasn't the biggest of surprises. And although it's a long way until Feb. 6, 2008, which is the date Jenkins can sign his National Letter of Intent, there also isn't much concern that he will reopen the recruiting process.

"I just love what WVU had to offer," said the thoughtful and even-keeled Jenkins. "I've loved it there for a long time – that's what's in my heart. That was my first thought when I saw West Virginia; that I would love to play there.

"The word ‘commitment' is a huge thing for me," he continued. "I committed to West Virginia, and I am a man of my word. I am a Mountaineer."

NOTES

Jenkins had offers from Virginia Tech and Ohio in addition to WVU, and was also receiving heavy interest from many other schools. Notre Dame, Florida State, Michigan and Southern California, to name just a few, were in frequent contact with Jenkins and figured to offer scholarships as the year progressed.

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Jenkins has not yet taken the SAT or ACT, but figures to have no trouble qualifying. He currently holds a 3.5 GPA, showing that he excels in the classroom as well as on the football field.

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Slated as a left tackle for the Mountaineers, Jenkins doesn't feel any added pressure at performing to protect the quarterback from edge rushers. He has a quiet confidence that isn't loud or boastful, but indicates a strong personality that is secure in his abilities.

"I don't feel pressure about playing tackle at all," he said of the critical position. "I feel like I have the talent to do it, and I will go out and do my best."

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Former Mountaineer offensive lineman Rick Phillips has helped Jenkins with his techniques and to prepare for camp and his high school season. Phillips, a standout performer at West Virginia, is also an alumnus of Parkersburg High School.

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Josh is not the last of the Jenkins family. His younger brother, Justin, is an eight-grader who will likely surpass all of the brothers in size.

"I don't think it will be too long before he catches me," Jenkins said with a laugh.


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