Worth the wait

Diondre Jenkins received a scholarship offer from Wisconsin this weekend and verbally committed

Diondre Jenkins, an all-state wide receiver from Racine Park (Wis.) High School, took an official visit to the University of Wisconsin this weekend and verbally committed to become a part of the Badger football program.

"I got back today from my visit and gave them the commitment yesterday," Jenkins said. "I will be going to Wisconsin."

Jenkins, 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, waited a long time to receive a scholarship offer from UW. The Badgers have long been his favorite, but he verbally committed to Northern Illinois in October. The Huskies had offered and were recruiting him with more vigor than Wisconsin.

But the Badgers kept in touch and told him an offer might be on its way. It finally arrived this weekend.

"I was cutting it close," Jenkins said. "I'm just glad that it's over with and I know where I'll be at next year."

Why did Jenkins choose Wisconsin?

"I've always liked Wisconsin," he said. "Another big thing is the Big Ten—great exposure and coaches. This visit, I really got to know the academics… the weight program they had, the strength and conditioning coach. I didn't know a lot about that but this visit, it really, they have some of the best stuff in the nation and coaches in the nation. And players, that was the big thing is, just the receivers that have come through here—Lee Evans, (Chris) Chambers and it's in-state too, that's a big thing."

The Badgers' top three wide receivers in 2005 were seniors and the position has been an obvious focal point for the program in recruiting. Jenkins' commitment gives the Badgers six potential wide receivers in the 2006 class, joining Lance Kendricks (Milwaukee King), Xavier Harris (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Niles Brinkley (St. Louis), Isaac Anderson (Hopkins, Minn.) and Daven Jones (Glenville, Ohio).

"I think I'll fit in pretty well with the class that we have coming in," Jenkins said. "We have a good amount of receivers in the ones that are leaving this year. I'll fit in just as long as I work hard and keep my head on straight, I think I'll be very productive."

Jenkins thoroughly enjoyed his official visit this weekend. Jenkins, who plans to major in sports medicine or a related field, met with a professor regarding that course of study.

"The first half (of the official visit) was all academics, going over stuff, going over with the educational advisors, the people that we're going to be around, checking up on us," Jenkins said. "The second half of the day, we met with the coaches and I met with the receivers coach (Henry Mason), which was nice, and I talked to (head coach) Bret (Bielema) for a little while. After that, we actually got to go to a hockey game last night. That was pretty fun. Spend time with my host, that was basically it."

Jenkins host for his visit was freshman wide receiver Jarmal Ruffin.

Last fall, Jenkins helped Park win a Division 1 state championship. He caught 28 passes for 526 yards and 10 touchdowns and was an Associated Press and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first-team all-state choice.

Jenkins is an exceptional athlete. He won a state championship in the 400 meters last spring with a time of 49.36 seconds. He also plays basketball on Park's 10-5 squad, and is averaging 11.1 points per game, according to the Journal Sentinel.

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