For an encore, Jenkins helped Park's football team win the WIAA Division 1 state championship last fall. He has good size at 6-foot-3, 192 pounds and his speed and leaping ability are impressive. Jenkins is a bit raw as a receiver, but his production in 2005—29 receptions, 569 yards, 10 touchdowns—was impressive.
Jenkins initially committed to Northern Illinois in October, but he received a scholarship offer from Wisconsin during his official visit the weekend before signing day and quickly committed to the Badgers. Why did it take so long for Wisconsin to offer? More than anything, UW was waiting to see how Jenkins did academically last semester.
"First quarter I had a 4.0 and the second quarter I had straight Bs, so that really helped in making sure that I had my scholarship, so that my grades were right and they matched up with my ACT," Jenkins said. "It was a big semester for me."
Jenkins said his cumulative grade-point average is now a 2.612 and that he scored a 17 on his ACT. In college, he plans to pursue a degree in a sports medicine-related field, such as athletic training or physical therapy.
Jenkins was recruited as an athlete, but he expects and hopes to play wide receiver.
Badger Nation: Do you remember what your first impression of the University of Wisconsin was?
Diondrae Jenkins: "Just that it was a real big school… and at first I didn't think I would be able to play. But after a little while, talking to the coaches and how most freshman come in and how they work with them, it kind of grew on me that I could fit in here and be productive."
BN: Do you have a favorite memory from your official visit?
DJ: "I would say it would have to be going into Coach Bielema's office and getting the scholarship papers."
BN: What are you most proud of from your high school career?
DJ: "Probably I would have to say how I have come along from my freshman to senior year in sports and academic-wise. Because I've made some big strides in that, from my freshman and sophomore year to my junior year (when) in football (we were) 3-6, and winning a state championship my senior year… and track, winning the state championship (in the 400). Just the transition that I've made coming from a freshman to a senior. I've done pretty well."
BN: Are you thinking about running track in college?
DJ: "Yeah, I do want to. We really haven't discussed that a lot but hopefully I will be able to because that's something I want to pursue."
BN: Would you focus on the middle sprints, or is there anything else you'd like to compete at in college?
DJ: "Probably just the middle sprints."
BN: Did you have a favorite college team growing up?
BN: Is there an athlete you would say you modeled your game after growing up?
"Not so much growing up because I wasn't into football that much but I would say lately it has been Hines Ward who I've tried to (emulate). He blocks well, and that's one thing that I've grown to like is blocking. And I take pride in that, so I'd probably say Hines Ward."
Editor's note: Several hours after this interview took place, Ward was named Super Bowl MVP.
BN: Do you have a favorite sports movie of all time?
DJ: Remember the Titans
BN: Favorite non-sports historical figure?
DJ: Martin Luther King
BN: Who would you say has influenced your football career the most or served as a role model for you?
DJ: "I would have say my head coach Dennis Thompson and my receiver coach Justin Davis. They really helped me reach my football potential and they helped me realize that I could play college football."
BN: Do you expect to redshirt?
DJ: "I don't know. I'm not exactly sure because of my size right now, maybe. But if I have a good summer and I put on the weight that I'm supposed to and the strength that I need I think there's a 50/50 chance that I might or might not."
BN: Do you have goals in mind for yourself for your college career?
DJ: "First of all, I just want to complete the four years. And secondly just make the most out of the opportunity I've been given to play football at the University of Wisconsin. A big goal would be probably to get some time freshman year."
BN: Do you have an idea of where you hope to be in 10 years?
DJ: "Realistically, hopefully I'll probably be somewhere in sports medicine. But my dream is hopefully to be playing in the NFL in 10 years."