Fans who tuned in to the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 5 were treated to see an unusual site: defensive end Jordan Jenkins (Hamilton, Ga./Harris Co.), who would soon after commit to Georgia, playing defensive tackle.
According to his father, Ronald Jenkins, defensive tackles were lacking on the Black team and Jordan was asked to slide over and help. Jenkins agreed quickly to help out, and the 6-foot-3, 228-pound standout spent a lot of the week leading up to the game crashing into the top offensive linemen in the country, many of whom outweighed him by 75 pounds or more.
Despite being out of his natural position, Jenkins responded well, tying the UA All-America record for tackles in a game with eight, and recording two sacks. His performance was so impressive that Georgia defensive line coach Rodney Garner might be salivating at the thought of Jenkins suiting up on his line.
Garner will have to be content with Jonathan Taylor (Millen, Ga./Jenkins Co.) since Jenkins has no desire to switch positions.
“People think that just because he was successful he may have changed his mind,” Ronald Jenkins said. “He hasn’t. He wanted to play defensive end, but he put the team first.”
The Black team benefited from the move, as Jenkins proved to be more than the White team’s talented linemen could handle.
“He played the least amount of any defensive lineman on our side,” Ronald Jenkins said. “He made all those tackles in limited play. He also had some on the kickoff team.”
It was only late in the game that Jordan was given a chance to play DE. He asked to switch back to his natural position since he had a target in mind.
“Jordan had his own goals,” Ronald Jenkins said. “He wanted to try to get the sack record.”
Having gotten two sacks already, a third would have given him the Under Armour All-America Game record for sacks. Jenkins didn’t get the record, but his presence was felt all over the field, regardless.
“He did well and I am proud of him,” Ronald said. “He wasn’t in there much at all but he did make plays when he was in. We had a lot of people down there to see him come off the edge, since that is what everyone is recruiting him to do.”
The No. 61 overall player in the ESPNU 150, Jenkins committed to Georgia last Monday after a long recruiting battle that included Alabama and Florida. Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham sold Jenkins on being an outside linebacker, blitzing often and causing mayhem in the backfield, just as Jarvis Jones did this past year.
“Jordan wants to rush the passer,” Ronald said.
And Coach Garner will just have to dream about what could have been.