July 28, 2008

Jelani Jenkins on another tour

Wheaton (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel linebacker Jelani Jenkins has already been on a west coast trip to see UCLA, USC and Stanford. His next tour is underway as he's already been to Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame with Illinois on the list for Monday. Here's the latest on the nation's No. 10 player...

"We're headed to Illinois right now," said Maurice Jenkins, Jelani's father, on Monday late morning. "We were at Michigan on Saturday, Michigan State early Sunday and we visited Notre Dame late Sunday. After Illinois we'll head back home."

Starting with their first visit, how did they like Michigan?

"Michigan was impressive, we liked the facilties and the academics. They just built a new facility for academic support and Michigan has a good reputation for academics. And on the football side, they showed us Michigan's defense from last year and how Jelani would fit into it. We were really impressed with the strength program and the trainers, that was one of the most impressive things we saw."

And how was Michigan State?

"They are doing a lot of growing," Maurice said. "They are putting a lot of money into the program and making some major renovations so the dedication is there. We met with coach Gill and the defensive coordinator, coach Pat Narduzzi and were very grateful for the time they spent with us."

And after MSU, it was on to Notre Dame.

"The Notre Dame visit went great, it's a beautiful campus, the staff was very hospitable and coach Weis has a great knowledge of the game from his NFL days. We met with Corwin Brown who went through the X's and O's with us and showed us how Jelani would fit in. He'd be a weakside linebacker for them and do a lot of blitzing.

"But we got to see the depth chart, the facilities were nice and of course the academics are excellent there. And they have a great legacy of football."

Jelani also visited Virginia Tech since his trip to California and the Hokies also impressed.

"They were strong as well," said Maurice. "They've had one of the top defenses in the country for 10 years or so, the facilities are excellent and they have good coaches. We were impressed with them as well."

After the Illinois visit, the Jenkins family hopes to take another trip or two before the season starts.

"We'd like to get up to see Boston College and down to see Miami and maybe Florida if we can," he said. "By early September we hope to have the list down to 10 or 5 schools so we can start determining where we'd like to take official visits. For now we're just seeing as many places as we can, doing research on schools and gathering information."

Have any of the schools the family has visited recently -- Maryland, Virginia, Penn State, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, USC, UCLA and Stanford -- been eliminated from consideration?

"No, we're not going to do that until we finish our summer visits and then feel comfortable in narrowing it down," he said. "And there are some schools we won't be able to visit this summer that we're going to consider for official visits so we are just gathering info now."

Jenkins, who boasts a 4.0 GPA, registered 60 tackles, four sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and recovered two fumbles as a junior on defense. He also rushed for 791 yards and 16 touchdowns at running back.

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