Baldwin's Jenkins, New Jersey QB commit to Penn State
Sterling Jenkins knew months ago he wanted to go to Penn State. He just wanted to stay patient with his decision enough to ensure it was the right one.
That, and there was the matter of getting grandma on board, too.
Baldwin's Jenkins made public his verbal commitment to Penn State on Tuesday. One of the most highly-rated offensive line prospects in the country for the Class of 2015, Jenkins announced his decision on KDKA-TV.
“I have put a lot of thought into this, and it's been Penn State for awhile,” Jenkins told the Tribune-Review. “I just wanted to make sure.
“I didn't want to make a spur-of-the-moment type thing during or after a good visit. I wanted it to be a long-lasting feeling. I wanted to make sure that months afterward, Penn State was still on my mind.”
The 6-foot-8, 312-pound Jenkins is rated as his graduating class' No. 1 prospect in Pennsylvania and the No. 6 offensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com. He had scholarship offers from more than a dozen schools, including Ohio State, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Alabama and Pitt.
Jenkins had said that Penn State and Ohio State were his two finalists, but it became increasingly apparent over recent months that the Nittany Lions were his clear preference. Jenkins has visited the PSU campus at least five times — the most recent coming Monday, when four guests tagged along: His father, stepmother, youngest sister and grandmother.
“It was really important getting my family on board, too,” Jenkins said. “Really, I have been on board but was just giving it more time. I wanted to see if this really was the real thing nor not. Getting my parents up there and seeing campus made me realize it was time for me to commit.”
Verbal commitments are non-binding until national letters of intent can be signed in February, but Jenkins insists this is “a serious commitment.”
Per Rivals.com and ESPN, Jenkins becomes the highest-rated recruit new Lions coach James Franklin and staff have nabbed yet in what has been a busy — and highly-fruitful — four months on the job recruiting. Penn State entered Tuesday with the nation's No. 2-ranked 2015 incoming class behind only Alabama.
Although much has been made of Franklin's “dominate the state” mantra — one he has backed up in that each of the top five 2015 Rivals.com recruits to make a verbal commitment have chosen PSU — this is his first foray into the Pittsburgh area.
Jenkins becomes the first WPIAL player to commit to Penn State that was recruited by Franklin and his staff.
“From the time this staff arrived, they've been big on building relationships,” Baldwin coach Pete Wagner said. “They make you feel comfortable — and there's a big comfort level for (Jenkins) up there.”
Jenkins was one of the first prospective recruits Franklin visited after being hired.
Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, cornerbacks coach/defensive recruiting coordinator Terry Smith and offensive line coach Herb Hand all were active in recruiting Jenkins. Smith is a former player and coach at Gateway High School and Shoop is an Oakmont native.
“(The staff) knows how important relationships are, and they really want to make sure they care about the players,” Jenkins said. “And if they care this much, there's no doubt in my mind they are going to go far places — and that's something I wanted to be a part of.”
QB chooses Penn State
Later Tuesday evening, Penn State added another high-profile 2015 recruit when Jersey City, N.J., quarterback Brandon Wimbush announced on bleacherreport.com he was choosing PSU over Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Miami and Boston College.
The 6-foot-2, 208-pound Wimbush is rated as the country's No. 6 pro-style quarterback in the 2015 class by Rivals.com.