Jenkins developing into sterling prospect on the line for Baldwin
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Sterling Jenkins is different.
It's not just the 6-foot-8, 300-pound frame he possesses or the numerous scholarship offers he's already received heading in to his junior season at Baldwin, but it's more his unmatched dedication to bettering himself along with humility rarely seen in such highly sought after high schoolers.
“I never really saw myself as better than anyone because I was big. I just thought that was a tool that would help me along the way,”Jenkins said.
“I'm not really a cocky or arrogant guy. I know that who works the hardest is who gets the prize. That's what I try to do.”
Jenkins is a four-star offensive lineman recruit, ranked 75th overall on ESPN's Junior 300 list, and is the No. 1 prospect in Pennsylvania.
Head coach Pete Wagner knows how hard Jenkins worked to be where he is, and thinks he still has a lot of room for improvement.
“He's a big kid; he's still growing into his body in a lot of aspects,” Wagner said.
Jenkins says the source of his dedication comes from his freshman year when he was brought up to play varsity only to be sent back down after it was clear he wasn't ready, physically or mentally.
“When they put me back on the freshman team it was a big setback for me,” Jenkins said. “That's what drove me a lot in the offseason and at the end of the season, to earn that spot again.”
Jenkins played basketball until last year when he decided to focus solely on football. His offseason training days started at 4:30 a.m. when he woke up to get ready for the 30-minute trek to the high school.
“I never like waking my parents for a ride so I'd just walk up to the school,” Jenkins explained.
Once there, it was straight into the weight room for a breakfast, complete with squats, hang cleans and bench press, before a day full of classes followed by practice.
“That's commitment that he has shown to improve,” Wagner said. “Obviously, he's a big kid, big frame, but what goes along with this is the work ethic and commitment to progress.
Wagner knows first-hand what playing on the offensive line at the highest level is like — he played at Morehead State his junior and senior seasons — and already is preparing Jenkins for what to expect.
“College, there is no plays off. That's what we're trying to stress to him on a daily basis,” Wagner said. “A frontside play is just as important as a backside play. You have to be full tilt, 100 percent every rep.”
Right now, Jenkins has 11 scholarship offers, including Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Michigan and Tennessee, has taken four official visits, and drawn interest from national powers Alabama and LSU, but he doesn't let all the college chatter deter his focus on the present goal.
“It's sort of hard because if you let it, it can take over. That's all you hear about is the people watching you and stuff,” Jenkins said. “If you really focus on what you can do and what you're supposed to do, and go out there and execute it's not as hard as you make it seem.”
Jenkins added: “I'm trying to focus more on me and what I do helping my team and not all these offers.”
Baldwin is trying to capture its first winning record since 2003, and Jenkins wants to be a key player in doing so.
On his “off days,” Jenkins watches film and does position-appropriate drills like foot and bag work. He also watches his diet, eliminating fast food and soda pop.
“His athleticism is very good. It's a matter of him learning the game and progress on a daily basis,” Wagner said. “There's a lot of things that go with offensive line play, starting with muscle memory.”
For now, though, Jenkins still has two more years to play in the highly competitive Quad Central Conference.
Wagner is pushing Jenkins in hopes to prepare him for a starting role as a freshman in college, wherever it may be.
“If we prepare him the way we prepare him now and he continues to take those steps, he'll be ready for the college game,” Wagner said.
Never the one to look for attention, Jenkins will continue to do what he's been doing, knowing that wherever he lands is just the beginning.
“I don't know what (college) is like,” Jenkins said. “I just know it'll be a lot harder than what it is now.”
Justin Criado is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Don’t miss matchups for Week 1 of WPIAL football season
- Valley will feature dynamic duo in Bradley, King
- Game of firsts approaches for Armstrong football
- DC Picks: Prognosticator is primed for new season
- Daily News Q&A: Steel Valley’s Diego Lopez
- Technology goes to Birdie’s head
- Valley News Dispatch/Leader Times Q&A: Armstrong’s Nate Baillie
- Connellsville football team prepares for difficult stretch to start season
- Burrell-Valley rivalry matchup built on respect
- Versatile Stover thrilled to be strictly quarterback for West Shamokin this season
- Montour seeks early Parkway edge against defending champion Central Valley