Crystal Lake, Illinois – Now that the 2018 college football signing day is officially in the past our team at Hawkeye Heaven is going to put together a series of articles where we highlight each of the 22 commitments Iowa received. We’ll share each recruit’s highlights, and do our best to mention what jumps out to us about each player on tape. Next up is offensive lineman Jeff Jenkins!
Jenkins is currently listed at 6’3 260 lbs. 247Sports has Jenkins ranked as a 3 star recruit. He chose the Hawkeyes over offers from Northern Illinois, Purdue, Kansas, and Toledo.
We first talked to Jeff midway through his junior season at Prairie Ridge. At the time his high school team was on a roll. The Wolves were putting up some ridiculous offensive numbers. Jenkins, and his team, would go on to win 28 straight wins and back to back Illinois 6A State Championships. Jenkins joins the highest ranked recruiting class since 2011 at the University of Iowa.
If Iowa's National Ranking holds through tomorrow, the 2018 class will be it's highest ranked class since 2011. It's .8555 rating by 247Sports would be the highest in the last decade, too. Could be a special group. pic.twitter.com/B3q1…
— Dylan Burn (@DBurnScout) February 7, 2018
Jenkins joined us for the second episode of the Hawkeye Heaven podcast this past Friday. During our interview he said that he’s going to start out at Iowa working at the center position. Be sure to check out that interview right HERE.
Historically, the state of Illinois has been a hotbed for Hawkeye football recruiting. Some of Iowa’s best recruits in recent years have come from Illinois. The names Bryan Bulaga, C.J. Fiedorowicz, and Tony Moeaki probably ring a bell. AJ Epenesa, from Edwardsville, IL joined the Hawkeye program last year. Jeff Jenkins and his teammate Samson Evans look to be the next great Hawkeyes from Illinois.
I couldn’t be more excited and blessed to say I’m an Iowa Hawkeye! Thank you one last time PR it’s been a wild ride! I can’t wait to get to Iowa City now! It’s official baby! pic.twitter.com/M9pM…
— Jeff Jenkins (@Jeffjenkins77) December 20, 2017
Jenkins shows a tremendous ability to block in the open field for a big offensive linemnan. He’s constantly making his initial block at the line of scrimmage and then getting up field to make a 2nd level block on LB’s and CB’s. He does a terrific job of keeping his eyes up and he has a really impressive first step.
We were a bit surprised when Jenkins told us on our podcast that he’d be playing center, but after breaking down his video it’s obvious why the staff at Iowa is putting him at that position. Jenkins combination of power and speed is a force to be reckoned with. His quick first step allows him to pull and make lead blocks look easy. You don’t often see that with a kid his size at the high school level. Most of the time you just see them going downhill and driving people backwards. Not with Jenkins. He can certainly do that, but he can also pull and lead block with the ability of a player far beyond his experience level. This is why he’ll be a natural fit at center for the Hawks.
The best comparison we could give you for Jenkins is probably Brian and/or James Ferentz. His strengths as an offensive lineman are similar to the Ferentz boys, and the competitive fire that he plays with is as well. Who better to coach Jenkins at Iowa that Brian Ferentz himself?
Seeing the field early will be tough. Jenkins said himself on our podcast that he’s planning on redshirting his freshman year. This will give him time that he needs to pack on some good weight, add strength and quickness, and adjust to Big Ten football.
Jenkins will have an opportunity to crack the depth chart as soon as he finishes his redshirt season. It wouldn’t surprise us to see him crack the depth chart in his second season with the program. There is a lot of talent on the offensive line at Iowa, but there is a lot of opportunity. Jenkins has the tools necessary to play at this level of football. We’re projecting Jenkins to be a multiyear starter as a center at Iowa before it’s all said and done. He’s an outstanding young man with a bright future in front of him.
Welcome to the Hawkeye family Jeff!
Don’t forget to check out our conversation with Jeff on the Hawkeye Heaven podcast right HERE!