January 20, 2013
Standout WR Jenkins gets answers
The script was written for Ryan Jenkins two weeks ago, when the son of former Vol Lee Jenkins soaked in an unofficial visit to the University of Tennessee and some 48 hours later committed to first-year coach Butch Jones.
This weekend, the star wideout from Marietta, Ga., said his official visit to Rocky Top placed the exclamation point on his decision to flip from ACC power Clemson to the rebuilding and rebranding Volunteers.
"Everything went great. It just makes my decision that much easier, makes me that much more comfortable with it. Just put an exclamation point on it," said the 5-foot-10.5, 181-pound Jenkins. "We did everything. We toured the facilities, the academic building. We went into the stadium. We ate like eight times a day. We did everything, everything. Locker room. It was great."
Jenkins also stayed in close proximity to another official visitor, five-star defensive lineman Carl Lawson. The two are former high school teammates and have maintained a close relationship.
"It went good. Me and Carl, you know, we go way back. I went two years of high school with him. I was with Carl pretty much the whole time, just in his ear and letting him know he needs to come to UT," Jenkins said. "He liked it, and Carl, again, he knows what he wants in a school. I feel like he liked Tennessee, so we'll see what happens."
For Jenkins, he listened to the coaches' vision for him in Jones and offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian's explosive uptempo offense. He also donned a Tennessee jersey and enjoyed that portion of the visit inside the Vols' Neyland Stadium locker room.
"I'd say probably trying on the jerseys, because they had a photo shoot out there with lights set up and everything. It was pretty cool," Jenkins said. "They want me in the slot position and they compare me a lot to Antonio Brown, who they had at central michigan. So I want to just come in and make plays and help get it turned around."
Jenkins said it was such a good visit that he would not take any additional visits and got all the confidence he needed from the trip.
"Truthfully, really nothing. I just wanted to feel more comfortable with my decision. For my own personal comfort, make sure this was the place I wanted to be. And it is," said Jenkins, who called host Drae Bowles a "great dude."
Though Jenkins wasn't at the Vols' basketball game in which they defeated Mississippi State Saturday afternoon, he did hear of Jones' chest-bump with UT mascot "Smokey."
"I mean I love it. That's energy and that's really what a program needs, especially if it's trying to get turned around. Just energy and excitement," Jenkins explained.
A top-50 player at his position and the No. 34 player in the state of Georgia according to Rivals.com, Jenkins said he takes seriously the opportunity to help restore Tennessee to prominence.
"I take a lot of pride. I just want to get this program turned around," he said. "Whatever I've got to do, I'm going to do it."
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