June 12, 2008

Jelani Jenkins visits West Coast

Wheaton (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel linebacker Jelani Jenkins took a mini west coast tour with his father this past weekend visiting UCLA, Stanford and Southern Cal. The nation's top outside linebacker and No. 10 player overall started the trip on Friday or last week and arrived back home on Tuesday morning.

"The trip was nice, me and my dad went out there to check out the three schools," said Jenkins. "We wanted to see the campus, get a feel for the coaches and take a look at the area. I liked all three schools for many of the same reasons but they were different as well."

The trip started with a flight from Maryland to Los Angeles on Friday and a visit to UCLA.

"UCLA was a nice school, the area was good, it had nice facilities and it was around the corner from Bel Air. We got to meet coach Neuheisel and some of the other coaches and we had a good time.

"Saturday we decided to just hang around Hollywood and chill out a bit which was good but I was tired from the flight so we didn't do too much. On Sunday morning we flew to San Jose to see Stanford."

Jenkins, a 4.0 student, was impressed with Stanford as well.

"The area is really nice and I'd say it was the best campus of the three," he said. "The weather is so good out there and they are obviously serious about their academics. I want to study Sports Medicine I think. I got to meet coach Harbaugh and coach Shaw who is my recruiting coach and it was also a really good visit."

On Monday, it was back to LAX airport and Los Angeles to check out Southern Cal.

"We flew back Monday and Southern Cal was really nice as well," he said. "It's also in a good area but it's more city than UCLA or Stanford. But that's not a factor for me at all, I don't really have a preference when it comes to city, suburbs or country. I didn't get to meet Pete Carroll, he was out of town but it was okay he wasn't there. I liked what I saw at USC and the football speaks for itself."

Finally, Jenkins arrived back home early Tuesday morning and was one tired linebacker.

"I was exhausted," he said. "We took four flights in four days and it can catch up to you, but after a nap I was still a little tired but better. The distance isn't a big deal to me at all, I know I'd get used to it and my parents just want me to be happy and pick a place that I feel comfortable at. They don't care if it's far away if it's a fit for me."

So the question begs to be asked -- which school impressed him the most?

"I really liked all three for different reasons but they all want me at the weakside linebacker position, they all showed me the academic side of things and they all have good football," Jenkins said. "I would say I liked Stanford's campus the best and I think they probably have the best combination of football and academics of the three, but that doesn't mean I liked them better than the other two. I really liked all of them."

Jenkins expects to take his official visits, perhaps all five of them, so it's likely that only one of the California schools will get one of the coveted trips. Any early indication of which one?

"I don't have any idea yet and it might be more than one or none of them," he said. "I have so many schools to see and compare that this is just the start so it's too hard for me to say. I have a busy summer planned and my dad and I will be seeing a lot of schools so as I see more, I'll have a better idea of which ones I'd like to see again."

What's next for Jenkins?

"I don't really know," he said. "I know we have a summer travel plan sort of mapped out but that's all my dad, he knows the dates of everything. I'm sure in the next few weeks we'll go to a different area and check out some more schools."

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