Over the past year, multiple programs, including schools like Clemson, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State and Washington, lined up to offer ESPN 300 wide receiver Ryan Jenkins (Marietta, Ga./Lassiter). Jenkins eventually committed to Clemson despite his father, Lee Jenkins, being a standout cornerback at Tennessee. The Volunteers did not extend a scholarship to the 5-foot-11, 180-pound athlete.
Five months after he committed to Clemson and three days after Butch Jones was hired as the new head coach of the Volunteers, things changed for Jenkins.
“I got off the phone with Butch Jones about an hour ago and he offered me,” Jenkins said.
Jones wasted no time in pitching the program to his newest four-star target.
“He said I was really high on their board and they like my skillset as a receiver,” Jenkins said. “Then he was selling me on the school and saying that they are a program on the rise and that he was going to try and get it turned around. He was telling me about their offense and how they plan to throw the ball. He told me they are going to run a pro-style offense that utilizes the no-huddle plans, and that he plans to use me in the slot like he did with Antonio Brown when he was at Central Michigan. It was a good conversation.”
Butch Jones left Cincinnati after going 23-14 in his three years as head coach. In 2011 under Jones, Cincinnati won the Big East (2011), beat Vanderbilt in the Liberty Bowl, and Jones was named Big East Coach of the year. Prior to that, Jones was the head coach at Central Michigan for three years, with a 27–13 overall record and 20–3 MAC record.
The impression Jones made on Jenkins was a good one.
“He seems like a really passionate and cool dude that gets after his players,” Jenkins said. “I kind of like that in a coach.”
While the chance to continue a Tennessee legacy intrigues Jenkins, he’s hasn’t set up a visit to Knoxville and isn’t ready to completely overhaul his recruiting.
“Moving forward I am still committed to Clemson and they are my No. 1,” Jenkins said. “I am just considering Tennessee.”
Jenkins plans to take an official to Clemson Jan. 11. On Wednesday, Clemson running backs coach Tony Elliott will visit Jenkins, who says the two will be going out to have dinner.