MDJ Sports Writer
Chalk up another power-conference commitment for a Lassiter offense that has sent a steady stream of skill players to top programs in recent years.
Senior wide receiver Ryan Jenkins, who transferred from Milton in the spring, committed to Clemson on Sunday, choosing the Tigers over Oklahoma State and a handful of other Division-I suitors.
“He’s going to be an outstanding multi-purpose receiver,” said Lassiter head Coach Jep Irwin. “He really fits with what (Clemson offensive coordinator) Chad Morris and (head coach) Dabo Swinney want to do, which is spread the field and get your best guys in space.”
Jenkins, who caught 24 passes for 415 yards and six touchdowns for the Eagles last year, will team with quarterback and UCLA commit Eddie Printz, the county’s leading passer in 2011, and wide receiver Juwan Dickey, who already has five Division I offers, to create argueably the best passing offense in Cobb County.
“The atmosphere up there, they try to make it feel like home, and that’s what it feels like,” Jenkins said of Clemson in an interview with Keith Niebuhr of 247 Sports following his announcement.
No need to look far to find the source of that familiarity. Jenkins’ older brother Martin plays cornerback for the Tigers and will push for increased playing time after starting three games in 2011. While the family connections in play certainly helped Clemson stand out, the Tigers’ coaching staff also reached out to Jenkins early on in his recruitment, before other schools had caught onto his potential.
“That’s really important to kids, that they feel wanted from the beginning, as opposed to a school coming in late after missing out on another guy,” Irwin said. “It’s a combination of things for Ryan and Clemson, but that played a role, in addition to his brother being there.”
The announcement comes in the middle of a busy month for Jenkins. He recently attented The Opening, an elite competitive camp for the top 150 Class of 2013 prospects at Nike World Headquarters in Oregon. At the end of next week, he will take the field for the Trojans as Lassiter hosts the Georgia Invitational 7-on-7 Tournament from July 20-21. The 24-team field features state contenders such as Walton, Hillgrove and MLK as well as five out-of state teams, headlined by national power Hoover (Ala.). He told 247 Sports that Sunday’s announcement concludes his recruitment process.
“You can’t have enough weapons, and we’re going to try to find as many ways to get Ryan the ball as possible, because that’s kind of our offense,” Irwin said. “The more that we can get him the ball in different ways down the field—kick returns, punt returns, a speed sweep or two—the better.”
Lassiter’s practices match the high tempo of its spread offense, which all but rules out the possibility of Jenkins contributing in the Trojan secondary, as he did while playing both ways at his former school.
“If he was a cornerback, he’d have just as many offers as he does right now,” Irwin said. “He’s that talented.”