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Jenkins concludes visit to West Virginia

Florida State’s Bowden to visit star Thursday

January 22, 2008
By DAVE POE, Sports Editor
PARKERSBURG — With the Feb. 6 national signing day just a little more than two weeks away, college coaches are turning up the heat on uncommitted stars like Parkersburg High School all-American Josh Jenkins.

The five-star recruit who some scouting services list as the top offensive guard in America remains the subject of a red-hot recruiting battle between West Virginia University, Ohio State University and Florida State University.

Jenkins returned to Parkersburg after making his official visit to WVU Friday through Sunday. While in Morgantown, he spent a great deal of time with WVU all-American offensive lineman Ryan Stanchek, who served as Jenkins’ host for the weekend visit.

Jenkins also spent a great deal of time with recently-hired offensive line coach Dave Johnson, who is planning a followup trip to Parkersburg this Friday. Johnson was scheduled to undergo hip replacement surgery on Monday.

“He and Josh spent a great deal of time together,’’ said Parkersburg High School assistant coach Mark McCullough, who has guided Jenkins through the recruiting process. A process that began with virtually every major football program in America seeking Jenkins’ services and now has come down to three.

West Virginia has put — to use a basketball term — a full-court press on Jenkins since he is the first West Virginia high school player in history to participate in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, where he gave a strong performance in helping the East defeat the West on national television.

The 6-foot-5, 305-pound lineman is the first West Virginia player to win the Hunt Award two consecutive years and is just the second player in the 103-year history of Parkersburg High School to earn first team all-state honors for three years.

The visit to Morgantown capped off quite a week for Jenkins. Last Monday, WVU head coach Bill Stewart and recruiting coordinator John ‘Doc’ Holliday visited Parkersburg High School and the Jenkins household. Three days later, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel came to town and spent virtually the entire day with Jenkins, first watching his younger brother play in a junior high basketball game, then sitting with Jenkins at Parkersburg High’s game later that night.

This week, in addition to Johnson’s followup visit on Friday, Jenkins and the Parkersburg High football program will welcome a visit from Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden, who will be here on Thursday. Bowden, a former WVU head coach, is expected to be accompanied by West Virginia native and offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, who nearly became WVU’s coach before deciding to remain at Florida State, where he already has been named as Bowden’s successor.

Jenkins’ brother, Paul Johnson —who is about to receive his degree from Ohio University —has applied to become a graduate assistant at WVU. He is still waiting to be interviewed.

Jenkins is one of three Big Reds who could be on the Mountaineer roster next fall. Senior running back Matt Lindamood - Parkersburg’s all-time career rushing leader —and quarterback Andy Thomas, who guided the Big Reds to back-to-back state titles, have been extended offers to become invited walkons.

Contact Dave Poe at d'>dpoe@newsandsentinel.com'>dpoe@newsandsentinel.com

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Josh Jenkins

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