Josh Jenkins doesn't know the meaning of the term "give up".
After a free agent tryout with the Seattle Seahawks ended without the Parkersburg High and West Virginia University standout receiving a contract for the upcoming NFL season, the Mountain State's only two-time winner of the Hunt Award returned to his hometown over the past two days to share some of the lessons he learned during his time in Morgantown.
The most important of those being to "never give up on your dreams".
"There really is no disappointment," Jenkins said. "I was with Seattle for a while. It was just bad timing. I could have stayed with the Seahawks if they hadn't drafted four offensive linemen.
"It's all about timing. But, if I never play football again, I've succeeded far beyond my expectations."
Far beyond is correct.
A three-time selection to the West Virginia Sports Writers Association's Class AAA all state football team, Jenkins became the most sought-after athlete in the state after a senior season that saw him lead the Big Reds to a 13-1 mark and back-to-back Class AAA state titles.
His talents were unmistakable as he was named a USA Today first-team All American, a Parade Magazine All American, and became the first West Virginia player to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
The same talents he took to Morgantown as part of Bill Stewart's first recruiting class in 2008.
Talents that witnessed him playing major minutes in the Mountaineers' first five games that season before a knee injury against Rutgers sidelined him for the rest of the year. A knee injury that would come back to haunt Jenkins in years to come, forcing him to miss the entire 2011 campaign after reinjuring the same knee during the Gold/Blue Scrimmage that spring.
"Despite everything, I had a great college career," Jenkins said. "Not exactly the way I wanted it to be, but it's one of those things that, if you give up, in the end you've cheated yourself."
That is perhaps the most important lesson the former Big Red standout shared with the five dozen area athletes who attended the two-day Josh Jenkins, Shawne Alston Football Camp conducted n the front campus at PHS.
Jenkins isn't exactly ready to close the book on his professional football career.
"I'm just looking for the next opportunity. I don't know when or where, but I believe I will get another. If not with an NFL club, then, maybe in Canada."
Jenkins agent has been in contact with Jacksonville, Detroit and Green Bay-where former teammate and close friend Don Barclay starts at right tackle.
"I've still got a lot of interest. After camp ends, I'll head back to Charleston to train until later this month. Right now, I am having a great time teaching some of the things that I've learned over the years to the kids here at camp."
A camp Jenkins hopes to make an annual event.
"I want this camp to be a yearly event. I love coming back home to work with kids and I plan on being back."
Contact Jim Butta at firstname.lastname@example.org