Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. Today, one of the state of Alabama’s top offensive linemen, Tank Jenkins, updates his recruitment. Also, a fierce rival offered Auburn’s top quarterback commit.
Top OL in Alabama talks Auburn
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Marcus Jenkins — his birth name — earned his nickname well before anyone knew what he’d become.
Better known in the recruiting world as “Tank,” Jenkins’ mother started calling him that as a child. It derived from a variation of nicknames his father had and it stuck throughout his childhood. By the time Jenkins became a 4-star football prospect, it was a logical nickname for the 6-foot-3, 320-pound prospect.
“I turned into a Tank, so it fits,” Jenkins said. “My dad is like 6-foot-3, about 280, a real big dude.”
Jenkins has lived up to the billing, especially in recent weeks.
As the No. 10 offensive guard in the nation in the 247Sports composite rankings, Jenkins is listed as the top offensive lineman in the state of Alabama. He plays for Park Crossing High in Montgomery. Last weekend, Jenkins put on a show at the Nike Opening regional in Charlotte, N.C. His performance received OL MVP honors at the camp.
Those accolades are forcing top programs to put on the recruiting pressure. He’s receiving most of that attention from Oklahoma, Missouri, Florida, Auburn, Louisville, Mississippi State, Miami, Arkansas and a few others.
Expect to see a complete list in the near future.
“I’ll make a top 10 [soon],” Jenkins said. “[I’ll have a decision] probably at the end of May. I’m going to go visit some more schools and talk to more coaches. For now, I think they’re all recruiting me the same. I just want to get it out of the way since I plan to enroll early.”
Jenkins projects as a guard at the next level.
For Auburn purposes, that adds some intrigue to his recruitment. So far, the Tigers have two offensive linemen committed in the class — Jalil Irvin and Kameron Stutts — who are both expected to be interior linemen, likely guards. Irvin could play center, which means the Tigers could plan to take another guard.
It’s still up in the air whether Auburn hopes to take four or five offensive linemen. With other guards such as Trey Hill out there, the Tigers’ priority figures to focus on tackles going forward.
Still, Jenkins feels like Auburn wants him. The presence of two other guards in the class doesn’t scare him away.
“It doesn’t play a role, for real. It all depends who would go there and get the spot and grind for it,” Jenkins said. “They love me. They want me to come play and be their best guy. It’s a good school. It’s a good in-state school.”
Most, if not all, of Jenkins’ communication runs through offensive line coach Herb Hand.
“He’s a real cool guy. He’s just like my offensive line coach at Park Crossing,” Jenkins said. “He’s real cool and laid-back. I just have a good relationship with Coach Hand. He always says real good stuff to me.”
Joey Gatewood’s offer to watch
The central figure of Auburn’s 2018 recruiting class picked up a big offer Thursday, though there might’ve been some confusion about when he actually received it.
Alabama offensive line coach Brent Key swung by Bartram Trail in Jacksonville, Fla., to let Gatewood’s high school coaches know that the quarterback has a spot in the Crimson Tide’s 2018 class if he wants it.
The interesting element: Alabama said the offer had been extended a year prior.
“I think they offered last year, but there wasn’t much communication so [Key] reaffirmed it to me again today,” Gatewood told SEC Country shortly after picking up the offer.
Gatewood had mentioned Alabama’s offer to me for a while.
Not that it will alter his commitment in any way, but it’s a place he has interest in finding out more about. Gatewood said he’ll “probably” visit Alabama this summer. That comment alone will likely worry many in the Auburn community.
For now, however, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about, simply something to watch.
Worth noting: This all comes on the heels of Auburn electing to take two quarterbacks in the 2018 class.
Miss an edition? Find the previous SEC Country Auburn Tigers recruiting notebooks right here.