Land of 10 has embarked on a series of Next Generation articles, a project that aims to bring our readers greater insight into the Class of 2018 signees. Land of 10 Iowa writers Scott Dochterman and Bobby La Gesse are visiting the Iowa incoming freshman class to show you more than its 40-yard dash times and recruiting rankings. We talked with 3-star offensive lineman Jeff Jenkins, but before we bring you the full profile on the Prairie Ridge High School (Ill.) star, here is a sneak peek at what you can expect.
CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. — Brian Ferentz met with two Prairie Ridge High School (Ill.) players, ready to deliver two different speeches in December 2016.
First, he offered 3-star athlete Samson Evans. Later, he told Jeff Jenkins he was sorry, but he couldn’t offer him that day. The team didn’t know where to play him.
It didn’t take Ferentz long to come back to the Chicago suburbs with a third speech. A month later, Ferentz apologized to Jenkins for not offering sooner, admitting he was wrong not to and extended an offer.
Within two weeks Jenkins committed, in part because of Ferentz’s honesty and the relationship the two built.
“It was a cool story to me,” Jenkins said. “The way he said they made a mistake by not doing that meant a lot to me.”
Jenkins connected with Ferentz in a way he did with very few coaches. Jenkins appreciated Ferentz’s frankness, telling Jenkins he regretted not offering him in December. No other coach acknowledged making a mistake on the recruiting trail.
Jenkins felt a bond talking with Ferentz in a way he didn’t with other coaches.
“There is something about him,” Jenkins said. “I don’t know what it is, but I really connect with him and the way he talks, says things, and is so honest with me.”
Not receiving the offer the same day as his friend stung. His dad, John, sensed the disappointment in his son’s voice. The more Jeff talked about it the more John realized his son really liked Iowa’s then-offensive line coach.
“You could tell when Jeff just talked about the coaches he talked to if he liked them or not,” John said. “You could tell he hit it off with Brian right away.”
At first, Jeff’s mom, Jean, didn’t know what to make to Ferentz’s blunt and direct style. She eventually warmed to him and realized he was the perfect coach for her son.
“He is out there and will say it the way it is, but I like that,” Jean said. “I really respected that and that is going to be a good fit because that is kind of what he needs. He doesn’t need any wishy-washy stuff. He responds to this is this and this is how it’s going to go.”
Jeff didn’t need long to make his decision. Between Iowa’s reputation for developing offensive lineman, the continuity of the coaching staff and the relationship with Ferentz, Jeff committed before January was over.
Ferentz won’t coach Jeff. He became the offensive coordinator in January 2017 and now coaches tight ends. He told Jeff to trust him, that Iowa would find a coach he loved.
Any other coach and Jeff likely doesn’t trust him, but Ferentz built up plenty of equity and it paid off. Jeff quickly grew fond of new offensive line coach Tim Polasek, especially his story about how selling a golf club to help him land a job at North Dakota State.
“He kind of took where Coach Brian left the offensive line and picked it up,” Jeff said. “He is a really hard worker too. He is Iowa I feel like in a sense.”
In the end, it all worked out. Jenkins received his Iowa offer. He helped convince Evans to commit to the Hawkeyes.
It might not happen without Ferentz admitting his mistake.