Massive Pittsburgh prospect Sterling Jenkins emerged as a heavily targeted offensive tackle during his sophomore year, fielding a long list of scholarship offers along the way. He took a significant step toward a decision Thursday by trimming his choices to two programs, reports Rivals.com analyst Adam Friedman:
The 6'8", 305-pound Baldwin High School junior is focused on Penn State and Ohio State for the final stretch of his recruiting process. The 4-star recruit is rated the nation's No. 5 offensive tackle in 247Sports' composite rankings.
He also carries the distinction as Pennsylvania's No. 1 player in those rankings.
The Nittany Lions hold commitments from three of the top-seven Pennsylvania prospects, including fellow offensive lineman Ryan Bates, and Saquon Barkley and Andre Robinson, a pair of in-state 4-star running backs, are also on board as Penn State pieces together its future rushing attack.
Penn State's first-year head coach James Franklin is currently the hottest recruiter in college football. He's secured 11 commitments since Feb. 15 and the team now sits at No. 2 nationally in 247Sports composite team rankings for the Class of 2015.
Jenkins has apparently paid attention to the program's rapid rise:
One more commit and the boys in blue are the number one class😱🚂💨— Sterling Jenkins⚡™ (@S_Jenkins72) March 30, 2014
So could he be that commit?
Jenkins is a frequent visitor in Happy Valley. He attended a February junior day and followed up with another trip to campus in late March.
Earlier this week, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Chris Adamski provided strong insight on Jenkins' relationship with Penn State after a conversation with Baldwin head coach Pete Wagner:
Baldwin OT Sterling Jenkins is Rivals #1 '15 recruit in the state. His coach, Pete Wagner, told me, “Right now, (Penn State) is his No. 1."— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) April 2, 2014
Ohio State may be the underdog here, but head coach Urban Meyer should never be counted out when it comes to closing with a recruit. He'll get at least one more opportunity to pitch Ohio State to Jenkins, as the coveted tackle is expected in Columbus on April 11.
Where will 4-star OT Sterling Jenkins play college football?
However, the battle remains uphill with Jenkins visiting Penn State the next day. He'll be in attendance for the team's spring game, presenting the possibility of another pivotal pledge for Franklin.
Several squads who spent substantial time in pursuit of Jenkins were left out of his top two. Michigan, Ole Miss, Georgia and Pittsburgh must search for options elsewhere.
James Franklin entered the Big Ten Conference fray just three months ago, but he's already locked in a one-on-one showdown with Meyer, a two-time national champion. The newcomer appears to have an edge here, and it could soon push Penn State to a top-ranked recruiting class.
Recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.