Ryan Jenkins jump-starts Clemson's WR recruiting for 2013

The Clemson Sports Blog

Ryan Jenkins (Photo courtesy of Roy Philpott, CUTigers.com)

Ryan Jenkins (Photo courtesy of Roy Philpott, CUTigers.com)

For Clemson, this is a big recruiting year for wide receivers.

Big in terms of quality, quantity, and in continuing a seamless flow of dynamic, playmaking wide-outs that Chad Morris needs to make his offense hum.

The Tigers loaded up in 2011 with the nation's top-rated class, headlined by Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant and Charone Peake, and also including first-year freshman contributor Adam Humphries and Stanton Seckinger, who is now transitioning to the tight end position.

Last recruiting cycle the Tiger coaching staff limited themselves to just one wide-out - Germone Hopper - while passing on several outstanding prospects they could have had only by offering.

After the 2012 season, the Tigers will lose just one mainstay - Jaron Brown. After the 2013 season, there's every reason to expect Sammy Watkins to be an early entry into the NFL draft.

Watkins, Bryant, Peake and Humphries will be juniors in 2013; Hopper will be a sophomore, or redshirt freshman, depending on whether he redshirts next fall; and whoever the Tigers sign this cycle will be first-year freshmen.

On Sunday, Clemson took its first step toward assembling its 2013 wide receiver recruiting class when Ryan Jenkins, a 5-10, 180-pounder and the brother of current Clemson cornerback Martin Jenkins, committed to the Tigers after narrowing his choices to Clemson and Oklahoma State.

Clemson's relationship with the Jenkins brothers is a result of former defensive coordinator Kevin Steele's relationship with their father, Lee, who he knew from his time at Tennessee.

Martin was a 5-9, 165-pound 'tweener' with few college offers when Clemson took a chance three years ago. Now, though still undersized, he may well begin the 2012 season as a starting corner for new defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

When Clemson offered Ryan Jenkins months ago, it was taking the same sort of chance.

Until April, Ryan - from Clemson's perspective - was Martin's little brother. That changed when Ryan attended Nike's training session at Buford, Ga., won MVP honors among a stellar group of wide receivers and suddenly became one of the Southeast's most coveted receiver prospects.

He followed up the Nike camp with a string of impressive camp-setting performances, and over the course of the spring zeroed in on Clemson and Oklahoma State as his schools of choice.

Jenkins, as a prospect, doesn't fit the mold of four-star wide receiver (which he's rated by both ESPN and 247Sports). He's small and has merely better-than-average speed. But what Jenkins showed during his spring camp workouts was impressive quickness, precise route-running ability, and a sure-handed ability to catch the football.

Jenkins spent a lot of time on Clemson's campus this spring and early summer. He liked what he saw; and the Tigers' coaches felt the same.

His commitment Sunday evening on national TV at Nike's 'The Opening' in Beaverton, Oregon came as no surprise. And as a result, Clemson is off and running on assembling an impressive 2013 wide receiver recruiting class.

With one in the fold, look for the next two slots to fill up quickly.

Following are the takes of several recruiting analysts on what Jenkins brings to Clemson's table:

Scout's Chad Simmons: "Jenkins is all about speed and quickness, he has both. He is quick off the line, he is very elusive in space, and he has the speed to catch the short pass and take it the distance. Is he limited because of his size? That is a concern some may have, but he is strong, he plays physical, and he can be used in multiple ways. He is a solid route-runner and he has very strong hands too."

ESPN's Tom Luginbill: What (Jenkins) lacks in overall top end speed, he more than makes up for in quickness and sudden change of direction especially as a route-runner. Clemson is getting a guy that is an ideal slot for the their offense. He can be employed in the run game, screen game and on underneath concepts that get him the ball in space. He is a different type of wide receiver than what they currently have in dimension and skill set."

Rivals' Mike Farrell (reporting from The Opening): 'Jenkins is a very quick receiver who also changes direction well and can work the middle of the field with efficiency. While he doesn't do anything great, he does a lot of the little things that go unnoticed. He had a big day with some key catches and a touchdown grab, but his biggest moment came when he made a verbal commitment to Clemson on national television."

Atlanta Journal-Constitution (quoting Lassiter High coach Jeb Irwin): “Having talked with his parents, they like what is going on at Clemson. His brother is at Clemson, and Ryan was exposed early to that environment. His family has a lot of respect for Coach (Dabo Swinney) I think they feel very comfortable there with the family atmosphere...Ryan handled the recruiting process very well, as did Clemson... I think Clemson is getting someone who develops into a very good wide receiver, probably at the slot. The sky is the limit for him.”

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