The Tennessee Vols had a season that was perhaps better than expected in 2021. Head coach Josh Heupel led Tennessee to a third placed finish in the SEC East, but the team was underwhelming defensively in a 48-45 loss to Purdue in the Music City Bowl.
By Steve Wright
Perhaps sensing that he needs the defense to catch up to his offense, Heupel has hit the recruiting trail hard and his latest commitment is fast-rising 3-star defensive lineman Jayson Jenkins.
Jenkins is a class of 2022 recruit out of Notre Dame (Trenton, NJ) High School. Standing at a college-ready 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds, Jenkins is seen as the No, 1,215 recruit in the nation by the 247Sports Composite. He is also rated as the no. 147 defensive line prospect and the No. 26 player in the state of New Jersey. The Vols beat out the likes of Pittsburgh, Boston College, and West Virginia for the commitment of Jenkins.
As you can see in the video below, Jenkins has the ability to be used in multiple ways on the Vol’s defensive front. He plays with a high motor – and is a hard-working player in general – and his recruitment really started picking up steam as a senior where he developed his first step explosivity and learned how to better use his hands against offensive linemen.
The first play of the video is a great example of both of these skills. Jenkins is so fast out of his stance that he gets his hands immediately on the offensive player. He is able to use his strength to then toss the lineman out of the way and make a beeline for the quarterback. Other plays show continual use of his very effective swim move, the ability to bulrush over the top of linemen dropping back into their blocking stance, and a motor that allows him to make plays and apply pressure even when Jenkins is initially blocked out of a play.