The University of Georgia and Mark Richt had reason to celebrate on February 5th, 2011.
Johnathon "Big John" Jenkins had made his decision to continue his college football career at UGA. Capping what I believe will be the most important recruiting class in Georgia's history (topping not only the Knowshon Moreno-Matthew Stafford class of 2006, but also the 1980 class with Herschel Walker) with a GIANT cherry.
"Big John" Jenkins was born in Meridian, CT and Maryanne Baker is his very smart, loving mother. The reason I mention this is because she very much played a role in his decision to switch commitments from Oklahoma State University to the University of Georgia.
Realizing that her son had the opportunity to play in the strongest conference in college football played a part in her decision to encourage the switch. However, the main reason that she dud so was because she had faith that her son would be in good hands with Mark Richt and Todd Grantham.
Todd Grantham recruited Jenkins as hard as any player can legally be recruited.
UGA sent the house to convince Jenkins and his mother that they were the perfect fit for him. Not only did they send Todd Grantham to Connecticut to meet his mother, but they also sent Mark Richt.
Seeing how much the coaches actually needed Jenkins was the final deciding factor for his mother to give her OK. She knew her son would be taken care of and developed into the man that she knew he could be.
Starring at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Perkinston, MS, "Big John" is likened to another previous MGCCC football player named Terrance Cody.
Terrence Cody, or "Mt. Cody" as you may remember him, was the starting nose tackle for the 2009 National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide.
The glaring difference between the two is that while they both weigh around 360 pounds, Jenkins' body fat percentage is significantly lower, making him stronger and faster than "Mt. Cody."
Jenkins' gifts are many: At 360 pounds he can run a 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds, he is closing in on being able to bench press 500 pounds, he is a very gifted nose tackle—and he was a fullback in both high school and community college, so he can even block if the coaches need him to.
Which leads me to my next point.
Jenkins will be a star on offense, as well as on the defense.
Although he may not spend much time on the offensive side of the ball, when he is used it will be of significant impact. As a lead blocker, Jenkins possesses the speed to stay in front of the runner—and the weight and strength to pick up multiple blocks at one time.
When Jenkins is in, the defense will have to play honest, which will lead to more first downs and scoring opportunities. Don't expect Jenkins to play offense unless he is needed. He will be too valuable of an asset to waste his energy if it is not necessary.
Todd Grantham specifically recruited "Big John" to play nose tackle in his 3-4 defense. Coach Grantham knew right away that Jenkins was the perfect fit. With the ability to draw the double team, Jenkins will allow Georgia's linebackers to penetrate the opposing offensive line.
Most of the reason Georgia was unable to do this last year was because DeAngelo Tyson was completely undersized for the position, especially in the SEC. No disrespect to DeAngelo Tyson, because he did a better job than anyone could have realistically expected—including playing most, if not all, defensive snaps in UGA's win over state rival Georgia Tech.
Look for Jenkins to lead what was a porous Georgia defense into one of the top defenses in the entire nation.
I will be highlighting at least one athlete per week until the season starts. Keep an eye out for the next, featuring Aaron Murray.