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June 11, 2010 > Former Stanford star continues to educate student-athletes

Former Stanford star continues to educate student-athletes

By Gary van den Heuvel

Former Stanford, NFL and CFL football star Julian Jenkins has remained in the sports world after his playing days have ended - not as a coach or a broadcaster, but as an educational speaker.

Jenkins appeared at Chabot College on Friday, June 3, presenting "College Recruiting Simplified," a seminar produced by National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA).

"I want to make sure the next kid who has a burning desire to play collegiate athletics and get a college education has the tools and support system to be ale to get there," Jenkins said.

The seminar explored the necessary steps that high school athletes would need to take to ensure a chance at a successful collegiate career. Among them are the "5 Things You Need to Know to Get Recruited."

1. The recruitment process does not begin during the athlete's junior or senior year. The recruitment process does not begin when a student-athlete is contacted by a college coach -- it can start as early as seventh or eighth grade;

2. College coaches don't just discover talented athletes. The athlete must initiate communication and convey interest to be noticed. Even if a student-athlete is a superstar, they must be prepared to call coaches, ask the right questions and take initiative;

3. College coaches do a majority of their initial scouting by looking at videos before making in-person visits to games. Student athletes cannot expect college coaches to have the means to travel to watch their games, and professional film is very important for coaches to evaluate;

4. Most opportunities to play college athletics are not Division I programs. Many athletes and parents feel their only option for collegiate athletic scholarships are D1 schools, but there are over 1,800 colleges and universities that sponsor college athletes and are able to offer financial packages, and most are not DI programs; and

5. Student-athletes and their families are ultimately responsible for connecting with college coaches. Student-athletes cannot rely on their high school coaches to connect to college coaches. Most high school coaches do not have the time or resources to make sure their athletes are recruited, so it is up to the athlete and their families to reach out to the college coaches.

Jenkins describes himself as a "ringer" in the recruiting process. He wasn't well known until his senior year, and without a scholarship to a Division 1A school, he and his mother visited 25 schools in five states, ranging from Division I to Division III. He began receiving scholarship offers from smaller Division II and Division IAA schools, and late in his senior year, Jenkins began getting calls from Division I schools.

"As it turns out, late into the year, a good number of highly-touted recruits could not qualify academically for these athletic scholarships," he said. "Almost overnight, boom! I was in the driver's seat. By signing day I received 44 scholarship offers from schools around the country."

Jenkins, who had been recognized as the Gatorade Player of the Year as a high-schooler in Georgia, ultimately selected Stanford, where he was a three-year starter at defensive end; two-year captain; Second Team All-Pac 10 honoree and named the team MVP in 2006.

He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and after two seasons, he played for the Denver Broncos before finishing his professional career in the Canadian Football League as a Grey Cup winner with the Calgary Stampeders.

Jenkins has transferred his passion for football into sharing with student-athletes the importance of education.

"The most important thing that high school student needs to know is that taking the proper amount of core classes, having great grades, and excellent test scores will give you the best opportunity to get scholarship funding whether you are an athlete or not," Jenkins said. "A supreme academic record can stand alone, yet when coupled with outstanding athletic performance and great character, a college bound student athlete can put him or herself in the driver seat of the college recruiting process."

An advantage that today's student-athletes have is the opportunity to build an online profile. This can be done on ncsasports.org, where coaches can view a student-athlete's academic and athletic resume, as well as a highlight tape.




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