THE HIGHLIGHT FILM DOESN’T DO KLEIN FOREST ATHLETE PARKER JENKINS ANY JUSTICE.
College recruiting is based mostly on a prospect’s game film. A teeth-rattling tackle by a linebacker or an offensive lineman’s pancake block will turn an assistant college coach’s head really quick, but it’s speed that really jumps off the screen drawing the oohhs and aahhs.
Parker Jenkins has speed that can’t really be evaluated until you see him in person. The 5-foot-10 Golden Eagle, who is carved out of stone, is a blur on the field. He separates from defenders with explosive speed, leaving other elite athletes in his wake.
“When I was young, I really didn’t like to hit people,” he laughed. “That has never really been my strong suit. I like to make people miss and once I get in the groove…I’m gone.”
Colleges from across the country have flocked to Klein Forest to see him and his teammates, who believe in running track in the offseason. The Eagles finished third overall at the Class 6A State Track and Field Meet, and Jenkins helped lead the way.
He won the district meet in the 100-meter dash and advanced to State as a member of the 400-meter relay team. As the heroics on the oval continued, the football offers poured in as his Twitter feed was filled with college graphics.
“It happened very suddenly and was so exciting,” he said of his recruitment. “I just continued to keep my head down last spring and worked like I didn’t have any offers. It’s such a blessing to have this opportunity, and it really shows that your hard work can really pay off.”
Jenkins and his teammates Brad Spence (Arkansas-commit) and Jelani Watkins put Klein Forest at the epicenter of college recruiting in the city of Houston during the “open” period. The trio became the darlings of H-Town and completely changed the optics around the north Houston school. Head coach and alum Johnathan Wilson changed the culture in 18 months and the rest could be history.
As a sophomore, Jenkins and KF went 1-7. In 2021, the Eagles improved to 5-5. Now as a senior, will all of the scholarship offers, publicity and experience translate into a playoff appearance?
“This team can do great things,” he said. “We turned a corner last year and now we expect to make the playoffs. We’ve come a long way…all of us.
“This team is very close. I’ve worked on becoming a leader and my teammates have seen that other side of me. Now, I want to be that big brother who my guys can talk to about anything. I want to be that teammate to motivate and encourage the younger guys.”
One of the “younger guys” is little brother Carter Jenkins – a Class of 2024 safety.
“I want to be his inspiration,” he said. “He plays on defense and we are competitive. I know he wants to get any shot he can on me, and I encourage it. It’s all love and I like how brave he is. I’m really rooting for him and I know he’s going to be better than me.”
That’s a scary thought.