GREENVILLE — Greenville’s Bryce Jenkinson wanted to commit to a college football program early so he could get some pressure off and focus on his senior season with the Green Wave.
He did that last month when he verbally committed to play for the University of Cincinnati. The school had everything Jenkinson said he wanted — a great team, great coaches, great academics and a location close to home — which made it an easy decision.
“I was ready,” Jenkinson said. “Once I went to UC, I loved it there.”
Jenkinson will be a linebacker for Cincinnati and could play any of the three linebacker positions.
“(The coaches) said they could possibly even see me starting my freshman year,” the Greenville senior said. “Just have to prove myself in camp and in practice.”
In order to help prove himself and earn playing time early in his college career, Jenkinson plans to graduate early from Greenville so he can be at Cincinnati for winter workouts and spring practice. He’s not sure of the exact schedule but thinks he will graduate from high school in December or January and enroll in Cincinnati for the 2015 spring semester.
“As soon as I was being recruited and picking up the offers, that’s a decision I did make,” Jenkinson said of the decision to graduate high school early.
Jenkinson has 11 scholarship offers from Cincinnati, Air Force, Ball State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Navy, Ohio, Toledo and Yale.
While he anticipates other teams continuing to recruit him and possibly even offering a scholarship, Jenkinson said, he’s fully committed to the Bearcats.
“I’m sticking with Cincy, and that’s the school for me,” he said. “I’m locked in.”
Led by coach Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati went 9-4 last year with an appearance in the Belk Bowl.
“It’s a big-time football school,” Jenkinson said. “It’s everything I wanted.”
Cincinnati has made bowl games each of the past three seasons and has made bowl games in 11 of the past 14 seasons, including a pair of BCS bowl appearances for the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
“Just a great group of guys who want to play and win,” Jenkinson said. “They know how to win for sure.”
Cincinnati plays in the American Athletic Conference with Central Florida, Connecticut, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, South Florida, Southern Methodist, Temple, Tulane and Tulsa. Navy is set to join the league in 2015 for football.
“The American Conference is a big conference,” Jenkinson said.
Louisville and Rutgers played in the American last year but have departed for the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big Ten, respectively.
The Bearcat coaches mentioned that Cincinnati potentially could leave the American for the Big 12, Jenkinson said.
Prior to leaving for Cincinnati, the Greenville senior is looking forward to his final high school season and said the Green Wave will have a chance to win every game they play in 2014.
“We’re going to do great, man,” Jenkinson said. “We’re going to have a fantastic season.”
Jenkinson is looking forward to his future college career and grateful for everything he’s accomplished and the people who have helped him along the way, he said.
“I’m just very blessed,” Jenkinson said. “I thank God for everything he’s allowed me to do. I want to thank my coaches for everything they’ve done and and friends and family for all their support.”