Since both play nose tackle, Jenkins, a highly anticipated incoming JUCO recruit on a visit from Mississippi, wanted to let Geathers know exactly where things stood.
“I told him I know all about the hype I have,” Jenkins, 6-foot-4, 361-pounds, said. “I know people are already saying I’m supposed to come in here and start from the first day. I don’t care to the point that starting is not what’s on my mind. I’m about working, competing and winning. I don’t care which of us starts. I told him that.”
Currently finishing his last semester at Gulf Coast CC, Jenkins says he’ll most likely enroll in June, instead of in May like originally intended.
“I won’t be making any detours,” he said. “As soon as I get done here in Mississippi, I’ll be in Athens that day.”
And Jenkins says he understands expectations will be enormous from the first day he arrives. He’s fine with all the responsibility—it’s the reason he signed to play at Georgia.
“I’m coming from a winning program, and I’m going to a winning program,” Jenkins said. “Despite the record last season—you know what? That was last season. That’s not now. I’m ready to be a part of what changes last season back into a winning program.”
Geathers, meanwhile, has struggled the past few seasons with injuries and technique, leaving some to project Jenkins as the starter before his first official workout as a Georgia player.
Last season, Geathers appeared in eight games, making seven tackles, creating doubt over whether he’d be able to handle the rigorous task of anchoring the defensive line on a serious basis.
“The kid is just a redshirt sophomore,” reminds defensive line coach Rodney Garner.
This spring, Geathers was finally able to put forth a run of good health, winning the Defensive MVP award in the process. According to teammates, Geathers was no longer “just the biggest guy on the field.” He was finally moving the pile, occupying multiple blockers and disrupting the backfield. Just as people we’re moving on to the next projected best thing, Geathers jumped back to the forefront.
“I’ve got some momentum now, but I’ve never held on to the momentum,” Geathers, 6-foot-6, 326-pounds, said after G-Day, where he had two tackles for loss. “I haven’t been able to keep everything going in the past. I’ve been successful, but now I’m trying to come out every day and keep it going.”
With that in mind, Jenkins wanted to let Geathers know where he stood; wanted to tell Geathers he wasn’t expecting to come in with the job already secured just because fans felt he should start.
Jenkins said the chat went well.
“Kwame and I are both really hungry,” he said. “I’ve been reading up on Kwame. I’ve heard about how he’s developing. He’s got that work ethic; so do I. He’s trying to get better; so am I. We’re going to push each other. He may be a great player or I may be, but the nose tackle position is going to be relentless either way.”
Jenkins still has to come in and live up to the hype, but for now the combination of both players together is creating the positive perception of depth on the defensive line—something the Bulldogs lacked in 2010.
“Of course (Jenkins) says he’s working really, really hard,” Garner said. “That’s what he’s saying. He says he is. He was about 361 (pounds) when he was here the other week. He’s a big man. He says he’s running. He says he’s doing all that. He says all the right things.”
Jenkins may be saying all the right things to the Georgia coaching staff now, but he also says he intends on doing all the right things when he arrives in Athens.
“I can rest assured telling you I know the type of impact that I ‘m supposed to have,” Jenkins said. “I have to work and produce though. Nothing is promised.”
Especially not now—not with Geathers’ spring performance.