football

Jelks still exploring

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Jalen Jelks is always in a time crunch these days. The Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista defensive end has entered full-on football mode. He barely has time to stay in touch with coaches, and interviews are becoming rare. He was still catching his breath from a workout when he decided to take some time to discuss his recruitment on Thursday night.
When Jelks does find a way to squeeze in an interview, details are scarce. He's not giving much thought to college at this point. He's focused on the season ahead. Favorites? There are none. And Jelks says he has no idea which campuses he'll visit.
Jelks is putting that stuff on the backburner. There will be no in-season trips for him. Instead, he'll wait until his high school career is over before exploring the next step.
"I was thinking about narrowing my list, but I was waiting to see what happened with Oregon," Jelks said. "Now I have to wait until after the season because it's right upon me. I have to see how we do. If we win and make state, it's going to be a while before I take visits or trim my list."
Jelks now holds the Oregon offer he was hoping to acquire. He also has 12 others. He's shut down all visits for the summer and won't resume until his senior season concludes. Ask Jelks, and he says he's like to visit every school that has offered, so naming five officials is out of the question.
"I get on the phone with everybody I can and I want to go visit every school, to be honest" Jelks said. "I've been to Arizona State and Arizona, but I want to see the rest, too."
As things stand now, Jelks is most comfortable with the two in-state programs. He has no problem admitting that much. He has solid relationships with the coaching staffs at each and is giving serious thought to the possibility of staying in Arizona next fall.
"I'm definitely considering that," he said. "There's nothing wrong with either one of those schools. I just want to see how they play out this season and how they end up. Then I want to look at who else they have coming in and who is all leaving. I pretty much have a mindset of who the coaches are, so now it's about depth charts and the season."
But there are other coaches - coaches from programs outside the state - to whom Jelks has also grown close. Asked which FBS-level assistant he's tightest with, he rattles off a list of names.
"I talk to Coach [Tosh] Lupoi from Washington a lot," Jelks said. "I talk to Coach [Nick] Aliotti from Oregon a lot. As much as I can, I shoot him a call. I've been talking to Nebraska and Colorado a lot lately. I pretty much only have, like, 15 minutes a day to call coaches because of all my workouts and stuff. But I'm still building relationships."
Michigan State, USC and UCLA have recently entered Jelks' recruitment but have yet to extend scholarship offers.
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