football

Vandy lands OL Jelks

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When Vanderbilt coach James Franklin arrived by helicopter at one of Andrew Jelks' games last month, it definitely made a strong impression on the three-star Henry County (Tenn.) offensive tackle.
"That was pretty sweet when he did that," Jelks told Rivals.com.
On Saturday, Jelks returned the love by committing to Vanderbilt.
The 6-feet-6, 260-pounder chose the Commodores over Alabama, Mississippi State and Tennessee. He also considered Stanford, even taking an official visit there earlier this fall.
In the end, though, it was a Vanderbilt-Vols battle.
"Mainly, I think Coach [James] Franklin is building something big time there," Jelks said. "I mean, he's been close these last few games. And we have a really good recruiting class coming in. I wanted to be a part of Vanderbilt's turnaround. Coach Franklin is a very energetic guy, a very positive guy. He's like that all the time. When he came to our game, he was so positive around my teammates and coaches. He's got it going on."
For Jelks, the decision to pick Vanderbilt wasn't easy. He grew up a Tennessee fan and for years had dreamed of running through the famed Volunteers "T." His father, Bill, is a Tennessee graduate and even a Vols' season-ticket holder.
"It was pretty hard," Jelks said. "But I weighed all the options, looked at both very closely and had very good conversations with both head coaches. I sat down with my parents and it became clear that Vanderbilt was the place for me."
Jelks, who carries a 4.0 GPA, said academics helped play a role in his decision, but said "it wasn't the only reason." A bigger factor was playing time, something Jelks believes he can get early in Nashville.
"That's a main reason," he said. "I'm going to be able to go in and compete for a spot. That really attracted me."
Keith Niebuhr can be reached at kneebs01@aol.com. You can follow him on Twitter @KeithRIVALS.
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