The Oregon Ducks’ football team picked up another huge verbal commitment for their 2014 recruiting class on Monday, (emphasis on the word huge). Jalen Jelks, a 6-foot-7 defensive end out of Desert Vista high school in Phoenix, Arizona, verbally committed to the Ducks based on a spur of the moment feeling.
“I wasn’t planning on committing until after the season, but I woke up today thinking it was the right day,” Jelks told Erin Mckinney of ESPN.com
Jelks is rated as the 23rd best defensive end in the 2014 class and the 14th overall recruit in the state of Arizona by Rivals.com. Jelks also plays offensive tackle for the Desert Vista Thunder.
Currently, Jelks is a prospect that brings a lot of athleticism and upside, but lacks proper technique to excel in the Pac-12. He has been working out with former Dallas Cowboy and Arizona Cardinals offensive guard Derek Kennard on improving his overall speed, agility and technique.
Whenever Jelks arrives on campus, his learning will only persist. Long time defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti has seen many defensive lineman come in with high potential and ultimately become major factors on their way to the NFL. One player that defiantly falls into that category is former Ducks’ pass rusher Dion Jordan, who was selected with the 2nd overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. Jordan originally arrived as a lanky tight end prospect, but ultimately made the seamless transition to defensive do-it-all in Aliotti’s complex defensive scheme.
While immediately comparing him to a player of Jordan’s caliber may be a tad early, its still within the realm of possibility, especially because Jelks is so young. Only sixteen years old, Jelks has plenty of time to grow, bulk up and improve as an overall football player. With the proper coaching that he will receive while at Oregon, that shouldn’t be an issue.