Gateway’s Jayson Jenkins to kick for Robert Morris
Wednesday, December 30, 2020 | 2:25 PM
A dream now is a reality for Gateway’s Jayson Jenkins.
The senior place kicker will trade the black and gold of the Gators for Robert Morris red, white and blue. Jenkins enters the new year with a verbal commitment to the FCS Colonials.
“It was a special feeling for me because all the hard work has paid off,” said Jenkins, who made his decision public through a Twitter announcement on Christmas Eve.
“I always grew up wanting to play college football. It is a relief, and I couldn’t have done it without all the people who are around me.”
After conversations with my family and coaches, I’ve decided to COMMIT and continue my academic and football career at Robert Morris University! Thank you!@80sCane57 @AlaimaloNick @coachtyler34 @RMUFootball @HKA_Tanalski @ShelbyTrainer33 @GatewayGatorsFB @jwash2233 pic.twitter.com/ajvT16eXRO
— Jayson Jenkins (@jjenks_1) December 24, 2020
The Gateway four-year all-conference performer plans to study business at RMU. He said it is a perfect fit.
“I put a lot of factors into what I wanted, and everything matched up with Robert Morris,” said Jenkins, who received an offer from RMU on Nov. 12 and also had interest from FCS school Maine during the recruiting process.
Jenkins will be reunited at RMU with former Gateway teammate Ethan Frenchik, a redshirt freshman wide receiver.
“I talked to him a couple times with questions about the campus and Robert Morris itself,” Jenkins said. “He was a big help and was a part of my decision. I appreciate all the help he gave me.”
Former Gators and Hampton University standout Delbert Tyler is a tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at RMU.
Jenkins said kicking workout partner Nick Bisceglia, a Kiski Area graduate and senior at RMU, also played a part in him making his way to the Colonials.
He will sign with RMU on Feb. 3, the start of the national letter of intent regular signing period.
“Jayson worked extremely hard for this,” Gateway assistant coach Mo Washington said. “We would talk throughout the season about colleges. I told him that he had to go with what was a good fit for him, and he did that. I am really excited for him.”
In addition to his improvements under his coaches at Gateway, Jenkins credits work with personal kicking coaches Jon Bouchat and Adam Tanalski.
Jenkins’ father, Joe, enjoyed a three-sport career at East Allegheny and went on to play basketball at Division II Shippensburg and at Point Park. His uncle, Joe Jenkins, was a defensive back and kick returner at Pitt before spending some time with the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 1998 season.
Jayson Jenkins started kicking in eighth grade, and he took over varsity kicking duties as a freshman in 2017 after the graduation of all-conference performer Jordan Washington. Washington is kicking at IUP.
That first season with the Gators was a successful one for not only Jenkins but the entire team, which brought home the program’s first WPIAL title since 1986.
Jenkins made one of the biggest kicks in the history of Gateway football in the 2017 PIAA Class 5A semifinals against Manheim Central. His 23-yard field goal — the first of his career — with 10 seconds left gave the Gators a 31-28 victory and sent them to Hershey.
Jayson’s twin sister, Joelle, a Gateway girls soccer team captain this fall, joined the football team as a kicker in 2018, and the siblings enjoyed the kicking connection the past three years.
“I loved every part of it,” Jayson said of his kicking career at Gateway. “I am thankful for my teammates who helped me. I think the best part of it was winning those two WPIAL titles (2017, 2019). There were so many special moments that I will take with me forever.”
Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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