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Passion lifts O’Dowd’s Jenkins to quick football success

Harrison Jenkins holds five college football offers. Photo courtesy of Bishop O'Dowd Football
Harrison Jenkins holds five college football offers. Photo courtesy of Bishop O'Dowd Football

Football was always Harrison Jenkins wanted to be a part of.

Jenkins, a senior athlete at Bishop O’Dowd, begged his parents to play football growing up. His father played football his whole life, and he wanted to be in the sport just like his father was before him.

But his family would not let him play contact football until high school. Instead, it was flag football for two years and playing pickup ball on the playground, where Jenkins first began to develop a love for the game.

“It was always kind of something I said I wanted to do, and in my head I had that belief that I would go as far as I wanted to I guess,” Jenkins said.

The sport certainly became a love for Jenkins.

As soon as he arrived at Bishop O’Dowd, he came in with a determined mindset. Not a single person was going to outwork him. 

“The other thing is I just feel like my family and God so many people around me have me in too good of a position with too much support to not work hard and to honor them by continuing to succeed and trying to go as far as I can,” Jenkins said. “I would say those are the two things.”

With that work ethic and commitment, Jenkins earned his way from becoming a quarterback to one of the top athletes in the region on both sides of the ball.

His first two years of high school, Jenkins was a quarterback. He transitioned over to receiver and cornerback, two spots that brought back memories and made him realize that football could be something he took well beyond just the high school realm.

Plus, he also saw what a few players older than him did – like Jevon Holland, who became an All-American at Oregon; Austin Jones, who is now a running back at Stanford after capping his high school career with the second-most rushing yards in Bay Area history (6,905); and Jelani Warren, who is a defensive back at UCLA.

“It kind of felt like the old days when I was playing on the playground and stuff and like getting to be like an athlete,” Jenkins said. “And so I loved that, and a big part of me realizing that maybe I could take it further was having the older guys like Jevon and Austin and Jelani, who just went on to play in college and are likely to play in the league. I feel like that’s a big part of what helped me see myself going to the next level and beyond.”

“Also so much credit to my parents and to God for helping me stay self motivated, and my parents always let me know that I could do whatever I want, I could go as far as I wanted and that there would be a path for me.”

The opportunities to play collegiate football like those before him are presenting themselves, too.

Jenkins, tabbed as a two-star prospect by multiple recruiting services, boasts offers from five schools – Carnegie Mellon, Davidson, San Diego, Southern Oregon and Valparaiso – and is grateful for the extensive offer list he has despite saying he could have produced better film as a junior. 

“I’d say the recruiting process has been such a blessing,” Jenkins said. “If I’m being super honest, I wasn’t really excited about the film that I put out last season or really just the way I felt like last season went. I just knew I could get so much better, and I always felt like it would depend more on what I did this season. And so to be able to start talking with coaches early this year and pick up my first five offers, it was really such a blessing.”

For his last high school season, Jenkins is motivated to win. It’s not a feeling he has experienced much of during his three years thus far at any level, and he is ready to accomplish the ultimate feat with his teammates.

And he wants to be the best leader, player and teammate possible.

“That’s something that I wanted so bad last year and that’s something that I want really bad this year,” Jenkins said. “For me, these first three years that I’ve been playing, I’m not proud of it, but they’ve all been losing seasons. It sucks. So this year that one thing that I’ve said is I want to go undefeated. That’s something that I still stand by. I want to win a state championship this year. I want to win all the games that we play this year.”

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