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Jenkins Has Lots of People to Thank for Being Gundy's $40-million Man

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy placed a high value on his talented and athletic starting offensive tackle this summer. Tevin Jenkins says there are many to thank for that.

STILLWATER -- This is the second story of the week here on Pokes Report where offensive tackle Teven Jenkins is being featured prominently. He deserves it. NFL scouts would tell you he deserved it that is if they could come out on the road and do their jobs. Pro Football Focus, the analytics group that watches almost all football, mentions Jenkins nearly every week. Head coach Mike Gundy had his longest quotes of the season during his Zoom call with the media on Monday and the topic was Teven Jenkins. 

"'You know Teven, can you name the one person in this weight room that's worth $40 million?' He looks at me like I'm trying to give him a haircut or something," Gundy said on Monday recounting a conversation from this summer. Heck, maybe it was last summer. "And he says,' No.' And I said, 'You, if you decide to work really hard. If you decide to just say you know what, I'm gonna do it. You're that guy.' That's the kind of talent that he has. If he just gets his mind focused on that's what I want to do. That's the level the level that he can get to."

Gundy said watching Jenkins in the weight room is a show and Jenkins doesn't even know he is the star of that show.

"He's uncharacteristically strong. I watched him in a weight room this summer, I think he hit 225 like 35 times and they weren't even counting. I mean he was just doing it," Gundy said. "He has tremendous feet. He's got good leverage, he's highly intelligent and his work ethic is getting better this year."

Jenkins, who is 6-6 and 320-pounds by his admission did trim down some heading into this season. He admits he think some now about the NFL.

"Just want to do the best I can to support my family," he told me. 

He also told me that he doesn't think about going home and playing close to home like he will Saturday at KU. He does think about those days when football wasn't as important to him. It is really becoming more important to him. He has had a series of offensive line coaches with Josh Henson and Charlie Dickey that have helped him.

"When I first got here I was just taking it day by day," Jenkins said of his arrival in the summer of 2016. "I wasn't thinking about being where I am right now. I was just taking it day by day. Lucky for me I had some great coaches and a great coach like Coach Glass to push me to get to where I am right now. I'm really fortunate to have talent that I have."

Left tackle is the golden position on the offensive line. With a right-handed quarterback it is the "blind side" protector, but Jenkins said he favors the right tackle position, so maybe he can find an NFL team to draft him that has a franchise left-hander. He's certain about his favorite side.

"Right tackle for sure. It's a comfortability thing for me," the Topeka, Kan. native explained. "I've been playing right tackle since before high school and it's just something that I've always been at. Switching back to left, it's just a whole bunch of...  It's more challenging for me to think about my steps and stuff like that."

Jenkins is a quiet kind of guy, who Gundy says has just started playing with more nasty to his game day demeanor. He seems more than happy that West Virginia transfer Josh Sills has picked up the volume on the offensive line as a vocal leader.

"Oh it's been great. I love Josh. Me and him hang out sometimes even outside of football," Jenkins said. "He's a very big inspirational guy and I'm actually glad we have him here because without him I feel like motivation would be kind of hard. He's the one that's mostly vocal around here. He's the one that gets everybody going. I'm actually very appreciative that he's here."

Just like Sills, Gundy, Spencer Sanders, Shane Illingworth, Chuba Hubbard, LD Brown, and on and on are happy that Tevin Jenkins is here.