There’s big, then there’s Jalen Jelks big

You can’t teach size and Desert Vista soon-to-be senior offensive and defensive lineman Jalen Jelks has plenty of it.

At 6-7, 254 pounds, Jelks is one of the biggest football players in the state. He has put on more and more size since the 2012 season ended and is paving the way for himself to be one of the more dominating players in the trenches in Arizona high school football.

“Hard work definitely,” said Jelks. “You just have to stay mentally focused. If you don’t have the pride or the will power to go out and get it you’re not going to get it.”

Jelks has been working out very hard this offseason. He has improved his speed and agility by working out with former Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals offensive guard Derek Kennard. Kennard’s son Devon was once one of the top recruits in Arizona while at Desert Vista and now plays linebacker at USC. Plus, Jelks has been working with his Dad who is also a former collegiate athlete that played basketball for Kentucky State.

For Jelks it has been speed training, weights and lots and lots of food.

“You didn’t get this big eating rice all of the time,” Jelks joked. “You have to eat a lot and maintain the carbs and calories.”

Jelks is a going to be a two-way starter at offensive tackle and defensive end for the Thunder. He is being recruited by colleges at both positions as well. Since he is capable of playing at the next level at both spots, what would he ultimately prefer to play in the future?

“I see myself definitely as defensive end,” mentioned Jelks. “I play offense and I mean, I’m willing to play it, but I definitely like defense. I like hitting people and making sacks.”

Speaking of recruiting, Jelks has seen his recruitment pick up tremendously since the end of last season. He currently holds eight college offers which include Boise State, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin. And it only expects to grow from there.

“The last offer I had was Boise State and that was about a month or so ago,” explained Jelks. “Right now I am just trying to see where everything goes during spring ball and after that I’ll see where it goes through season.”

Well he did wait out spring ball and into summer as well. At the end of July, he verbally committed to play for the Oregon Ducks.