ROYAL CITY — Royal High School senior football quarterback Kaden Jenks’ strong ties to his spiritual beliefs and family were an important factor in making one the biggest decisions of his young life.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder is going to pack up that gunslinger’s arm and go play for Weber State University head football coach Jay Hill in Ogden, Utah, signing a National Letter of Intent.
For Jenks, it’s a big move going to a school that is larger than the central Washington farming community in which he played his high school football. But it’s a perfect fit, he said.
“One of the reasons I picked Weber State is because of the strong LDS community, which is very important to me,” said Jenks, who also visited Northern Colorado University and Dixie State University.
“I had a chance to talk with head coach (Jay Hill) and quarterbacks coach (Fesi Sitake). The big thing they were showing is that in two or three years there they are going to have the funds to put up a brand new facility. Another thing I like is just how close the, athletic offices are to the rest of the campus. It was all nice and close, and that was a big appeal to me.”
Jenks started all four years for Royal, finishing his career with a record of 45-6. He was named The Associated Press 1A player of the year his senior season.
Jenks led the Knights to back-to-back 1A state championships and posted a combined 27-0 record as a junior and senior. His senior season was one for the record books and one that caught the eye of a football program that finished third in the Big Sky last year, including a FCS playoff berth. Jenks passed for 2,506 yards and 36 touchdowns and rushed for 546 yards and 15 touchdowns.
It was that leadership, as well as physical size and a canon for a right arm that attracted the Weber State staff.
“They said they liked my size and liked that I was a winner, so the two state championships helped,” said Jenks, who intends to major in business management. “I think they had a chance to see who I am as a person and that I’m not going to be a guy messing around on campus.”
Weber State finished 7-5 last season. Wildcats starting quarterback Jadrian Clark finished his career as one of the top quarterbacks in school history.
Jenks goes in with a chance to compete for the starting position. But he also begins a new leg of his life as a student-athlete.
“For me, I’ll be practicing hard on my mechanics and working with the staff. But I feel the mental part of the game, learning all the new plays and reading defenses, is important too,” Jenks said. “I will also have to learn time management to be better prepared to play while I’m in college.”