Yesterday’s commitment of top-60 2016 recruit De’Riante Jenkins is big news for the Rams. For starters, VCU is adding another very talented player to a roster full of young talent. Jenkins will play his freshman season on a team that will include at least four former ESPN top-100 players (three more than VCU’s Final 4 team) and at least six who were ESPN 4-star recruits out of high school. And that doesn’t even include arguably the best senior player (or best player for that matter) during Jenkins’ freshman season: Mo Alie-Cox.
That’s the obvious good news. But the other big sign in yesterday’s commitment, as well as with VCU’s underrated 2015 class, is that Will Wade is building on what he helped create while an assistant at VCU: an improved recruiting profile for VCU.
While there were many parties responsible for VCU’s rise the last six seasons (players, former coaches, assistant coaches), the reality is Shaka Smart received the bulk of that credit, giving his name a ton of weight on the recruiting trail and causing some folks to ponder the fate of VCU in a post-Shaka era (just as they did after the departures of Capel and Grant before Smart). With that, many wondered if Will Wade would be able to continue to recruit at the level of one of the nation’s most popular coaches in Smart, who’s final VCU class (all of whom decommitted with the departure of Smart to Texas) consisted of two top-100s including ESPN No.48 recruit, Tevin Mack.
All signs point to yes, and oddly enough, so far VCU’s 2016 one-man class of Jenkins ranks higher than Texas’ one-man class of three-star guard, Jacob Young.
Jenkins signing makes him the third highest ranked player to EVER sign at VCU, checking in behind 1990’s McDonald’s All-American and VCU legend, Kendrick Warren, as well as recent post-Shaka transfer, Terry Larrier (ESPN No.43, class of 2014). That’s as solid of a sign of Wade and staff’s recruiting abilities as any you’ll need.
Jenkins comes to VCU with the most sizzle out of high school but joins a talented 2015 class featuring 4-star Minnesota decommit Jonathan Nwankwo, 3-star St. John’s decommit and big-time scorer out of Philadelphia, Samir Doughty, as well as Huntsville, Alabama native Gerron Scissum who held high-major offers and is getting rave reviews from his summer workouts.
There is a very good chance Wade will add another highly-recruited player to complete what will be a stellar 2016 class, proving Wade and staff are able to recruit at the level established under Shaka Smart following the Rams’ Final 4 run. VCU’s new state-of-the-art practice facility scheduled to open in a matter of days will do nothing to hurt that.