Elgton Jenkins, a 2014 Clarksdale High School graduate and Pro Bowl left guard for the Green Bay Packers in just his second season, is one game away from the Super Bowl.
Jenkins and the Packers defeated the Los Angeles Rams 32-18 in the NFC Divisional Playoffs at Green Bay Saturday to advance to the NFC Championship Game for the second consecutive season. The Packers will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 2:05 p.m. Sunday on Fox.
The Buccaneers went on the road in the NFC Divisional Playoffs to defeat the New Orleans Saints 30-20. Juantavius “JT” Gray, also 2014 Clarksdale High School graduate, safety and special teams standout, is in his third season with the Saints.
Jenkins went up against Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, a seven-time Pro Bowler, in Green Bay’s win Saturday. Donald had just one tackle in the game.
“I think Elgton is one of the top players in the NFL, one of the top offensive linemen,” said Clarksdale High School football coach Henry Johnson. “He’s a Pro Bowler. He could match any defensive lineman in the NFL. It’s no surprise.”
Elias Wells, a 2011 Clarksdale High School graduate, former running back for Coahoma Community College and Jackson State University, praised Jenkins’ ability to go against Donald on social media. Jenkins was a freshman with the Wildcats during Wells’ senior year.
“I feel Elgton’s performance greatly surpassed what people expected considering who lined up against him,” Wells said. “Yes, we know him and his ability bout to outsiders, he was just another guard going against the best and probably the strongest interior lineman in the NFL today. Elgton was a key component to why the Packers rushed for over 180 yards and vital to Aaron Rodgers protection. Watching him neutralize Aaron Donald was the highlight of the game for me.”
Jenkins’ family was not surprised by his performance.
“I think he did great,” said Jenkins’ mother, Delandra Jenkins. “I always knew he had good potential.”
Jenkins’ cousin Sammie Ray, a senior running back for the Clarksdale Wildcats, concurred.
“He dominated against the Rams!” Ray said.
Wells will be watching the NFC Championship at home with his wife, Brittany, Johnson will be watching at home, Ray will be watching at his aunt’s house and Delandra Jenkins will be at Lambeau Field in Green Bay for the game, as she was for the NFC Divisional Playoffs.
Delandra Jenkins said everyone at Lambeau Field has been “outstanding.”
“The people there are very positive, very supportive,” she said.
While many in the NFL circle are learning about Jenkins, his hometown friends and family members are not surprised he has come so far in a short time.
“I always knew that Elgton had potential to be great. He just had everything any athlete needs to make it in the NFL and excel in the NFL, eyes, intelligence ingenuity, work ethic and discipline,” Johnson said. “He just had all those intangibles that a player needs to be great in the NFL.”