More than a year has passed since Damascus cornerback/wide receiver Jalen Christian garnered his first Football Bowl Subdivision scholarship offer from South Carolina. Now a sophomore, he holds nine offers with plenty of time to add more given that he’s still two years away from making any decision official.
For a player whose first five offers came from South Carolina, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Ohio State and West Virginia before beginning his second year of high school, it was significant when local schools Virginia and Virginia Tech came through with offers in the fall. But he’s in no hurry to cut down his options at this point, calling the early attention “God’s gift to me.”
“I’m taking it day-by-day,” said Christian, an honorable mention All-Met selection on offense in the fall. “I’m enjoying this recruiting process because you only go through it once. I’m going to take it slow.”
The 5-foot-9, 160-pound Christian caught a team-high six touchdown passes last season, helping the Swarmin’ Hornets to a perfect regular season. In his second varsity campaign, he also recorded 20 tackles with an interception return for a touchdown against rival Seneca Valley and returned a punt for a score.
Christian picked up the Ohio State and West Virginia offers on unofficial visits in August, and he said the only unofficial visit he and his family are currently exploring is a spring break trip to South Carolina. The sophomore’s most recent offer came from North Carolina in early December.
With Damascus graduating 29 seniors from last season’s roster, Christian will be asked to take on more of a leadership role next season, though starting quarterback Chase Williams, a junior, will return. In the spring, Christian plans to again run track, competing in the 100 meters, 200 meters and several relays.
Last week, Christian watched as All-Met Zach Bradshaw (Virginia), George Vinson (Appalachian State) and Trevor Patton (D-II Saint Anselm) signed to play at the next level. He said it was helpful for him to see them handle recruitment as he gets ready for his own to heat up.
“They’re like your role models,” Christian said. “Whenever I have a question about the recruiting process, I know I can always ask those guys.”
Earlier on Recruiting Insider: Freshman Jalen Christian lands scholarship offer