HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – Football players who are good enough for the NFL will be found, just like a little known quarterback out of Fort Lewis College who is getting his chance with the St. Louis Rams.
“All baseball, that’s really what I thought I was going to end up playing. I thought I was a stud baseball player back in the day,” said Tim Jenkins, who played high school football at ThunderRidge in Highlands Ranch.
Back in the day he pictured himself as a big league pitcher. Then his little league football coach threw him a curve ball.
“We get to fall practice and he’s like, ‘Why don’t you try quarterback?’ And so I started playing quarterback and then next thing you know I’m going to be the starter,” Tim said. “I actually played receiver up until seventh grade and then they moved me to quarterback. My coach tells it the best, and he says I started crying because I thought it was a demotion.”
That little league demotion proved to be a game-changer. A new dream was born. Tim Jenkins — quarterback.
“I remember playing in the front yard and there was a big tree out front. I remember throwing the ball over the tree and running and trying to catch it,” Tim said.
“Tim was busy. He came into the world busy and he’s still busy,” Tim’s mother Dale Jenkins said.
“He’s done a little bit of everything and we were always there. I was usually a team dad helping out, and she was the team mom,” Tim’s father Don Jenkins said.
Mom and dad have been along for the ride since day one, but it took a meeting with Tim’s high school football coach for them to realize just how big this adventure could be.
“He said, ‘Mrs. Jenkins, I want you to know Tim is the smartest football player I’ve ever had.’ And I said, ‘Well coach, that’s nice, thank you.’ And he said, ’Mrs. Jenkins, you don’t understand.’ “
They would understand soon enough.
“I remember my first game against Douglas County in high school. And I remember thinking after the game we won, and it was kind of a big one for us,” Tim said. “But I remember thinking, ‘Oh man, I don’t know how those guys do it in college. I just want to be a good high school quarterback, and then I’m ready to go to college and get my degree and start life.’ “
But that plan would quickly get put on hold. Tim proved to be better than just a good quarterback.
“I can remember all those games – Douglas County, Mountain Vista, and then down to Rampart, Arapahoe, Ponderosa; I can remember all of them,” he said. “Once it starts rolling, it starts rolling for you, it gets the momentum going … so it was a great run.”
How about an undefeated regular season? That’s what happened. It was the kind of season that got the Jenkins family dreaming even bigger.
“I made a bet. I told him, ‘If you get a full ride to college I’ll buy you a new car, or give you the cash equivalent,’ because I knew I was going to pay one way or another,” Don said. “Sure enough, when he got the scholarship, it was like, ‘Oh crud, what am I going to do now?’ “
Tim got the car from dad. He got the scholarship from Fort Lewis College in Durango. He was on scholarship, but he was buried on the depth chart.
“I think I was about the eighth-string quarterback when I got down there,” he said, laughing.
That wouldn’t last long. By the end of the second practice he was the number two quarterback. By the end of the first game he was the starter.
“My first game as a true freshman, ended up winning 28-24. Then it was kind of my job from there.”
From there the dream was about to take off – big time. As a four-year starter at Fort Lewis, Tim caught the eye of the NFL. An All-Star game appearance and a regional combine workout earned him an audition with the St. Louis Rams.
“He always just wanted a chance to get in the door and he’ll take it from there,” his mother said.
Tim’s audition with the Rams went very well.
“I got a text (from his agent) that said, ‘Congratulations! You are going to sign a three-year deal on Monday!!!’ ”
So the little kid from Colorado with the big dream grew up to live it.
“I’m so thankful for everything too, coming from ThunderRidge, coming a small college,” Tim said.
Tim is currently one of four quarterbacks on the Rams’ roster, and he could be on the field Aug. 24 when the Rams visit the Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High