December 6, 2017
Twenty years ago, the day after Scott Frost and Nebraska manhandled Payton Manning and Tennessee 42-17 in the Orange Bowl, a 5-year-old boy living in Thousand Oaks, Calif., wanted to write a note to Frost so he could get an autograph from his favorite hero.
Meet James Jenkins (pictured above right), also known as J.J. Twenty years ago, J.J. listened carefully to Stuart Jenkins, his dad, who had ranched with his brother in spacious Custer County near Broken Bow, Neb.
Immersed in Nebraska’s fifth national championship football team, “J.J. absolutely loved Scott Frost,” said Stuart, a former University of Nebraska cross-country runner who wanted to teach his son about an important fact – if you write certain people, no matter how important they are, most write back.”
Now working for Amazon in the San Francisco Bay Area, J.J. did what his dad recommended and the pictures below are worth a thousand words. “Scott Frost wrote right back to me, and you can tell what kind of impact that had on me,” J.J. told me.
When Scott Frost Played in New York, J.J. Jenkins Tuned into Every Jets’ Game
“I don’t remember much about the letter,” said J.J. (pictured above left and right). “But I do recall being amazed that someone I admired more than anyone else taking the time to send a letter to me. It made such an impression on me that, even as Husker Nation moved on in awe of Eric Crouch, I became a Scott Frost fan favorite for life.”
Call it true passion at first sight. “When Scott played for New York, I tuned into Jets’ games just to watch Frost return kickoffs and punts and play special teams,” J.J. pointed out. “Even though he grew up, J.J. kept his Scott Frost poster and accompanying photo hung up in his room. I had mostly lost track of Scott.
“That was until I watched Boise State upset Oregon in 2009,” J.J. said. “After LeGarrette Blount sucker punched a Boise State player, then attempted to get into another fight with a fan, Scott Frost appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, to restrain Blount and de-escalate the situation. To me, that YouTube video says a lot about Scott Frost. It demonstrates, at least in part, why he appears to be not only a good coach, but exactly the kind of leader Husker fans want running our program.”
Because of Frost’s Football Career, J.J.’s Favorite Number Remains No. 7 for Life
After that game, even though J.J. (above left at age 5) had no love for Oregon, “I was always excited to see Scott Frost succeed,” he said. “I had a nagging sense that he’d end up as Nebraska’s head coach at some point.”
“Twenty years after receiving that letter, I still look at the Scott Frost poster that’s now followed me through at least seven moves,” J.J. said. “I can’t help but be a bit emotional and grateful. To this day, I still marvel about a national champion quarterback taking the time to make a 5-year-old boy’s day.”
Unfortunately, “we don’t have the letter I sent and I don’t recall anything specific that I wrote,” J.J. said. “I asked a few questions about what it was like to play college football for Nebraska. I also mentioned that because of Scott, 7 was my favorite number and I’m happy to say that it still is.”
The last time J.J. saw Nebraska play in person was September 13, 2014, against Fresno State in California. “The Huskers won 55-19,” he remembers.
Yes, this Cal Poly San Luis Obispo graduate in Finance does not need his Apple computer to stay active and reinforce being a die-hard Husker fan.
National Coach of the Year Award Takes J.J. Back 20 Years When He Wrote His Letter
“I’m so excited that Scott will be honored as the 2017 National Coach of the Year Thursday night on national television,” J.J. said. “The whole experience takes me back 20 years. When I wrote that letter and got a response, it was a lifetime memory. Whenever my friends came over to my house, they wanted to talk about Scott Frost. We would look at the picture in the room and talk about him winning a national championship. Now, he could end up coaching the only unbeaten college team this season. He is so cool and has been my idol for two decades.
“A lot of my friends feel the same way,” J.J. said. “Scott hasn’t been in the national spotlight for a while, but he’s definitely there now. These last two seasons have been fun to watch – changing a 0-12 team he inherited to 6-6 and a bowl game and now the chance to play Auburn in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta – one of the greatest football facilities in America. I expect a lot of Husker fans rooting for Central Florida in January before Scott comes home to put Nebraska back on track.
“What Scott has done leading that team is amazing, and it’s not just Nebraska fans saying that,” J.J. said. “I have all kinds of friends in California. They come up and want to know more about Nebraska and Scott Frost. A lot of them are excited to see a program like Central Florida go unbeaten. I almost have to contain myself to tell them how excited I am about a bowl game that Nebraska isn’t even playing in this year. We’re Husker Nation proud, and Scott is doing the right thing for a team and the players he loves.”
What a winner. What a role model. What a man.
“My girlfriend makes fun of me,” J.J. confessed. “We’ve been dating for four years, and she still cracks up about how important every Saturday is for me. I make sure I game plan because every weekend I follow everything about Nebraska football religiously, and I’m pretty sure there are a lot of others out there who do the exact same thing.”
Small wonder why J.J.embraces the word DESIRE as the quentessential description for Scott Frost, his favorite player of all time. Why? Because most people wait for desire to happen. Some wish it would happen. And others, like Scott Frost, make it happen.
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