Jalen Kimber could be the most under-the-radar All-American on the Georgia commitment board for this cycle.
The most vicarious DawgNation readers might not know his story chapter and verse, but they should. He has a Purple Heart recipient in his immediate family. Another Kimber once completed a full 26.2-mile marathon when he was six years old.
That is the real-life stuff that balances out all the known elements about how well he can play football. Here’s the speed read:
- He will enroll early in January to resupply the talent in Kirby Smart’s secondary. When he chose Georgia he saw no need to draw out his process, he knew Georgia just felt like home. He committed to UGA and took a victory lap official visit back on G-Day.
- Kimber ranks as the No. 6 cornerback and No. 84 overall recruit (247Sports Composite) among the national ratings for 2020. He was a steady climber up the recruiting rankings this year. When he chose UGA, he was only slotted as the nation’s No. 16 cornerback prospect.
- The Bulldogs only have a handful of commitments that hold the same promise he does. He’s currently the seventh-highest rated recruit in the 2020 class. The program only has commitments from two defensive players which rate higher than Kimber does currently.
- Georgia coach Kirby Smart has told him they’d like to see him report to Athens at around 175 pounds. There’s no pressure there with that. The Bulldogs would rather him retain the type of elite athleticism and speed he displayed below rather than show up with bad weight.
- The 6-foot-1, 170-pound senior is the definition of an elite athlete. Check out his testing numbers below from The Opening finals this summer. His testing rating is in the Nick Chubb and Nolan Smith lane from that event.
First day at the opening in the books. pic.twitter.com/hyYyVEn95X
— JALEN KIMBER (@J_BOOGIE_5) July 2, 2019
Kimber was presented with his All-American Bowl jersey on Tuesday. It was a special moment before the entire Mansfield Timberview High School community. What stood out to him about that?
“Just being able to be a part of something great,” Kimber said. “Not many people get to do this so I am just cherishing everything really.”
Kimber has wanted to be in the All-American Game for quite some time.
“It was from the time I did the FBU [Football University) camp I wanted to do it,” he said. “When I found out about it, that was something that I wanted to play in and really be a part of.”
Jalen Kimber: His senior season so far
Kimber and his Wolves are 6-4 on the season. The first game of their playoffs in Texas is on Thursday.
He played all over the secondary in off-season camps. Kimber was a slot corner in some elite events and at safety in others. He’s bounced around during his senior year, too.
“For the first five games this year I was playing safety because our starting safety got hurt,” he said. “But I’m back at cornerback now so. I’m just following the best receiver since it is the playoffs now. Just following the best man and locking him down.”
His true calling might be at cornerback. He has the size, length and athleticism to log a lot of time there in the Georgia secondary. He will also be on campus in less than 60 days.
Kimber will play in the All-American Bowl on January 4th. Then he flies to Athens to join the UGA program the next day.
“Just getting prepared for it,” he said. “Just starting a new life really. Just ready to take in everything these last few months and get ready for college.”
He cites his father, Art Kimber, as a person that has made a difference in his life up to this point.
“Just being a mentor,” Jalen Kimber said. “Just being there for me every step of the way and always pushing me to be the best and to be at my best. Just to work hard through everything really.”
Jalen Kimber: Locked into being a Bulldog
Kimber is not the type to go hard in the paint to recruit guys to join him. He wants to play with great players, but he is not over-the-top with it. That’s just not his personality.
“I just hope we finish strong,” he said. “Either we jump up in the rankings more or just stay where we are at. Just finish strong really.”
That said, he would still love to play with 5-star CB target Kelee Ringo. Ringo is the nation’s No. 1 cornerback prospect for 2020. If Ringo winds up in Athens, it will be exciting for Kimber to see what they can do to QB ratings in the SEC.
“I’m really motivated by that,” Kimber said. “Because that could be one of the best duos in college football if we are both able to play on that stage.”
He’s gotten to know the Georgia class as a whole through camp showcases, campus visits and from the 2020 commit group text thread. With all those interactions, he said a future Georgia quarterback really stands out.
That would be 4-star Carson Beck. That was the name he brought up of a future teammate who has really impressed him.
“Mostly Carson,” he said. “It starts with the quarterback. He’s the leader and I got to watch him at The Opening and stuff like that. I feel like he is one of those guys and one of those really good guys.”
When recruiters try to ask about any chance of considering any school other than UGA, he has a go-to response.
“I don’t turn them down,” he said. “Because I like to keep relationships positive. I don’t ever want to burn any bridges or anything like that. But I’m really locked down with Georgia and 100 percent committed. I just tell them that and don’t try to burn any bridges.”
Jalen Kimber: It comes full circle with the All-American Bowl
If he comes across as a polished young man, then that is as it should. His father displayed one of the most detailed and efficient methods for organizing the data that comes at recruits 100 miles per hour on recruiting trail. Especially with the many recruiting trips than an elite prospect will endure.
Art Kimber, a former athlete, is now a driven professional. But that’s the way his whole life has gone. He was somehow able to complete a full marathon of 26.2 miles at six years of age.
“Five hours, eight minutes and five seconds exactly,” he said.
The son is a reflection of the father. That works between Jalen and his father. It also relates to Art and his father. Jalen’s grandfather, Art Sr., is a two-time Purple Heart recipient. His military file includes a pair of Vietnam service medals, a Bronze Star, and a Presidential unit citation.
Jalen is motivated to “make it” in football. A lot of his peers do feel the same way, but he has a personal promise to keep.
It goes back to his roots in Chicago and a very special lady. That was his beloved grandmother Renee Kimber. That’s why he works so hard to be great.
“For my grandmother,” he said earlier this year. “She passed three years ago right before I moved down to Texas. I made a promise to her. I am going to keep it. That is the main reason why I play football.”
He grew up in an environment that wasn’t so positive. That was the description he used. Football was a way out. That’s what his grandmother wanted it to be for him. She wasn’t a football fan but simply favored athletics as an outlet to escape those circumstances.
“She passed but I am still going to uphold that promise and do everything I can,” he said. “That’s my family and my grandfather still lives out there.”
He will say a prayer before every game.
“Then I will look up to the sky and talk to her,” he said.
Kimber is a unique member of the All-American Bowl family. He was named the MVP at his first “FBU” camp back in Chicago. He went on to be named an Eastbay All-American from the “FBU” circuit. He played in the All-American Bowl Freshman All-American Game back in 2017.
It goes back to that sixth-grade day. That’s when he first head about the All-American Bowl. It was known as the U.S. Army All-American Game back then.
“He said ‘Dad I am going to play in that game one day’ as soon as he heard about it,” Art Kimber said.
The fact he lives in Texas in the Dallas Metro area has allowed him to attend that game, too.
“He’s been to that game three times to watch it and now he gets to play in it,” his father said.
Count that as another promise that Kimber has kept within his family. He’s getting pretty good at those.
Check out the DawgNation conversation with Kimber from this summer below.