A door was cracked open for Elgton Jenkins last week that could provide an opportunity that makes an impact for many years to come.
After an unfortunate injury to starting left tackle Rufus Warren on the road at Texas A&M, Jenkins finished out the ball game and had the chance to get even more reps against Troy last week.
The redshirt freshman found out the Monday before Troy his first career start was on the way.
"There was no better feeling than going out there. Everything you worked for was finally happening," Jenkins said. "Every time I was on the sideline, Rufus was telling me 'good job' and things that I could do better."
With the support of his fellow offensive tackle and his coaches, Jenkins played the duration of the ball game at tackle to solid results. His head coach thought there were some things he could clean up.
"I thought he did OK. There are some things he could be better at, (but) overall he did well," Dan Mullen said. "He did decent in his execution. I think that game is going to help him out moving forward in his confidence in that he can see how he played. He can see the ways he could have played better.
"A lot of times in a guy's first start, they don't want to make a mistake. Instead of making a play they are worried about making a mistake. Now, he can see how he can build his confidence on that and go play better in the weeks to come."
As far as those mistakes are concerned, Jenkins knows he can clean it up in practice. He has several veterans around him who have helped him along the way.
"The whole offensive line helps me with things that I don't know because of experience," Jenkins said. "In games, most of the things we're prepared for. The only thing that I can do is practice well and let coach determine the role I'm going to play."
Jenkins came to MSU as a late addition to the 2014 signing class and nearly saw himself playing as a true freshman behind fifth-year senior Blaine Clausell. From that moment to now, his development has gone as well as he could have expected it.
"I think it's pretty good," Jenkins said. "Last year I was taking snaps with the two's and mostly I'm going with the one's now. When I first got here I was about 280-285 (pounds) in camp. People were out powering me. Now that I'm bigger and stronger, it's evened out."
The bigger, stronger Jenkins could very well be the future of the left tackle position, but he's not content with that. Jenkins is hoping to become the present at the position and help his team to new heights.
"I'm very excited," Jenkins said. "I'm trying to go out here and reach our goals and win a championship."