LB Jenkins declares for draft; DE Easley staying

By Adam Silverstein
January 7, 2013

A fourth member of the Florida Gators football program has decided to leave early as the school announced Monday that redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins will forgo his final season of eligibility and declare for the 2013 NFL Draft.

“Jelani informed me that he wishes to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL,” said head coach Will Muschamp in a school release. “We wish him the best of luck and encourage him to return to Florida and complete his degree.”

Jenkins joins junior safety Matt Elam, junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed as Gators that are leaving the program with a year of eligibility in their pocket.

He took a redshirt his first year on campus but has been a permanent starter for Florida in each of the last three seasons. Multiple injuries took a toll on Jenkins in 2012 and it was widely believed that he would return to the program for his fifth year in an effort to raise his draft stock.

It is unlikely that he gets chosen on the first two days of the draft in April.

Instead, Jenkins departs after a season in which he played nine-of-13 games and registered just 29 total tackles (five for lost yardage). He also picked up two sacks on two quarterback hurries and one interception but most notably returned a blocked punt 36 yards for a game-winning touchdown against Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 10.

Jenkins totaled 182 tackles (16.5 for loss) with six sacks, three interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery from 2009-12.

Junior defensive end Dominique Easley has yet to officially announce his intentions though The Gainesville Sun‘s Pat Dooley reports that he has informed coaches that he will remain with the program for his senior season.

UPDATE: Easley officially announced his intentions via Twitter on Monday evening. “I’m comin back for my senior season we gotta get where we need to get,” he wrote.


  1. SJ210 says:

    Sorry to see him go, especially when he’s going to be a mid-round pick at best. He’s a bright kid too and if I remember might only be about 20 years old right now. Really seems like someone who could’ve benefitted from another year. Dooley says Easley will likely move inside next year. If RoPo comes back full strength, we should have a real solid DL once again.

  2. MAR says:

    Unreal. He is due for a great college year. He has all the intangibles to be really good. If he stayed one more year and put it all together with no injuries, he would have an unforgettable season while greatly improving his stock. Bad choice by Jenali. I hope no one drafts him just so he learns a lesson, some humility, and an example is set for future kids who are close to making a bad decision.

  3. G2 says:

    Wow, didn’t see that coming. Defense a bit depleted, we will be a young team again. Got to find a way to keep seniors in the fold, never be an elite team until that happens. One or two gone is workable, 4 is not. What team has been hurt more by this in the last 10 year?

    • Jenkins not being on the team is not going to decide wins or losses. Only so many of the departures really hurt the overall play of the team – Floyd, Elam, Gillislee (depends how his replacement does), Reed, Evans, Sturgis.

  4. g8ter27 says:

    Wow, smart kid I thought but he is committing career suicide here. He will likely not get drafted before the 6th round and might not get drafted at all. If so, likely will get cut. Kid is not ready, was hurt a lot of the year and the surgery on his foot should work wonders for the combine. What is he thinking??? Oh well, come on D-Walker now.

  5. Drew says:

    MAR, you sound like a real POS. Hoping a kid doesn’t go drafted just because you don’t agree with his decision? News flash, it’s HIS decision. Have your opinion about it, I don’t like it either, but damn man. That’s pretty lame for a so called Gator fan to wish this kid go undrafted. You really think that’s going to teach kids a lesson? What bubble have you lived in for the last 10 years? Grow up and show a little humility yourself. I’m sure Jelani is all broke up right now knowing you don’t agree with his choice.

  6. 305gator says:

    What Drew said…

  7. MAR says:

    Got it. I don’t think anyone is here is a POS though, those are your letters. I admit that was out of frustration after just reading the article. I don’t mean to hope bad things on people. I thought WIll Hill didn’t deserve to get drafted, he didn’t, and is fine and I don’t think JJ has earned a draft pick. Maybe not getting drafted might be better for his career which seems to have helped WH, that is the kind of humility I mean.

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