Jenkins spurns NFL for another year with Gators

By Adam Silverstein
January 10, 2011

Florida Gators junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins, arguably the team’s best defensive player in 2010, has officially decided to return for his senior season rather than begin his professional career declare for the 2011 NFL Draft.

“After careful consideration, I’ve made the decision to return to school for my senior year. I spent some time with my family and Coach [Will] Muschamp and came to the conclusion it was in my best interest to return to school,” said Jenkins, according to a University of Florida release. “Coach Muschamp was very supportive throughout the whole process, regardless of my decision, but he wanted to make sure I had all of the facts. I’m looking forward to working towards my degree, completing my rehab and getting back on the field with my teammates.”

Jenkins, who has totaled 106 tackles, eight interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), two sacks and two forced fumbles in three seasons at Florida, earned All-SEC honors from both the Associated Press (first team) and Southeastern Conference coaches (second team) this year for his stellar play.

“I’m excited that Janoris has made a decision to come back to school,” Muschamp said. “I would have supported him in whatever decision he made, but I commend him for making a mature decision. It would have been real easy for Janoris to make an emotional choice and leave early, but with our contacts in the NFL, we were able to assist him in understanding his draft status and he made an educated decision that will be beneficial to him in the long term.”

Projected to be a first-round pick as a junior before the season began, Jenkins was considered the third-best cornerback and No. 11 overall player available in this year’s draft, according to ESPN and Scouts, Inc.

He was ready to declare for the draft before sitting down with Muschamp.

With his return, Muschamp and young secondary coach Travaris Robinson have a reliable senior to champion an otherwise inexperienced unit. Florida will likely be starting sophomores at both safety positions (Matt Elam, Josh Evans) and may do the same at cornerback depending who wins the position battle in the offseason.

Jenkins sent Gators fans into a frenzy Sunday evening with the innocuous tweet “Gator Nation I’m back…” and did not follow up with any additional information. He confirmed his decision Monday morning with another tweet, “Headed to class with nothing but ‘joy.’ Gator Nation I’m back…”

OGGOA learned on Sunday that Jenkins has long had a desire to earn his degree and staying in school was always a strong consideration for him. He is pursuing a degree in anthropology and is believed to be on track to graduate next year.

He is only the second true freshman in school history to start at cornerback on opening day (Joe Haden) and was named to the 2008 SEC All-Freshman Team. Jenkins helped the Gators win the 2009 BCS National Championship by totaling five tackles in the game. He was equally effective in the 2010 Sugar Bowl, recording five solo tackles (one for loss) and a pass break-up in Florida’s win.

Jenkins registered 43 tackles, three interceptions and one sack as a junior in 2010 while playing most of the season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He had surgery after the regular season to correct the injury and missed the Gators’ 37-24 victory over the Penn State Nittany Lions in the 2011 Outback Bowl.

After speaking with two sports medicine experts, OGGOA has learned that Jenkins’ injury would not have prevented him from working out for NFL scouts before draft day should he have decided to play in the league next season.

Fellow junior, safety Will Hill, will declare for the draft though his intentions have not been made official yet. UF will release a statement if and when Hill’s decision to pursue a professional football career is official.

OGGOA RELATED 1/5: Will Hill to forgo senior season, enter NFL Draft

Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images


  1. cline says:


  2. Basshole says:

    Awesome, awesome news. I can’t imagine the season he will have next year. Go Gators!

  3. Mr2Bits says:

    Damn, can never beat you to any stories can I as I was just about to talk about this.

    This is absolutely great news. I read that his NFL grade out wasn’t where he wanted it to be and add to that his inability to train effectively because of his shoulder was a deciding factor as well.

  4. Aligator says:

    who knows, now maybe will hill may rethink what he is doing and our defense will be on track next year.

  5. Morgan says:

    Reward his Loyalty.

  6. Marc says:

    The excitement for next season keeps building. It is going to be a long summer………

  7. Swampbabe says:

    GREAT news from Jenkins! Will Hill is gone and good riddence to a guy who can’t hang out to celebrate Coach Meyer’s last Gator victory…ME players need not apply nor hang out. See ya!

  8. FLA_GATORZ says:

    Great news!!!!

  9. brlgator says:

    He s pretty much locked into the first round and likely
    between 11-20 and he s coming back? His shoulder rehab must be a
    long project. Under any circumstances I am glad to have him back.
    Though the vast majority of OGGOA readers and nfl scouts disagree
    with me I always thought he was better then Haden. Haden is a
    better athlete no doubt. But I feellike janoris was a better cover
    cb and better in run support, though he does take a lot of chances
    on jumping routes.

  10. Mr2Bits says:

    @brlgator : He got graded out as a second rounder by the NFL because of his shoulder and rehab which will set him back almost up until draft day. McShay and McKiper are the ones who placed him in the middle to late round.

  11. Movers says:

    Great to see him place a premium on getting a degree.

  12. npgator says:

    He is one of the best Corners to ever play for the Gators! Huge News!

  13. DGLgatorfan says:

    Great news for the gators allow the young corners more time to develop.

  14. John S says:

    Wow…Great news, Jenkins is a stud and earns a lot of respect from Gator Nation. The secondary does need help, and a season with a solid defense where teams will have to throw the ball could do a lot for him. Remembering back the combine was a big deal for Haden, if Jenkins was not certain that he could be 100% it would be a risk.

    Thanks for coming back, Go Gators!

  15. ulysses1221 says:

    Jenkins is a beast and his play making abilities are out of this world. Glad to have him back for another year.
    Go gators

  16. Daniel M. says:

    This is great news in terms of secondary leadership. Outstanding.

  17. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    Great news…I wonder if the pending lock out was a factor as well…it is suppose to be a crazy off season

  18. Aligator says:

    with all of the HC postions opening up right now in the NFL, does anyone think that Weis may take one of those?

  19. Gatorguy11 says:

    This is great news, just think guys if coach Muschomp can persuade a young man to turn down millions to come back to school. Think what he can do for high school teenagers deciding what university is best. Many bright days are coming to UF

  20. Gatorguy11 says:

    I know it’s a rush, Adam but I must ask if you’ve heard anything as far as recruiting goes?

  21. Swampbabe says:

    Speaking of recruiting, starting to REALLY wonder how much an Auburn National Championship could hurt our class this year. At least Charlie will now be free to hit the road for Gator Nation. And I agree with Adam, Charlie needs to do it successfully as a HC in college before he gets a look from the pros, IMO.

  22. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Wow what amazing news. Thank you Janoris!!!!!

  23. DGlockUF says:

    This is absolutely great news. Really strengthens our D,
    looks good to recruits, and somewhat takes the sting out of Waisome
    leaving us for the noles. I wonder if there is any chance Waisome
    pulls an “Elam” and comes back to the Orange and Blue. GO GATORS!!!
    ps did anyone go to the bball game last sat and feel the energy
    when Coach Boom came out to the court? that was awesome

  24. Will W says:

    Janoris is a stud and we are very lucky to have him back. A
    seconday with Jenkins, Riggs, Elam and Shaw doesn’t sound so

  25. Mr2Bits says:

    @ DGlockUF : Waisome’s decision of leaving UF was not really his decision from what I’ve read. Storyline goes like this. Waisome meets Muschamp, spend the day together behind closed doors, Waisome announces that he is leaving UF for FSU and UF doesn’t try to stop him. Put two and two together but from what I read, Waisome didn’t fit Muschamp’s mold and vision for what he wants in his corners and told him that.

  26. g8ter27 says:

    Well with jenkins it is like we just signed a 5 star (at least for a year) that is proven not to be a bust. And why is Tommy Jordan such a puss, what the heck? He comes to UF and then goes home and wants to wait to enroll in the fall? This guy is a 3 star recruit from Connecticut that Addazio picked bc he was from the area probably and now he isn’t sure he wants to be here…i think unless there was a good reason to go home for the spring Will may want to re-think that offer.

  27. Scooterp says:

    WOW!!! didn’t see this coming. Welcome back, Janoris. Good
    Bye, Will.

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