Jenkins reflects on final practice at USF
Here's Friday's practice report from correspondent Brendan Galella ...
TAMPA -- Senior cornerback Mike Jenkins looked around the Bulls' practice field and could only shake his head.
After spending nearly every day there for the past four seasons, the American Football Coaches Association All-American had trouble leaving
the field that has helped turn him into a highly touted NFL prospect.
"It's been kind of hard knowing that I'm leaving this program and this is the last time I'm practicing on this field," the 22-year-old Jenkins said. "I'm just looking at the guys right now and hope to go out with a big win."
No. 21 USF makes its national network TV debut on CBS facing Oregon at the Sun Bowl Dec. 31.
The senior class has helped the Bulls to their first bowl appearance, bowl win, national ranking. Coach Jim Leavitt hopes the class continues to make strides on New Year's Eve.
"We've never won 10 (games), never beaten a Pac-10 team and we've never finished (the season) nationally ranked," coach Jim Leavitt said. "Those are all real good goals and it could be the best season South Florida has ever had with a win."
For Jenkins, it will be an opportunity to showcase the talent that has him projected as the initial first-round selection in USF's history.
ESPN.com draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has him listed as the eighth best senior and the only player in the secondary in his top-10.
"I haven't really seen any of that, but I'm always updated by my friends," Jenkins said. "I try not to get into all of that because if I focus on what people are saying about me, I might try and do too much. But I think I've been doing pretty well so far."
The 6-foot, 190 pound Jenkins led USF in pass breakups (12) for the second consecutive year and intercepted three passes despite opponents' showing reluctance to throw to his side of the field.
Following the Sun Bowl, Jenkins will participate in the Under Armour Senior Bowl on Jan. 26 in Mobile, Ala. While he may not be the biggest name entering the 2008 NFL Draft, Jenkins hopes to show he can fit the billing that has been placed upon him.
"I just have to play awesome in the Senior Bowl and run one heck of a 40 (yard dash) and let it go," Jenkins said. "I never thought I'd be where I am now. Like coach said, my stock just rose like yeast. So I feel good about that right now."