Jenkins just trying to work hard and fit in
When freshman cornerback Janoris Jenkins ran onto the field last weekend in Knoxville, the reality finally hit him.
Playing in the first road game of his college football career, in front of 107,000, was a little more than he expected. Up to that point, the largest crowd he'd ever played in front of was about 2,000 at the high school "Muck Bowl'' in his hometown of Pahokee.
"It was loud,'' Jenkins said of Neyland Stadium. "People were wild and loud. I felt like, what am I going to do? I'm a freshman playing in this environment. There were more people there than in (all of) Pahokee. But I blocked it out after a couple of plays.''
Indeed he did. Jenkins had two tackles, one forced fumble and one interception against the Vols. Now he's battling Wondy Pierre-Louis for a starting job when the Gators host Ole Miss on Saturday.
"Janoris has played very well for us,'' UF defensive coordinator Charlie Strong said. "We felt like in the spring, he contributed well for us. The thing about it is he has no fear. And what you're so afraid of is, if he does get beat, how is he going to respond? But he's doing a great job for us right now.''
Jenkins, who won two state titles at Pahokke, said he's not so focused on being a starter right now because he's still learning.
"All of us are good corners, so I'm just trying to play my role on the team,'' he said. "But all of us are good corners.''
Jenkins said enrolling early and participating in spring football was a huge advantage for him entering fall camp. Most likely, he said, it's why he's playing so well now.
"The spring helped me a lot because when I first got here, I really didn't know the plays,'' Jenkins said. "But Joe Haden, Wondy, we got together, talked to all of them about the plays and that just got me into the playbook. It feels good to make plays for my team, help us get down on the offensive end and create turnovers.''