Jelani Jenkins leaves Florida Gators to turn pro

Florida junior LB Jelani Jenkins announced Monday he has decided to forego his final year of eligibility with the Gators and declare for the NFL draft.

He joins Gators S Matt Elam, TE Jordan Reed and DT Sharrif Floyd who last week announced they would not return for their senior seasons.

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

Jenkins played in 36 games at UF, with 31 starts. He had 182 tackles, 16.5 for-loss, six sacks and three interceptions. But this past season he played in just nine games (eight starts), with 29 tackles. Jenkins broke his thumb in the game against Texas A&M, and did not play in the Sugar Bowl because of a broken foot suffered in the FSU game.

With Jenkins' departure, Florida has just four returning defensive starters from the 2012 team. The Gators are still awaiting a decision by DE Dominique Easley on whether he will return.

Jelani Jenkins leaves Florida Gators to turn pro 01/07/13 [Last modified: Monday, January 7, 2013 3:48pm]

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