Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Florida Gator Janoris Jenkins seeks second chance at big time

A three-year UF starter, Janoris Jenkins could have first-round talent, one analyst says.

Getty Images (2010)

A three-year UF starter, Janoris Jenkins could have first-round talent, one analyst says.

MOBILE, Ala. — Janoris Jenkins knows what it's like to feel Florida Field reverberate from the thunder of a roaring crowd.

There are few environments in football like those in the SEC, and for three years, the former University of Florida star cornerback enjoyed all that being a Gator entailed.

That ended when his unlawful actions got him bounced from the program, sending his career on a detour to North Alabama, where Saturdays arrived with slightly less fanfare.

"I went from Division I to Division II," Jenkins said. "It was a big difference. … I went from 95,000 (fans) to 3,500 a week. That's a big difference."

This week Jenkins begins working way back to the big stage — specifically, those in the NFL.

After being dismissed from UF for two marijuana-related arrests in a four-month span last year — he also faced fight-related charges in 2009— Jenkins played at North Alabama in the fall, hoping to remain relevant.

Scouts will have difficult questions this week. Jenkins welcomes them.

"I'm ready," he said. "I can face up to the fact that I did what I did. I'm ready to accept all challenges and just be honest. I'm ready to tell them what happened and how it went and hopefully we'll move on from there."

Why should anyone believe it won't happen again? For one, Jenkins had no additional incidents after transferring. He also says he made tangible changes that he is willing to detail.

"I took a step to Division II and decided to come back to college football, separate myself from the people I used to hang with," he said. "I just learned. I humbled myself. … I took a year (keeping) to myself, just doing positive things, giving back to the kids and things like that."

Jenkins has first-round talent given his speed, athleticism and ball skills. And he plays a premium position that tends to produce first-rounders given the depth of NFL wide-receiver talent. At North Alabama, quarterbacks did not throw in his direction. He ranked third on the team with 53 tackles but had just two interceptions.

Cornerback is a Bucs need, but given legal issues with Aqib Talib they might shy away from Jenkins.

"I think he is one of the most talented corners in this draft class," said Bucky Brooks, NFL Network draft analyst. "When I look at him, he reminds me of Asante Samuel in terms of his instincts and ball skills, his on-the-field swagger. He is very confident in his ability.

"From a skill standpoint, his hip movement, feet, quickness — you're talking about a Florida guy who played in the SEC and was a dominant player. He had close to first-round grades on him at the end of last year. He was somebody who was definitely on the radar in the scouting community."

And he didn't drop off the radar just because he played before smaller crowds in 2011. A three-year starter at Florida, Jenkins is taking a route similar to Bucs receiver Preston Parker, who ended up at North Alabama after off-field issues got him dismissed from Florida State. Parker went undrafted but became the Bucs' top slot-receiving option this season.

Jenkins will be drafted. Is he first-round material?

"Hopefully," he said. "Who knows? But wherever I go, I'm going to be happy. I made the mistake. I have to take the blame for it. Whoever gets me, I'll be glad to go there and they'll get all I have when I show up."

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at

Former Florida Gator Janoris Jenkins seeks second chance at big time 01/24/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Minors also a training ground for umpires with big-league dreams

    The Heater

    Umpire Tom Fornarola, 23, left, and Taylor Payne, 24, facing, talk before the start of the Gulf Coast League game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers at the Tigertown complex in Lakeland, Fla. on Wednesday, July 5, 2017.
  2. For starters: Souza not in lineup vs. Rangers



  3. Remember that famous Fred McGriff TV commercial? He's back, in a parody


    If you've ever seen Fred McGriff's TV commerical for Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills video it will always be fresh in your mind, with the deadpan delivery and famously ill-fitting cap.

  4. Fennelly: Is Charlie Strong the anti-Freeze?


    The Hugh Sleaze era at Ole Mess is over.

    Hugh Freeze resigned as head football coach Thursday to avoid being fired by Mississippi school officials. For those of you who had NCAA violations and investigations in the pool, you were wrong. Nor was it the defamation lawsuit filed against the school by former Rebels …

    FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2016, file photo, Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze pauses during a timeout in the team's NCAA college football game against Florida State in Orlando, Fla. Freeze has resigned after five seasons, bringing a stunning end to a once-promising tenure. The school confirmed Freeze's resignation in a release Thursday night. Assistant Matt Luke has been named the interim coach. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) NY176
  5. Rowdies part of a record-setting season for USL attendance


    ST. PETERSBURG — Although Rowdies fans haven't had many recent opportunities to show out at Al Lang, the United Soccer League turnstiles keep turning at a record rate.

    A Rowdies fan waves flags ahead of the first half of the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and Orlando City B at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, March 25, 2017.