I typically try to keep this section more about opinions than news, but this one was just too surprising not to put something up. I’ll throw in my two cents as well to justify it.
Less than a week ago there were several reports that Janoris Jenkins was foregoing his senior season in favor of the NFL draft. Despite Jenkins being a huge loss for the Gators, there was barely any discussion about this because pretty much everyone knew it was coming.
Now, a few days later, the shocking announcement that Jenkins will NOT be entering the draft and will instead be returning for his senior season has come out.
My first reaction to this was that it is going to really spoil my “Biggest offseason losses” article that I’ve been working on, since Jenkins was near the top of that list. At least it will make the painful decision of who to put #1 on that list between Jenkins and *spoiler alert* Ahmad Black much easier.
As a Gator fan, I’m ecstatic that Jenkins is coming back. Jenkins was our best offense early on in 2010, as we repeatedly found ourselves in close games against weak teams that were finally broken open when our opponent made the mistake of trying to throw at Jenkins. Beyond the countless crucial turnovers he forced this year, having Jenkins on one side of the field allows us great freedom with our defensive playcalling. Like Austin in 2010, Muschamp/Quinn can now be much more aggressive with blitzes and also can protect the weaker DB play on the other side (though Jeremy Brown is coming along nicely) with safety help. And let’s not forget his ability to take big name receivers out of the game. AJ Green will likely be a top 10 pick in the NFL draft this April, and Julio Jones will likely be a first rounder as well. Jenkins shut them both down. If the Jets had Revis island, then we have Jenkins island, and he is only going to get better as a Senior.
On the flipside, as a fan of Gator players, I can’t help but think that Jenkins is making a poor decision. If he were to leave for the NFL right now he would almost certainly be a top 15 overall pick, which is getting near the peak of where a DB can go in the draft. He could maybe vault his stock 5-7 spots higher this offseason, but is that really worth the risk of an injury or off year? It just seems like there is a lot more room to fall down than to rise up. Maybe he’s worried about a lockout, or maybe he was just salivating at what he could do in a Will Muschamp defense.
Either way, having Janoris Jenkins be a part of the 2011 Florida Gators is going to make this team a lot better. People wondered about Muschamp’s ability to recruit. While the recruiting of high school players still has a month left, Muschamp may have already won the biggest recruit already in school in the SEC.
Nothing has come out yet on whether or not this will affect Will Hill’s decision to go pro. It would be ironic if Jenkins stays on for his senior year while Hill sticks to his decision to go pro. Hill is all talent and no production, a disappointment so far. If anyone could use a year playing in a Will Muschamp defense (and getting better as a player under him) it is a guy like Will Hill.