TAMPA – Upon further review, Georgia’s John Jenkins said Friday he’s definitely coming back for his senior season.
The 6-foot-3, 351-pound noseguard has waffled about whether or not to turn pro after his one and only season with the Bulldogs. He requested an NFL draft evaulation earlier this month and said earlier this week he was going to give the pros serious consideration.
But then Jenkins said before Friday morning’s practice he’d decided he’d definitely remain a Bulldog another season.
“That’s where I belong, I belong at Georgia another year,” said Jenkins, a six-game starter this season. “I believe at the end of next year I’d have no choice but to be ready.”
Jenkins said he had not yet received his draft grade back from the NFL’s advisory board. But he said didn’t need to see what it said.
“Unless it’s first round, then I’d be a dumb guy not to go out,” he said. “But I don’t think that’s what I’m going to get. I think everybody knows I need to come back and polish up more with Coach [Rodney] Garner behind me. That’s what I need to do.”
With his size and athleticism, Jenkins is clearly an eventual NFL player. He has progressed exponentially during his six months at UGA. He went from playing behind sophomore Kwame Geathers to becoming a six-game starter. He enters the Outback Bowl with 28 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 3 sacks and 10 quarterback pressures. All are exemplary numbers at a position primarily designed to tie up interior blockers.
Jenkins is one of several Georgia underclassmen considering entering the NFL draft. Safety Bacarri Rambo said Thursday he had received a third-round draft grade from the NFL and was still “50-50″ on the decision whether to stay or go. Tight end Orson Charles is also thinking about it, as is outside linebacker Cornelius Washington and a few other players.
The Bulldogs have the ultimate resource at their disposal in Todd Grantham, who spent 11 years in the NFL before coming to Georgia as defensive coordinator. He sees it as a fairly simple decision for these young men.
“If you’re not a top 15 pick you should stay in school,” Grantham stated flatly. “If you’re a top 15 pick, the amount of money that you make you can justify it. But if you’re not, you should work to become that. Because if you look at the guaranteed money you make up at the top is so great, you can actually make money by staying. You go from being a middle second-round pick to a bottom first- or top-second-round pick, you’re talking hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. You can make that by working hard.”
That said, Grantham said he doesn’t flat out tell a player he should stay or go.
“Each individual is different and each individual has to make their own decisions,” he said. “We’re going to do what’s best for them.
“I’ll talk to them and give them my view as far as pluses and minuses for all good players and just lay it out there for them. I want to make sure they make an educated, wise decision that’s best for them and their future. But if you’re not a top 15 pick you need to be working to become that.”
– Chip Towers