Jenkins will return to Florida

Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins celebrates a defensive stop during the first half of the Gators' game against Miami University Saturday September 4, 2010 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

Rob C. Witzel/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, January 10, 2011 at 9:37 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 10, 2011 at 3:06 p.m.

During the height of the recruiting season, new Florida coach Will Muschamp has picked up his biggest commitment so far, and it doesn't come from a high school star of a junior college stud.

It comes from one of the best cornerbacks in college football — Janoris Jenkins.

In somewhat of a surprise move, Jenkins, a potential first-round NFL Draft pick, revealed Monday that he is returning for his senior season rather than enter the draft.

"After careful consideration, I've made a decision to return for my senior year," Jenkins said in a UF release. "I spent some time with my family and Coach Muschamp and came to the conclusion it was in my best interest to return to school.

"Coach Muschamp was very supportive throughout the whole process, regardless of my decision, but he wanted to make sure I had all the facts. I'm looking forward to working toward my degree, completing my rehab and getting back on the field with my teammates."

Jenkins, a three-year starter, is coming off a strong junior season in which he intercepted three passes and was named first-team All-SEC. Former UF coach Urban Meyer called Jenkins one of the nation's best cornerbacks several times during the season.

Jenkins appeared to be a sure bet to leave for the NFL early before undergoing shoulder surgery for a torn labrum after the Florida State game in December. Jenkins would not have been able to work out for NFL coaches or scouts leading up to the draft.

"I'm excited that Janoris has made a decision to come back to school," Muschamp said. "I would have supported him whatever decision he made, but I commend him for making a mature decision.

"It would have been real easy for Janoris to make an emotional choice and leave early, but with our contacts in the NFL, we were able to assist him in understanding his draft status and he made an educated decision that will be beneficial to him in the long term."

This past season, Jenkins held the trio of South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery, Georgia's A.J. Green and Alabama's Julio Jones to an average of 4.7 receptions for 38 yards with one combined touchdown between the three. In their other games, the trio averaged 102.5 yards and 6.3 receptions and combined for 24 touchdowns. Green and Jones, both juniors, recently declared for the draft.

The Gators are expected to lose one starting junior defensive back to the NFL — free safety Will Hill. Hill, however has not officially declared for the draft yet. When contacted by The Sun on Monday, Hill's father, Will, would not reveal what his son's intentions are. "We're not going to discuss that," he said.

Junior defensive tackle/end Jaye Howard also has not said yet whether he will enter the draft or return for his senior season.

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