INDIANAPOLIS — Janoris Jenkins knows he can’t run from his past, especially here at the NFL Scouting Combine, where scouts and coaches rattle every skeleton in the closet to avoid taking a risk on a prospect.
Jenkins was a star at Florida, but he finished his college career at North Alabama after a spree of off-the-field issues led to the cornerback’s dismissal from the Gators after the 2010 season. The 22-year-old was arrested twice in the span of four months in 2011 for marijuana possession. In 2009, Jenkins was arrested for a scuffle in Gainesville.
All sorts of drama, but Jenkins claims he’s undergone a transformation. He told reporters Sunday that he’s been “straightforward” in interviews this week, taking full responsibility for his fall from grace.
“I mean, it made me a strong person,” Jenkins said. “Taught me how to fight through reality, you know, that I got to separate from certain guys, certain people. In order to be successful at the next level, I can’t do the things I used to do.”
Red flags aside, teams will come calling. Why? Because in 2010, Jenkins held 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 per game, allowing only one touchdown between the three.
Jenkins is widely projected to go anywhere from the late first round to early second in April’s draft, but he knows his soiled past has damaged his potential.
“I’m pretty sure it will hurt me,” Jenkins said, “but I’m looking past that, looking forward to moving on and just being successful from here on out.”
– Marc Sessler