ATHENS — Jordan Jenkins has played in 40 of 40 possible games in his career and started 33 of those. Pretty impressive considering he began his career as a backup to Jarvis Jones.
He has also amassed 146 tackles and 15 sacks in that time. But what may be even more impressive than that is this: Despite all that production and experience, Georgia coaches tabbed as the team’s most improved player for 2014.
There has been a tendency to focus on the potential and impressive physical traits of Lorenzo Carter and Leonard Floyd and even Davin Bellamy. But it’s notable that no one has been able to unseat Jenkins from his starting post on the edge of the Bulldogs’ defensive front.
Jenkins briefly considered turning pro after this past season. But between a mediocre draft grade and the fact that he needs just 15 hours to graduate with a degree from the Terry College of Business, Jenkins decided to come back for one more year to pursue a team championship and refine his football skills.
“I really want to get my upper body to catch up with where my lower body is (in strength) and fine tune my footwork and the use of my hands with less no wasted movements,” Jenkins said.
As you call tell, Jenkins takes his craft seriously. Here’s five questions with the 6-foot-3-253-pound senior from Tuesday’s Media Day.
On opening his fourth preseason camp …
“I still get a lot of anxiety. I’m ready to get back out there. I really hate not being in pads. I’m ready to get out there and hit somebody now rather than watch a bunch of film and the stuff we’re doing right now. Your just excited and ready for the season to start, but you know you have to go through two weeks of camp.”
On Jeremy Pruitt’s impact on defense …
“He has developed us a lot as young men. He has developed us on the field and off the field. He really has helped me a lot with coverages, which is something I’ve struggled with in the past. He’s helped a lot of other guys, too. He finds however it is a player needs to be coached and finds where he needs to be implemented where they can understand the system and help the team.”
On new strength and conditioning coach Mark Hocke …
“Coach Hocke knows how to get guys going. He’s always energetic, it doesn’t matter what time of day it is. His door is always open if you need some time to lift, if you need some time to get in some extra work. He’s just done so much for us physically. We’ve made a lot of strides in the weight room. A lot of guys are stronger and back to lifting a lot of heavy weight again.”
On cultural differences of program since freshman year …
“One of the biggest things I’d have to say is we’re the closets been in the last four or five years. Everybody respects each other; nobody disrespects anybody. And everybody is encouraging guys and spending time with the coaching and getting in extra film work and field work outside of regular hours and on their own. We’re becoming more mature and practicing and acting like a championship team acts. The coaches are ecstatic about some of the things we’re doing. I feel like this is the most organized 7-on-7 we’ve had for players since I’ve been here.”
On that to expect from defense this season …
“What the leaders of the defense want is a defense that opponents respect and that people have to adjust to and a defense that’s just not going to sit there and let you run the ball on us or throw bombs on us all game. You get in a game with us you’re going to be in a fight with us ‘til the end.”
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