- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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DESTIN, Fla. -- It appears the Janoris Jenkins saga is finally over with in Gainesville, Fla.
Wednesday, Florida Today first reported that the former Florida cornerback pled no contest to possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. Jenkins was given no probation or community service, but was ordered to pay a fine of $421.
The All-SEC corner was dismissed from the team by new coach Will Muschamp in late April after being arrested on marijuana possession charges for the second time in the span of three months. Jenkins was also arrested in June of 2009 after being involved in a fight outside a downtown bar.
"Whether Mr. Jenkins wants to learn a lesson from the last few months or not is up to him,'' State Attorney Bill Cervone told Florida Today. "If he can't figure out that smoking pot is illegal maybe he can at least learn to be more circumspect about it.''
Regardless of Jenkins' major goof(s) this spring, he cost himself millions by deciding to stay in school. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that and it should be encouraged, in retrospect he’s no doubt wishing he had left. Who would have thought that Jenkins electing to stay his senior season might have ended up costing him almost everything?
The question now is if his actions will cost him millions next year.
One of the reasons Jenkins decided to stay was because he suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder at the beginning of last season. The injury would have inhibited what he could have done at the NFL combine this year, so he underwent surgery and decided it would be best to return and go through another season at full health.
It made perfect sense at the time, but two extremely poor decisions changed everything. Florida lost its best defensive player and Jenkins lost another shot at the college limelight.
Jenkins is still exploring his options and could still end up in the supplemental draft that will be held in July if there are applicants.
Jenkins could very well do that, or he could follow the rumor mill and head to Division II North Alabama, where some have him going.
It might be smarter for him to go the D-2 route and take a year to mature and show that his shoulder is fine. Jenkins was one of the best cover corners in the country last season and ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay has him listed as a top-10 pick in next year's draft.
Uncertainty with the NFL might push him toward the college ranks as well.
Change would be good for Jenkins. He's done in Gainesville and done with the Gators. He needs to find a new place where he can reshape his image. He needs to stay away from guilty pleasures and concentrate on his future because there’s no he's an outstanding player, but who knows if he’s worth the investment.
8hSam Khan Jr.
10hDavid M. Hale