NCF Nation: Janoris Jenkins

ALPHARETTA, Ga. -- When Florida defensive tackle Leon Orr violated the terms of his deferred prosecution agreement for his misdemeanor marijuana possession charge by being cited for knowingly driving with a suspended license on Monday, he became the ninth Florida player arrested and the 11th overall arrest during Will Muschamp's short coaching tenure.

Though Orr wasn't taken into custody, his citation did count as an official arrest.

With that, there's a growing perception that Florida has an off-field discipline problem. The numbers are hard to ignore, but Muschamp isn't convinced there's a problem. He acknowledges the run-ins that have taken place since he officially took over for Urban Meyer in January of 2011, but insists that perception isn't his reality.

While he wouldn't comment on Orr's situation, he did say that increased media outlets have placed the microscope closer to college athletes.

[+] EnlargeWill Muschamp
Rob Foldy/Icon SMIWill Muschamp insists discipline in his program is better now than it was when he first arrived.
"When you're dealing with young people, it's an ongoing educational process, especially in this day and age," Muschamp told shortly before he greeted the Atlanta Gator Club at The Metropolitan Club in Alpharetta Wednesday. "I'm not taking a shot at anyone in the media. It's your job to report and more things are being reported now than 15, 12, eight, five years ago. There's more social media outlets now where there's more information. There's a lot of misinformation out there, too."

Of the 11 arrests, only three have occurred during this calendar year, while five occurred during Muschamp's first spring.

You can see a summary of the arrests here.

The overall number is high for less than two years, but it's obvious the off-field incidents have steadily decreased and Muschamp said there's "no question" the discipline is better now than it was when he first arrived ... and he's right.

It hasn't been an overnight transformation, but the improvement is there. Muschamp took over a team that experienced 32 arrests during Meyer's six-year tenure and feels things are turning around. He especially sees it in the fact that during his first five months on the job he had five arrests on his hands. Since September, he's had three.

"At the end of the day, our players understand that there are consequences for their actions," Muschamp said. "They understand there's a certain accountability within the program. It's not a right to play at Florida, it's a privilege."

Though not all punishments have been made public, action has been taken by Muschamp. Star cornerback Janoris Jenkins was dismissed after his two marijuana-related arrests, while former linebacker Dee Finley didn't play against Tennessee last year following his arrest for driving with a suspended license and resisting arrest without violence. He later transferred to North Alabama last October.

Tight end A.C. Leonard, who was arrested for battery in February, was suspended for part of spring and Muschamp has said there will be further suspension this fall, meaning he could miss multiple games.

Three of the nine players arrested are no longer with the program.

With spring practice over with, Muschamp said the concerns of the offseason are on his mind. Players have less strict class schedules and more time on their hands. More time away from the coaches can be a dangerous time for programs.

Muschamp is putting the team in the hands of the players and strength coach Jeff Dillman. Muschamp said he isn't relying on a select group of players to lead the team, but expects everyone to hold each other accountable for workouts, off-field behavior and classroom work ethic. Muschamp said reports from Dillman have been positive.

Muschamp also said off-field issues haven't affected recruiting. He said conversations concerning that have gone over well with recruits and their parents and he's been able to promote Florida and its players well.

"We've got the right guys in our locker room," he said. "Are they all deacons in the church? No, but we've got a good locker room. I know one thing: My two young boys love being in the locker room."

Florida's Roberson out for the year

November, 14, 2011
Florida suffered a pretty big loss to its defense over the weekend.

Coach Will Muschamp said during his Monday news conference that true freshman cornerback Marcus Roberson will miss the rest of the season after straining his neck in Florida's 17-12 loss to South Carolina Saturday.

Roberson had started each of Florida's 10 games this season and recorded 18 tackles, one interception and one pass break-up. Muschamp said he expects to get Roberson back in time for spring practice.

Roberson had his hiccups here and there this season, but there was no question he was Florida's best cornerback. He was rangy, fast and physical in Florida's defensive backfield. He was sometimes overly aggressive in his coverage, making him susceptible to pass interference calls, but he rarely got beat for big plays and was Florida's most consistent corner.

The loss of Roberson means Florida takes yet another hit to its corner depth. First it was the dismissal of Janoris Jenkins that hurt this secondary, then a knee injury has kept junior Jeremy Brown off the field this season. Florida will now turn to sophomores Cody Riggs and Jaylen Watkins. Riggs has started 10 games, while Watkins has started five. Both has shown flashes, but have been prone to giving up big plays in one-on-one coverage.

Freshman Louchiez Purifoy and redshirt senior Moses Jenkins will both get more opportunities on the field as well. Purifoy is one to watch here. He is still pretty raw, but his speed and athleticism have caught the eye of his head coach. With more reps in practice, we could see more of him outside of just special teams.
Janoris Jenkins can finally start over.

The former All-SEC cornerback at Florida has found a new home and here's to hoping he can finally get things off the field in order.

Wednesday, ESPN's Mark Schlabach reported that Jenkins, who was dismissed from the team in April after his arrest on misdemeanor marijuana charges, is transferring to Division II North Alabama.

Instead of entering the NFL's supplemental draft, Jenkins is making the right move and going back to school. He won't get the national attention he did at Florida, but he's going to have the chance to redeem himself after off-field incidents late in his career overshadowed his impressive career on it.

Jenkins left Florida with eight career interceptions, including three last season, and might have made the case as being the nation's top cover corner when it was revealed after the season that he had played most of the year with a torn labrum in his shoulder.

Jenkins opted to return to school this spring after undergoing surgery on his shoulder.

But all of that was clouded by two very poor decisions he made. In January, Jenkins was as arrested for a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge. Less than three months later, he was arrested on the same charge.

After meeting with Jenkins following his second arrest, new coach Will Muschamp dismissed Jenkins, leaving a giant hole in Florida's defensive backfield, but it was a tough decision that he had to make.

Earlier this month, Florida Today reported that Jenkins pled no contest to possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. He was given no probation or community service, but was ordered to pay a fine of $421.

Jenkins also had a run-in with the law in June of 2009 when he was arrested on misdemeanor affray charges after being involved in a fight in downtown Gainesville, Fla., and fled police. He agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement on that charge and was placed on six months' probation.

Jenkins can now start over new at North Alabama with coach Terry Bowden. He will not only be able to improve his NFL draft stock with an extra year of college football, but he'll hopefully be able to change his reputation.

He didn’t arrive in Gainesville as a troubled kid, but he’ll have a lot of questions to answer from NFL teams about some of his foolish decisions.

On the move in the SEC

June, 9, 2011
Coaches refer to it as attrition, while another name for it might be roster management.

Every team in the SEC has lost at least one player since the end of last season for a variety of reasons. Some have been kicked off the team for getting into trouble. Others were unhappy with playing time and opted to transfer elsewhere. Academics and injuries have also played a role.

Here's a team-by-team list of some of those players who've left prematurely since the end of last season or were injured and won't be on the field in 2011:

  • TE Ryan Calendar
  • PK Eddie Camara
  • OG Cam Feldt
  • LB Austin Moss
  • C Seth Oxner
  • WR Lance Ray
  • RB Mike Blakely
  • WR Chris Dunkley
  • CB Janoris Jenkins
  • WR Javares McRoy
  • LB Marcus Dowtin
  • RB Washaun Ealey
  • WR Logan Gray
  • DE Jeremy Longo
  • S Nick Williams
  • LB Michael Hunt
  • S Dennis Thames
  • WR Jesse Grandy
  • LB Clarence Jackson
  • DE Delvin Jones
  • QB Nathan Stanley
  • CB Ted Meline
  • RB David Oku
  • C Cody Pope
  • OL Kevin Revis
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.
Green and Gators just haven't gone well together lately.

This year alone, three Florida players -- cornerback Janoris Jenkins and linebackers Chris Martin and Kedric Johnson -- had misdemeanor marijuana-related arrests. Jenkins, an All-SEC performer in 2010, was dismissed from the team last week following his second arrest in three months for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.

[+] EnlargeJanoris Jenkins
Kim Klement/US PresswireNew Florida coach Will Muschamp dismissed cornerback Janoris Jenkins from the team.
On the same day as Jenkins’ dismissal, it was reported that former Florida offensive lineman Maurice Hurt tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

Former Gator receiver Percy Harvin tested positive for marijuana before the 2009 NFL draft, and tight end Aaron Hernandez admitted before last year’s draft that he failed a drug test during his time at Florida.

So when new coach Will Muschamp met with reporters before he spoke to the Central Florida Gator Club in Orlando on Tuesday night, he was asked if he thought there was a drug problem, specifically marijuana, with players at Florida.

Muschamp said he hasn’t specifically addressed marijuana use with his players, but said there is continuous effort to help them with the decision-making aspects of life outside of football.

“We’re constantly in the mental conditioning stage with our football team of making good choices and decisions,” Muschamp said. “It’s a constant effort. When you’re dealing with young people, that’s every day. It’s not going to change. We could have no incidents for 10 years, but we’re still going to be doing it.

“When you’re dealing with young people, you’re always in that developmental stage of making good choices and decisions.”

Despite the four incidents this spring, Muschamp classified those as isolated situations and doesn’t believe marijuana use is a rampant problem circuiting throughout his entire team.

“We’ve got a good situation going,” he said. “We’ve got some good kids on our football team. Some guys make poor decisions and choices and that shouldn’t reflect on the whole team.”

Though coaches are allowed to administer their own dismissals, Florida has the only drug policy in the SEC that allows an athlete to remain on a team with four failed tests. A fourth failed drug test results in a player missing 50 percent of the season.

Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee dismiss athletes after a third positive test, while Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi State dismiss athletes after a fourth.

Former Florida coach Urban Meyer recently told The Gainesville Sun that marijuana use among players was an issue at Florida before he became head coach in 2005.

Four of the 30 arrests during Meyer’s six-year tenure at Florida were for possession of marijuana.

"It was a problem when we got here," Meyer told The Sun. "I thought we put a little bit of a dent in it. But it's still a problem.

"It's an issue at a lot of places. I've talked to a lot of other coaches who told me they were dealing with it as well. But at Gainesville, it's a national story.

"We sought counselors. We did a lot of things. There comes a point when you have to separate the player from the university, and I did that several times."

Meyer said he cut players loose after a third failed test.

Muschamp made a powerful statement when he cut Jenkins loose.

While marijuana use might have been a problem before Jenkins’ dismissal, it doesn’t look like Muschamp will make it much of one anymore.
The loss of senior cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who was dismissed from the team Tuesday, leaves a major hole in Florida’s already inexperienced secondary.

Let’s face it: Jenkins was Florida’s best defensive player and arguably the Gators’ best player overall. So, it took a lot of guts for Florida coach Will Muschamp to dismiss him.

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Kim Klement/US PresswireSenior corner Janoris Jenkins was dismissed from the Gators after his second drug-related arrest in three months.
Jenkins, a three-year starter, was named to the All-SEC first team by the Associated Press in 2010 and held the SEC’s top two receivers from 2010 -- South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery and Alabama’s Julio Jones -- to a combined 10 catches for 72 yards in two games.

He seemed to take his entire side of the field out of play and had eight career interceptions.

So where does Florida turn now that Jenkins is gone?

Florida now turns to sophomore Cody Riggs, redshirt junior Jeremy Brown and fifth-year senior Moses Jenkins to carry its secondary.

Fortunately, they all received quality reps in practice after Janoris Jenkins missed all of spring practice recovering from shoulder surgery.

None of Florida’s immediate options has a lot of experience, but Brown and Riggs did play extensively in 2010.

Brown, who missed his first two seasons at Florida because of a severe back injury, started 10 of the 11 games he appeared in last season. He recorded three interceptions, including one that went 52 yards for a touchdown.

Riggs played in all 13 of Florida’s games in 2010, starting three, and recorded one interception.

Moses Jenkins started Florida’s season opener, but missed most of the rest of the season with an elbow injury. He returned on Nov. 20 against Appalachian State and started in Florida’s 31-7 loss to Florida State -- a game in which FSU quarterback Christian Ponder picked on him.

Then there’s sophomore Jaylen Watkins, who appeared in 10 games last season, but mostly on special teams.

Of those four, Riggs and Brown could be the best options at the two corner spots for Florida. Brown was impressive at times last year and didn’t seem to be bothered by his back, but he occasionally looked like a player who had been out of football for two years by getting turned around on deep plays.

Riggs was a pleasant surprise for the Gators last season, earning more playing time throughout the season, but he was picked on from time to time. In his defense, he was fresh out of high school and going up against SEC talent.

Moses Jenkins has the most experience, but a concussion in 2009 and an elbow injury in 2010 have really impacted his career.

After that, Florida will have to look at its incoming freshmen for help.

Florida signed four potential corner prospects in its 2011 recruiting class. One of those signees -- De’Ante Saunders -- went through spring practice, but struggled at times and was listed as a backup in the nickel corner spot.

Former Fort Lauderdale, Fla., St. Thomas Aquinas standout Marcus Roberson probably has the most skill of Florida’s defensive back signees, but with his size he could potentially move to safety. This recent development could force Florida’s coaches to keep him at cornerback longer than expected.

Signees Louchiez Purifoy and Valdez Showers were two of Florida’s most athletic recruits in this class, but are pretty raw at the corner position. It would be hard to believe Florida’s coaches would expect either to be able to contribute at the corner spot early for the Gators.

There is talent there, but it clearly lacks experience. It says a lot about Muschamp to kick a player off with Janoris Jenkins' ability, especially considering the bind his secondary is now in.

It’s obviously way too early to evaluate Florida’s Will Muschamp as a head football coach.

Even this time next year, it will be too early. We’ll have a better idea. There will at least be a body of work to examine on and off the field, but you don’t anoint a coach or write him off after just one season.

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Sam Greenwood/Getty ImagesJanoris Jenkins has been dismissed from the football team.
Nonetheless, I’ll say this for Muschamp after hearing the news Tuesday that he’d sent star cornerback Janoris Jenkins packing following Jenkins’ second drug-related arrest in three months: There’s a new sheriff in Gator Land, and this one is serious about holding players accountable when they show up on the police blotter.

If Muschamp didn’t already have his players’ attention, you can bet he does now.

Jenkins was the kind of player you build defenses around and might have been a first-round pick had he come out following his junior season.

But he’s not bigger than the Florida program, and if you embarrass the program one too many times, you’re history.

Sounds pretty simple, but we all know it doesn’t work that way at a lot of places.

Make up your own mind if it worked that way under Muschamp’s predecessor.

Urban Meyer had unbelievable success at Florida, winning two national championships and three BCS bowl games. But there were also more than 30 arrests on his watch, and just last season, he allowed a player to rejoin the team (Chris Rainey) after he was arrested and charged with stalking for sending a threatening text message to a woman he’d been dating that read: "Time to Die [expletive]."

It got away from Meyer and the Gators in more ways than one last season, and I don’t blame him for taking his two rings and going to the broadcast booth.

The challenge for Muschamp is to try and sustain the success Meyer had on the field his first five seasons, but to snuff out some of the nonsense off the field.

I’d say he’s off to a rousing start.

Muschamp made it very clear in taking the job that the players he recruited and coached would represent Florida in a first-class manner. He went on to say that it was something he took very seriously.

We know now how serious.

More importantly, so do his players.

It’s never easy to kick off your best player, especially when you’re just taking over a program.

But Muschamp stayed true to his word, and it’s obvious he’s not interested in taking shortcuts or sacrificing his core values in getting the Gators back to college football’s upper hierarchy.

Granted, he’s yet to coach in his first game at Florida. But in my book, he’s 1-0.

More marijuana trouble for Gators

April, 25, 2011
Turns out star cornerback Janoris Jenkins isn't the only Florida player in the last few months to get in trouble with police for marijuana possession.

The Palm Beach Post reported over the weekend that sophomore linebacker Kedric Johnson and redshirt freshman defensive end/linebacker Chris Martin were also arrested and charged back in January with possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana in separate incidents.

Jenkins was charged with possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana early Saturday morning after police said they saw him sitting in his car in a parking lot and smoking what turned out to be a marijuana cigar. Three months earlier, a police officer caught Jenkins rolling a marijuana cigarette in a the bathroom of a Gainesville nightclub, a charge that led to a plea agreement by Jenkins.

It was well-documented that there were more than 30 arrests involving Florida football players under former coach Urban Meyer.

The tally is already up to four under new coach Will Muschamp, and he's only been on the job for four months.

Obviously, it's impossible to change a program's culture in four months, so blaming Muschamp for players getting popped for smoking marijuana a few months after he was hired is unfair.

Anybody who thinks that doesn't go on elsewhere on college campuses, by athletes and non-athletes alike, is in total denial.

That said, marijuana is illegal, and it's only fair to question how much it really means to a player to be a part of a program when he's brazen enough to sit in a parking lot puffing on a blunt after being arrested three months earlier for trying to twist one up in the bathroom of a nightclub.

What's more, Jenkins is the best player on the team and probably the most recognizable.

Anyway, now is when you judge Muschamp, who has a tone-setting decision to make.

There will be some who joke that he's already ahead of Meyer's blistering pace when it comes to players getting in trouble with the law. Again, that's unfair.

But what is fair is monitoring how Muschamp deals with these issues and how serious he is about sending a message that they won't be tolerated now that he's the Head Gator.
We're about to find out what the "Florida Way" really means, or if it means anything at all.

First-year Florida coach Will Muschamp has been outspoken about the importance of the Gators' players conducting themselves with class and representing the university in the proper manner.

It's all part of what he calls doing things the "Florida Way."

Unless his star cornerback, Janoris Jenkins, has been wrongly accused by police, Muschamp has a decision to make that will go a long way toward defining the "Florida Way," and rest assured that his players and those players thinking about joining the Florida program will be watching.

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Cliff Welch/Icon SMIWill Muschamp has stressed the importance of the Gators' players being responsible representatives of the program and the university.
For the second time in three months, Jenkins is facing a marijuana possession charge.

According to Gainesville police, Jenkins was spotted sitting in a car early Saturday morning smoking what an officer later found to be a marijuana cigar. He's scheduled to appear in court on May 12.

Back on Jan. 22, Jenkins was hit with the same charge, possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, after Gainesville police officers said they found Jenkins in the bathroom of a nightclub rolling a marijuana cigarette. He accepted a plea deal on that charge.

This is Jenkins' third run-in with the law during his time at Florida. He was arrested and tasered in May 2009 after fighting with five other people despite an officer ordering him to stop. He signed a deferred prosecution agreement, agreeing to probation and community service.

It's obvious that Jenkins has a history of finding trouble off the field. It's just as obvious that he doesn't have one ounce of respect for the "Florida Way" if he was truly sitting in his car in a public parking lot puffing on a blunt a month removed from accepting a plea deal for another marijuana charge.

Muschamp said Jenkins' punishment would be handled internally following the January incident.

And given the long laundry list of Florida players arrested on the watch of Muschamp's predecessor, Urban Meyer, any punishment handed down now by Muschamp that doesn't have some real teeth in it would be purely cosmetic.

Jenkins is an outstanding player, one of the top returning cornerbacks in college football. He's one of those guys who can take away an entire side of the field.

What he's done now, though, is paint his head coach into a small corner of that field.

Muschamp didn't mince words about player discipline when he took the job back in December.

"There’s a certain thing that I’m going to refer to as the 'Florida Way,' and that’s the way they need to act and that’s the way they need to represent our university,” Muschamp said at the time. “I’m going to demand that, and I think you’ll understand in time that that’s something that is very important to me. When you walk into a home and you talk about being a student-athlete at the University of Florida, I talk in terms of wanting all of our student-athletes to come into our program to be a better person for having been at Florida, and I’m not just talking from a football standpoint. I’m talking about the off-the-field things.”

Well, here's Muschamp's chance to prove that the "Florida Way" is a lot more than just a bunch of talk.

Noting the Gators' spring game

April, 9, 2011
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- While Florida’s spring game was a bit of a snoozer, new coach Will Muschamp was pleased with how his team progressed this spring.

Here are some notes from the Blue team’s 13-10 win over the Orange in Saturday’s Orange and Blue Debut:
  • The Gators entered Muschamp’s first spring game with a laundry list of injuries. Here are some of them: RB Mike Gillislee (stress fracture), RB Mack Brown (broken fibula), RB Mike Blakely (shoulder surgery), OL Xavier Nixon (ankle), OL Matt Patchan (wrist surgery), OL Nick Alajajian (knee), FB Trey Burton (ankle), WR Andre Debose (ankle), DT Jaye Howard (ankle surgery) and CB Janoris Jenkins (shoulder surgery).
  • Freshman wide receiver Javaras McRoy missed Saturday’s game after undergoing a medical procedure on his lung. Muschamp said he missed the last week and a half of practice, but will be fine. “There’s no serious situation right here,” Muschamp said.
  • Redshirt freshman receiver Chris Dunkley wasn't seen at the game. He was suspended from the team earlier in the week for academic reasons.
  • Redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Murphy finished 7-for-11 passing with a game-high 68 yards. “I made some plays,” Murphy said. “I made some mental errors and stuff like that. I have to focus on getting better in the offseason and watching film and learning from my mistakes.” Starter John Brantley only played in the first half, going 4-for-14 with 45 yards. Brantley started the game 0-for-6 and didn’t complete his first pass -- a 19-yard completion to tight end Jordan Reed -- until 5:28 remaining in the second quarter.
  • The teams combined for 340 yards of total offense, while the Orange defense held the Blue to the fewest points (13) by a winning team in the history of Florida’s spring game. The Orange also limited the Blue to six total completions, tied for the lowest in spring game history (Orange, 2008). The Blue defense held the Orange to the fewest total offensive yards (143) in spring game history. “It’s going to look different, but we’re going to be more comfortable with it,” Brantley said of the offense. “Everyone will be healthy, everyone will be fresh.”
  • However, the Orange broke the spring game record for highest third-down percentage, completing .625 (5-for-8) of its third-down attempts. The previous record was .556 by the Orange team in 2001.
  • Rising senior kicker Caleb Sturgis tied Jeff Chandler’s 2001 spring game record by making all three of his field-goal attempts. In the first half, Sturgis made a 21-yarder for the game’s first points. He followed with a 43-yarder with 1:56 left in the half. His final one came on a 33-yard attempt late in the third.
  • Freshman punter Kyle Christy tied Nick Fleming’s 2003 spring game record for longest punt with a 55-yarder in the first quarter. Christy enrolled at Florida in January and is listed as the first-team punter.
  • Muschamp said he and his staff achieved the goal of finding its playmakers and devised a list of 22 players they are comfortable relying on. One of those players was redshirt freshman Quinton Dunbar, who caught two passes for 45 yards, including a 29-yarder to start the second half. “Dunbar has made more big plays than anybody else [this spring],” Muschamp said.

Gators' Janoris Jenkins cited for pot

January, 24, 2011
Now the fun begins for Will Muschamp.

Obviously, it's anything but fun, but star cornerback Janoris Jenkins' run-in with police over the weekend after being cited for marijuana possession is the first off-the-the-field incident that Muschamp will have to deal with as Florida's new coach.

One of the few criticisms of Muschamp's predecessor, Urban Meyer, was that there were too many arrests (30) on his watch as the Gators' coach.

This is Muschamp's opening to set the tone as to what he expects from his players. One of the things you heard coming out of the Florida camp when Muschamp was hired was that he would be more of a stickler in cracking down on these issues and would also be more discerning on the recruiting trail when it came to assessing a recruit's character.

What's more, this isn't the first time Jenkins has been in trouble with the law at Florida.

It will be interesting to see how hard Muschamp comes down on Jenkins, who passed up a chance to declare early for the NFL draft and elected to return for his senior season.

Fairley moves up to No. 2 on Big Board

January, 8, 2011
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck staying in school, Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley is one of the prime candidates to go No. 1 overall in April's NFL draft.

Fairley, a junior, has repeated several times this week that he hasn't given much thought to whether or not he's going to turn pro, but several in and around the Auburn program feel that he will declare for early entry.

ESPN's Mel Kiper in his latest Big Board of the top 25 NFL prospects has Fairley No. 2 overall behind Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers.

Fairley is one of 11 SEC players cracking Kiper's latest Big Board.

Georgia receiver A.J. Green is No. 3 and LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson No. 4. Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus also made the top 10 at No. 6.

Rounding out the SEC players are Auburn quarterback Cam Newton at No. 12, Alabama receiver Julio Jones at No. 13, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett at No. 16, LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis at No. 17, Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins at No. 22, Alabama running back Mark Ingram at No. 23 and Florida center Mike Pouncey at No. 25.

Outback Bowl keys

December, 30, 2010
Here are three keys for Florida in its Outback Bowl matchup with Penn State:

1. Make some plays down the field: Throughout much of Urban Meyer’s tenure, nobody was better than the Gators when it came to making explosive plays down the field. But that was a component that was sorely missing this season from the offense. Florida could use some quick strikes early to get its offense going and spread out the Penn State defense. Chris Rainey figures to play a key role in this game.

2. Force Penn State to throw: Even though Florida will be without top cornerback Janoris Jenkins in this game, the Gators are still plenty talented in the secondary. They will gladly take their chances with Penn State throwing the football as opposed to the Nittany Lions getting their running game cranked up and moving the chains that way. If Florida can get Penn State into a lot of third-and-long situations, then it’s probably going to be a long day for the Nittany Lions.

3. Take care of the ball: The Gators turned the ball over an SEC-high 25 times this season, which is extremely uncharacteristic of an Urban Meyer team. They turned the ball over six times in their last two games against FBS opponents -- South Carolina and Florida State. If they turn it over two or more times against Penn State, they’re going to be in trouble.

Florida's Jenkins in attack mode

September, 29, 2010
Watching Florida’s Janoris Jenkins play cornerback is like watching a lion stalk its prey.

Jenkins may be a defensive player, but there’s nothing defensive about the way he goes after the football.

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Kim Klement/US PresswireFlorida cornerback Janoris Jenkins draws talented wide reciever Julio Jones this week against Alabama.
“I feel like every time the ball is in the air, it should be ours,” Jenkins said. “We attack the ball as if we’re the receivers. We’re the ones on offense back there.”

Jenkins, a 5-11, 186-pound junior, is the centerpiece of a Florida secondary that has defined this season what ball-hawking is all about. The Gators lead the country with 12 interceptions through the first four games. They’ve taken three of those back for touchdowns.

Cornerback Jeremy Brown returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown last week against Kentucky. Jenkins had a 67-yard return for a touchdown in the opener against Miami (Ohio).

Creating turnovers will be a must for the Gators this Saturday when they take on No. 1-ranked Alabama.

And that’s where Jenkins and his defensive backfield mates come in.

“We’ll play with the same mentality that we always play with, that we’re going to go get the football,” said Jenkins, whose seven passes defended ties him for the SEC lead along with Brown. “Nobody has to do anything extra. We just have to play our game, play sound and play together.”

Jenkins will draw the assignment of matching up with Alabama’s Julio Jones, and they’re not strangers.

As high school seniors, they locked up in some memorable battles during the week of the Under Armour All-America game in Orlando.

But the last couple of seasons, Joe Haden has been matched up with Jones. With Haden now in the NFL, those duties will shift to Jenkins.

“I’ve got to play my technique, but I know I have the ability to stay with him,” said Jenkins, who’s gotten better in bump-and-run coverage.

Jenkins has also become a better tackler, and his total package as a cornerback makes him one of the top-rated prospects in next year’s draft. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has Jenkins rated as the No. 3 cornerback prospect in this class, assuming Jenkins decides to come out.

His explosive speed and ball skills make him a natural at the next level, but his head coach has also noticed more of a sense of urgency this season.

Jenkins became only the second true freshman cornerback in Florida history to start on opening day two years ago. He went on to have a sensational freshman season.

At that point, there might have been a little entitlement as he approached his sophomore season, and it showed.

“He came in here as one of the best workers we’ve ever had as a true freshman,” Florida coach Urban Meyer said. “He and Jeremy Brown came in and stole the show. Jeremy went through a back injury and is now coming out of it. Janoris went through a very good freshman year and kind of an average second year, pretty good, but nothing like it is now.

“Coach (Teryl) Austin has done a very good job with him. Some of these guys around here get a certain feeling of status when they play very well, and I don’t see that with Janoris. I saw that a little bit last year.”

Jenkins remembers vividly that sick feeling he had in his stomach last season following the SEC championship game loss to Alabama. It’s one of only two losses he’s experienced as a Gator.

Nobody on defense played particularly well in that game for Florida, which missed more than 20 tackles and lost its edge.

“We all felt bad,” Jenkins said. “We preach around here about finishing strong, and that’s something we didn’t do in that game. We know they’re just as good as they were last year and have been playing good ball.

“We’re a little under the radar right now, but all that matters to us is going out there and playing Florida football on Saturday. If we do that for all four quarters, we’ll be OK.”