We’re now down to the final 15 in our countdown of the SEC’s 25 best players, and this next guy is the first Gator to crack the list.
No. 15: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Jr., Florida
2009 numbers: Recorded 38 tackles, including three for loss. Intercepted two passes and also forced a fumble.
Most recent ranking: Not ranked in preseason or postseason countdown in 2009.
Making the case for Jenkins: The 5-11, 186-pound Jenkins has been a fixture in the Florida secondary since the start of his true freshman season. He became just the second true freshman in school history to start at cornerback on opening day. The fact that Jenkins wears No. 1 should tell you plenty about what kind of football player he is. The No. 1 jersey at Florida is reserved for the best of the best. The two guys who had No. 1 before Jenkins were Percy Harvin and Reggie Nelson. An outstanding all-around athlete, Jenkins returns as one of the most established cornerbacks in the SEC. He’s a sure tackler who prides himself on being able to lock down on anybody. We should find out even more about Jenkins as a player and leader in 2010 now that Joe Haden won’t be on the other side at cornerback, but Jenkins is ready to take on that leadership role. He grew up a lot last season following his arrest in the offseason and then struggled through a subpar game against Arkansas when Greg Childs beat him for a couple of long gainers. But Jenkins recovered nicely and is poised to make his mark as one of the top cornerbacks in the country this coming season.