Brad Posted April 21, 2008 Group: Admin Topic Count: 0 Content Count: 91,475 Reputation: 8,240 Days Won: 382 Joined: 05/19/2000 Share Posted April 21, 2008 USF's Michael Jenkins hopes for history in NFL draft Chris Harry INSIDE THE NFL April 20, 2008 This whole NFL draft thing has Michael Jenkins' head spinning. "I'm really anxious right now," said the University of South Florida's hotshot cornerback. "I haven't heard anything very definitive, so I'm kind of lost in the shuffle." Not for long. The draft commences in six days. Jenkins won't have to wait seven, even with the league tweaking the process this year to stage just two rounds on Saturday, rather than three. Depending on what teams or scouting service you ask, Jenkins may not have to wait too much longer than two or three hours to learn where his football future lies. His speed (4.38 seconds in the 40), cover skills and the way he goes after footballs like a receiver project nicely for a solid pro career. Jenkins is planted firmly among the top-tier cornerbacks in the draft, a shade behind Tennessee State's Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie and Kansas' Aqib Talib and alongside Troy's Leodis McKelvin and Virginia Tech's Brandon Flowers. Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr., in fact, projects the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking Jenkins with the 20th pick. "I like him," Bucs Coach Jon Gruden said at the league owners meetings earlier this month. For Jenkins, playing 45 minutes from where he grew up in Bradenton and in the same stadium in which he helped launch USF into national prominence would be too good to be true. It's only fitting that Jenkins, named to several All-America teams, will be the one to further USF's profile by becoming its inaugural NFL first-round pick. It's a badge of honor he'll wear gladly for the crucial role he played in a program that played its first game only 11 years ago. "I want to start something new," Jenkins said. To review: The Bulls debuted as a Division I-AA program in 1997; went I-A in 2001; joined Conference USA in '03; moved to the Big East in '05; made the Top 25 with a stunning and nationally televised upset of fifth-ranked West Virginia last September; and stunned college football by ascending to No. 2 last season before a three-game swoon brought the program back to earth. And reality. "I don't know what happened, but one day nobody knew where we were, the next day people were talking about us playing for the national championship," Jenkins said of a roller-coaster season in which the Bulls finished 9-4 and lost to Oregon 56-21 in the Sun Bowl. "I don't know if we got ahead of ourselves or what. We didn't achieve our goals, but as far as setting trends for the school, I think the team did that." Now it's his turn. Only eight Bulls ever have been drafted. Linebacker Kawika Mitchell, a Lake Howell product and second-round pick (47th overall) of the Chiefs, is the best known of them, especially after starting for the Giants last season. Link Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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