Jenkins ends UF drought in Pahokee

It’s been a long, long time since the Florida Gators have gotten a recruit out of talent-rich Pahokee but Coach Urban Meyer broke through that barrier Thursday night when cornerback Janoris Jenkins made a public commitment in an announcement on ESPNU at halftime of a college football broadcast. Jenkins is a 6-0, 180-pounder with tenacious cover skills and the winning attitude that comes from playing for one of the top high school football programs in the state of Florida.

(See Janoris Jenkins profile)

The last time the Gators got a player out of Pahokee was in the mid-1960s when quarterback Harold Peacock signed with Coach Ray Graves. Peacock is best remembered for a gutsy game-winning performance against Kentucky in 1968, his only start as a Gator. Since his era, the Gators have gone down to the wire with several outstanding Pahokee players but haven’t sealed the deal. The Pahokee drought should end in January, who chose Florida because of the environment he saw on a few visits to Gainesville.

“It was a great atmosphere there, and my mom enjoyed it,” Jenkins said Thursday afternoon. “I talked to my coaches about it and they think it is great for me there. Mom thought it was nice. She loved the environment and how everything looked. She liked how the coaches showed me love.”

Jenkins is an in your face cover guy that plays the game as hard as any prospect out there. He loves man-to-man coverage and knows the Gators want their corners to be tough. Secondary coach Chuck Heater really influenced his decision.

“Coach Heater is a great coach, every time I visit they were really excited about me being there,” he said. “I like the way they blitz their corners and play man to man, they only play about 20 percent zone. I really like that.”

The Clemson Tigers were hard on the heals of the Gators for Jenkins and Jenkins had high praise for the team that came in second.

“Clemson finished second,” he said. “I liked the atmosphere, too. “Florida just beat them out because I enjoyed it better. I had a great relationship with that coaching staff.”

Janoris Jenkins wants Gator fans to be ready for someone that will bring an attitude to the field. He doesn’t lack confidence and will be able to bring that attitude in January when he enrolls early for his college career.

“Gator fans should look forward to a great player,” he said. “I am physical, I bring leadership, and I just love the game.”