We continue with our Rant Sports, SEC 50 Players in 50 Days preview, as kickoff is now just a little more than a week away. Nine more days and the SEC will be back in the forefront on Thursday night August 30. We jump back to the defensive side of the football today and take a look at Florida Gator linebacker Jelani Jenkins.
Jelani Jenkins, LB, Florida:
The Gators enter 2012 looking to improve in the second year of the Will Muschamp era. 2011 was not very successful in Gainesville as Florida finished up 7-6, but did end on a high note winning the Gator Bowl over the Ohio State Buckeyes. Offensive struggles highlighted Florida’s 2011 season, as they ranked only 71 in the country in scoring offense and 105 in total offense. Changes have been made, as Brent Peace steps in for the departed Charlie Weiss to coordinate the 2012 version of the Gator offense. As bad as the offense was, the defense was lights out and kept the Gators in games. They finished the season ranked eighth in total defense. A bright spot within the defense were linebackers Jonathan Bostic and Jelani Jenkins.
Active was the word that best described Jenkins 2011 season. He finished up third on the team in tackles with 76, six of those being for loss. Jenkins also had three sacks, two quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a 75 yard interception return for a touchdown. Jenkins has had a stellar career and he’s only a junior. He has played in 27 games, starting in 23 of those. In those games, he has recorded 153 tackles with 90 of those being solo.
2012 will be a key year for the Florida Gators as they are in position to make a move and possibly win the SEC East. Finding a quarterback will be key for the offense but one constant for the coming season will be a stingy defense. Ten starters return from 2011 in what should be one of the top defenses in college football.