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Jenkins leaves college early for NFL

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Published on: Thursday, January 10, 2013

By Brandy L. Simms

Former Good Counsel two-way standout Jelani Jenkins has opted to forego his final year of eligibility at the University of Florida to pursue a career in the National Football League.

The Florida junior linebacker announced on Monday that he would be leaving Gainesville to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.

“Jelani informed me that he wishes to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL,” Florida head coach Will Muschamp said in a statement. “We wish him the best of luck and encourage him to return to Florida and complete his degree.”

Jenkins appeared in 36 games during his college career and made 31 starts. He amassed 182 tackles including 109 unassisted. He also registered 16.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks and three interceptions.

He played in nine games during an injury-plagued senior campaign but still managed to finish ninth on the team in tackles with 29 including 19 solo stops. Jenkins also registered two sacks, two quarterback hurries and recorded an interception in the second quarter of a victory against Florida State. Jenkins, a three-year starter, also returned a blocked punt 36 yards for a touchdown to beat Louisiana-Lafayette.

Jenkins had surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot and was sidelined for the Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville.

During his tenure at Good Counsel, Jenkins was a three-year starter who was named All-Sentinel Defensive Player of the Year during his senior campaign at the Olney private school. Jenkins led Good Counsel to an unbeaten regular season in 2008 while playing fullback and linebacker. He rushed for over 600 yards and scored 22 touchdowns and registered 101 tackles.

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