Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins has a great attitude. He is in his great shape, has learned from past mistakes both on and off the field, and is ready for the challenges ahead of him in 2013.

Just don’t call him by his first name. Or last, or even “JJ.” This second-year player wants to be known, simply, as “Jackrabbit.”

“That’s the name I got from one of my old college coaches, because where I’m from, we’re known to chase rabbits,” Jenkins said. “That’s just year round, man. You go rabbit hunting, you know, catch rabbits for fun or for the sport of football.”

The Pahokee, Fla., native honed his skills chasing rabbits during his youth, catching them by hand. Thus, it’s understandable why his change of direction, burst and acceleration – not to mention his closing speed – all receive high marks from an evaluation standpoint as a professional athlete.

Jenkins fell in the 2012 draft due to well-documented off-the-field issues during his days at the University of Florida, and in his last year of college football at North Alabama. The man who prefers to be called “Jackrabbit,” though, had enough quality tape to evaluate, and St. Louis head coach Jeff Fisher took a chance on the very talented young man in 2012. While there were some natural rookie growing pains, Jenkins quickly became a pro and began paying dividends. He adjusted to the speed of the game and learned from his mistakes, mastering techniques needed to compete in the grown man’s league known as the NFL. His production was off the charts with four interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns. He also was a force on tackles in tight and open space, laying the groundwork for potentially greater heights.

“To become a Pro Bowler, man,” Jenkins said when asked about his goals for 2013. “You know, work on the little things that I need to work on and come out here and get better every day. Compete, and aim at the top.”

Despite his impressive numbers as a rookie, Jenkins received no Pro Bowl votes in 2012. Nor did he get any Defensive Rookie of the Year recognition. The cornerback, however, isn’t focused on piling up the accolades.

“I just wanted to come in and play, for real,” Jenkins said. “Individual awards were never on my mind. I was just trying to help out the team the best way I can.”

But Jenkins does have a plan for how to top his statistics from a season ago.

“You got to double that and get eight (interceptions), four for touchdowns, five,” he said. “I’m just ready for the season to start, man. It’s going to be fun.”

While Jenkins declined to any of his personal goals for the year ahead, he exudes confidence and focus. Should he duplicate last year’s numbers or even surpass them, the respect among his peers around the league will soon follow. “Jackrabbit” may then have his chance to hop all the way to Hawaii.