JOHNATHAN “John” JENKINS

Nose Guard/Defensive Tackle

University of Georgia Bulldogs

#6

6:03.7-359

Meriden, Connecticut

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

Francis T. Maloney High School

 

OVERVIEW

Many opposing Southeastern Conference offensive linemen must be smiling right now, knowing that they would no longer have to deal with a pair of behemoth nose guards during the upcoming season. For the last two seasons, the 359-pound Jenkins and the 355-pound Kwame Geathers manned the nose guard position for the Bulldogs, sending many running backs and quarterbacks scurrying to escape getting engulfed by perhaps the biggest set of interior defenders the college ranks has ever seen.

 

Those opponents are also sleeping better at night, knowing that as many as nine Georgia defensive players could be suiting up for National Football League teams next season, rather than standing in front of them for trench warfare. While rush end/linebacker Jarvis Jones received much of the media and scout attention for his stellar play on the field, every member of the Bulldogs’ coaching staff will point to Jenkins as the major reason for the team’s success in the won/lost column the last two seasons.

 

Those two stellar campaigns coincided with Jenkins arrival from Mississippi Gulf Coast College in 2011. Prior to Jenkins becoming a Bulldog, head coach Mark Richt had enjoyed nine consecutive winning seasons at the helm, but in 2010, Georgia’s dominance on the defensive side of the ball suddenly ended. There was no one to spark the defensive front wall, as opponents scored 38 times vs. a squad that managed just 79 tackles-for-loss that included 24 sacks and 129 pressures on the way to a 6-7 campaign.

 

Richt and his recruiters put the “full court press” on securing Jenkins’ services before they would have to possibly experience another season like 2010. In this day and age of “what have you done lately” by athletic directors, another losing campaign was certain to put the staff on the unemployment line. Enter Jenkins into the picture.

 

The coaches planned on having a fresh player on the field occupying multiple blockers and devised a system to alternate Jenkins and Geathers, along with playing them along-side each other in obvious short yardage and goal line situations. Jenkins proved to be more than the coaches expected in his first season with the defensive unit. Only sixteen ball carriers found the end zone vs. Georgia in 2011. While Jenkins often took on multiple blockers on virtually every play, it allowed others to make the tackles.

 

And that they did – registering 100 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, including 35 sacks while causing twenty interceptions on the 158 pressures the squad generated. The team would finish with a 10-4 record for the 2011 campaign. Better things were on the way for 2012. With a year under his belt as a Bulldog, Jenkins was even more dominant as a senior.

 

The team’s hopes of capturing the national championship ended in an exciting, nail-biting, last-minute 32-28 loss to eventual champ Alabama in the 2012 Southeastern Conference Championship Game. But, the defense, which struggled early due to suspensions, injuries and graduations, became a formidable unit again in the second half, finishing the schedule with a 12-2 record. It marked just the third time since Georgia began playing organized football in 1892 that a team won twelve games in a season.

 

Richt’s 2002 team holds the school record with a 13-1 mark in 2002. Vince Dooley’s 1980 squad went undefeated on the way to a 12-0 season. Jenkins continued to free up team-mates to make the plays. Georgia yielded just seventeen rushing touchdowns in 2012, as the defense posted 91 tackles-for-loss, posted 32 sacks and saw thirteen of their 154 QB pressures lead to interceptions.

 

Jenkins “Road to Athens” began at Francis T. Maloney High School, where the defensive end and offensive tackle was also utilized as a blocking fullback and as a ball carrier in short-yardage situations, scoring four times during his senior campaign. The team  struggled to a 2-9 record that year, but the 320-pound senior still managed to make the All-Central Connecticut South League squad.

 

Jenkins also competed as a forward for the Maloney High basketball team. As a junior, he helped the Spartans capture the South League title after compiling a 27-1 record to rank third on the state’s final poll. Much like the football team, the hoops squad did not fare well during the player’s final season, which ended with a 7-13 mark.

 

Because of academic issues, Jenkins had to put off dreams of playing at a major college for a few years. He ventured down “Interstate 95” and ended up in Mississippi, where he enrolled at junior college powerhouse Gulf Coast College. As a freshman, the nose guard appeared in six games, registering three sacks and four stops behind the line of scrimmage among his nine tackles. He also continued to play on the offensive side of the ball, carrying six times for 41 yards. He tallied 40 of those yards on five attempts that included a touchdown vs. Coahoma CC.

 

Jenkins returned to Gulf Coast CC for his sophomore year and soon, the recruiters began flocking to see him play. He was rated the 11th-best player in the junior college ranks and seventh-best defensive tackle in the country while receiving a four-star grade from Scout.com. Rivals.com also placed a four-star prospect mark on the nose guard, along with adding him to their JUCO Top 50 squad.

 

In 2010, Jenkins started all ten games, recording 41 tackles (32 solos) with a pair of sacks, four stops-for-loss and a pair of pass deflections. He posted six tackles in each of the Jones City, Southwest Mississippi and Northwestern Mississippi clashes, adding seven more vs. Coahoma. He also ran for a 4-yard touchdown in the Grand Rapids clash.

 

It first appeared that Rutgers University would secure the services of Jenkins for the 2011 season. Oklahoma State came inches from getting the nose guard to come to Stillwater, but in the end, it was his mother who wanted to be convinced that Oklahoma State would be the best place for her son.

 

Both mother and son narrowed his recruitment list down to five schools – Mississippi, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Georgia and Auburn. “When I’m at home a lot of times I don’t see my momma much because of work, she’s at work when I’m up,” Jenkins said. “She wants to know everything about the place that I go and she wants to be sure it is the best place for me. She really wants to go see the campus herself and we may have to purchase a ticket and do it.”

 

Jenkins ultimately decided to join Mark Richt and the University of Georgia Bulldogs. But, before he would even suit up for the team, he had one piece of unfinished business to deal with – meeting the player he would be sharing nose guard duties with and replacing as the starter, Kwame Geathers.

 

Geathers had read the newspapers, watching the sports television reports, heard words that Jenkins was the “Final Piece” to Georgia capturing a national championship. Others called the incoming defensive lineman the “Missing Link” to returning to glory after a 6-7 2010 season. Jenkins made a point to speak with Geathers at length following Georgia’s  2011 spring game.

 

Since both play nose tackle, Jenkins wanted to let Geathers know exactly where things stood. “I told him I know all about the hype I have,” the nose guard recalls. “I know people are already saying I’m supposed to come in here and start from the first day. I don’t care to the point that starting is not what’s on my mind. I’m about working, competing and winning. I don’t care which of us starts. I told him that.”

 

Jenkins said he understood expectations would be enormous from the first day he arrived. He’s fine with all the responsibility—it’s the reason he signed to play at Georgia. “I’m coming from a winning program, and I’m going to a winning program,” Jenkins said at the 2011 spring game. “Despite the record last season—you know what? That was last season. That’s not now. I’m ready to be a part of what changes last season back into a winning program.”

 

Geathers, meanwhile, had struggled the past few seasons with injuries and technique, leaving some to project Jenkins as the starter before his first official workout as a Georgia player. In 2010, Geathers appeared in eight games, making seven tackles, creating doubt over whether he’d be able to handle the rigorous task of anchoring the defensive line on a serious basis. “The kid is just a redshirt sophomore,” reminds defensive line coach Rodney Garner.

 

Jenkins said the chat went well. “Kwame and I are both really hungry,” he said. “I’ve been reading up on Kwame. I’ve heard about how he’s developing. He’s got that work ethic; so do I. He’s trying to get better; so am I. We’re going to push each other. He may be a great player or I may be, but the nose tackle position is going to be relentless either way.”

 

Jenkins shared nose guard duties with Geathers in 2011, starting seven of the fourteen games he played in. He was named the team’s Newcomer of the Year after posting 28 tackles that included three sacks and six tackles-for-loss. He also excelled at riding the centers and offensive guards back into the pocket, as his ten quarterback pressures led all interior defensive linemen in the Southeastern Conference that year.

 

Jenkins performance as a junior said all the right things to the Georgia coaching staff. He followed through with his promise that he had intended on doing all the right things when he arrived in Athens. In 2012, the nation and the National Football League scouts all took notice. Limited in August camp by a hamstring pull, the senior still managed to start all fourteen games for the Bulldogs.

 

Jenkins would earn All-American and All-Southeastern Conference recognition for his performance. He started the team’s first thirteen games, registering 50 tackles (22 solos) that included a sack, two stops behind the line of scrimmage and fourteen pressures.

 

What looked like a great way to end his career playing vs. Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl failed to materialize. During December practices leading up to the bowl, head coach Mark Richt announced that due to academics, Jenkins was ineligible to play, bringing his college career to an end.

 

Prior to accepting an invitation to play in the 2013 Senior Bowl, the game’s director, Phil Savage stated, “Overall, he [Jenkins] will be of high interest to the 3-4 teams, but the 4-3 clubs cannot discount him as a defensive tackle because he does have enough athletic ability and body quickness to potentially be a disruptive force.”

 

Savage also noted back in September, 2012,  “If he will continue to improve, he certainly has a chance to be drafted higher than Cody (who went #57 to the Ravens), because he has a better looking body and more pass rush potential in the future.”

 

Told that Jenkins rated fifth overall on most teams’ draft boards, Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham didn’t sound surprised. “I can see that,” said Grantham, a former defensive coordinator and line coach in the NFL. “I evaluated defensive linemen in pro football for eleven years, and I know what first-round picks look like, and I know what they can be.”

 

“I think for him to get to where he wants to be and for that to be true, he’s obviously going to continue to have to work hard this year. But I can tell you that he’s a really good player in my mind, and he can achieve a lot of goals he set out for himself this year.”

 

When you mention the name “Gulf Coast” at the Senior Bowl, people know exactly what college you’re talking about. For the fourth straight year, a former Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College standout player suited up at the annual event.

 

Jenkins is the latest product, as he followed running back Vick Ballard (Miss. State), Chris White (Miss. State), and nose guard Terrence Cody (Alabama) as MGCCC alums that got a chance to perform in front of NFL coaches and scouts. Cody, White, and Ballard are all now playing on Sundays, and Jenkins is preparing to be the next one suiting up for an NFL team.

 

“From day one, when I got to Gulf Coast I was on a mission to try and get better and not get lost in the shuffle,” said Jenkins, who came to Gulf Coast in 2009, was a 2010 NJCAA All-American, and helped lead the Bulldogs to the 2010 MACJC Title. “I had a great coaching staff and we did a tremendous amount of preparation for games. I’m blessed to be part of that organization.”

 

In analyzing Jenkins as a pro prospect, one has to look at his imposing frame. He has a thick chest, big back, broad shoulders and very big arms and hands. He also has a good bubble, wide hips, thick thighs and calves. Despite his thick frame, he could actually carry another ten-to-fifteen pounds with no loss in quickness.

 

Jenkins is a tall, physical and powerful athlete with very good flexibility for a player of his size. He has good change of direction agility and moves well in the open. He is very explosive coming off the snap and is a good pursuit player with nimble feet working down the line. He uses his frame well to get leverage and defeat blocks. The thing you see on film is his ability to redirect and chase the ball.

 

With his big, strong hands, body mass and aggression, Jenkins excels at shutting down the interior running game. He can split double teams consistently with leverage. He is quick to recover and create a pile. He is almost always double teamed, but once he sets his anchor, he is impossible to move out.

 

His only problems occur when he gets too high in his stance, as he might have a strong hand punch, but fails to use them effectively to defeat the low blocks and will then get taken off his feet. If he keeps his pad level down (hard for a player his size, but he has the ability to do it), he sets and anchors with strength, doing a great job of holding position at the point of attack.

 

Jenkins is used more to neutralize the inside running game rather than give chase. He plays with good leverage and flexibility, knowing how to use his size and long arms to engulf the ball carrier. He will collide and wrap with good force and can be a bruising striker in tight quarters if he chooses to use his hands more often. He can level the ball carrier or push the pocket with his quick burst and does a very nice job of breaking down when working in space.

 

It’s like having two defensive linemen wrapped into one with Jenkins in the middle of the line. He plays with very good leverage and when he keeps his pad level down, Jenkins can hold the point. He has the tools that are ideally suited for either the one- or two-gap, but also shows nimble feet to be utilized some at defensive end.

 

Jenkins has learned how to use his hands in order to protect his legs. What really stands out is his ability to stack and control the line of scrimmage. He gets such a strong push off the snap, offensive linemen are immediately neutralized and the inside rush lanes get clogged.

 

CAREER NOTES

Jenkins started 20-of-27 games at the University of Georgia, where he recorded 78 tackles (36 solos), four sacks for minus 26 yards, eight stops for losses of 32 yards and 24 quarterback pressures…Intercepted one pass, deflected another, recovered a pair of fumbles and caused another.

 

2012 SEASON

An All-American Dream Team selection by The NFL Draft Report, Jenkins received All-Southeastern Conference second-team honors from Phil Steele…Started the team’s first thirteen games at nose guard, but was academically ineligible to compete vs. Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl, ending his campaign with 50 tackles (22 solos), a 9-yard sack, two stops for minus 11 yards and fourteen quarterback pressures…Recovered a fumble and deflected one pass…Named the team’s Defensive Co-MVP and was the recipient of Jeff and Stacey Rothenberger Family Football Scholarship…Opened the season with six tackles vs. Buffalo and made five hits (4 solos) that included one behind the line of scrimmage before leaving the Missouri game after aggravating a hamstring/leg injury that limited him during August camp…Registered eight tackles (5 solos) and blocked a field goal vs. South Carolina…Registered a Bulldog career-high eleven tackles (4 solos) vs. Georgia Tech, followed by six tackles that included a 9-yard sack while adding a pressure vs. Alabama in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game.

 

2011 SEASON

The recipient of the team’s Newcomer of the Year Award, Jenkins appeared in all fourteen games during his first season at Georgia…Recorded 28 tackles (14 solos) that included three sacks for minus 17 yards, six stops for losses of 21 yards and ten quarterback pressures…Caused and recovered a fumble…His first sack for Georgia was good for an 8-yard loss, adding two stops behind the line of scrimmage among his three solo hits vs. Mississippi State…Caused a fumble and posted five tackles in the New Mexico State clash…Added a 3-yard sack and a pressure, along with three hits vs. Auburn…Had six tackles (4 solos) with a 6-yard sack and two stops-for-loss at Georgia Tech…Picked off a pass vs. Michigan State in the Outback Bowl.

 

JUNIOR COLLEGE

Jenkins lettered twice (2009-10) for head coach Steve Campbell at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College…As a freshman, the nose guard appeared in six games, registering three sacks and four stops behind the line of scrimmage among his nine tackles…Also continued to play on the offensive side of the ball, carrying six times for 41 yards…He tallied 40 of those yards on five attempts that included a touchdown vs. Coahoma CC…

Jenkins was rated the 11th-best player in the junior college ranks and seventh-best defensive tackle in the country while receiving a four-star grade from Scout.com… Rivals.com also placed a four-star prospect mark on the nose guard, along with adding him to their JUCO Top 50 squad…In 2010, Jenkins started all ten games, recording 41 tackles (32 solos) with a pair of sacks, four stops-for-loss and a pair of pass deflections… Posted six tackles in each of the Jones City, Southwest Mississippi and Northwestern Mississippi clashes, adding seven more vs. Coahoma…Also ran for a 4-yard touchdown in the Grand Rapids clash.

 

INJURY REPORT

2012 Season…Jenkins was limited at the start of August camp due to a hamstring pull…

Left the Missouri contest (9/08) when he re-injured the hamstring and suffered a leg contusion.

 

AGILITY TESTS

5.21 in the 40-yard dash…1.84 10-yard dash…2.99 20-yard dash…4.78 20-yard shuttle…

7.75 three-cone drill…29 ½-inch vertical jump…8’4” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times…33 1/8-inch arm length…9 ½-inch hands…80 1/8-inch wingspan.

 

HIGH SCHOOL

Jenkins attended Francis T. Maloney (Meriden, Ct.) High School, playing football for head coach Bob Zito…The defensive end and offensive tackle was also utilized as a blocking fullback and as a ball carrier in short-yardage situations, scoring four times during his senior campaign…The team struggled to a 2-9 record in 2008, but the 320-pound senior still managed to make the All-Central Connecticut South League squad…Also competed as a forward for the Maloney High basketball team…As a junior, he helped the Spartans capture the South League title after compiling a 27-1 record to rank third on the state’s final poll…Much like the football team, the hoops squad did not fare well during the player’s final season, which ended with a 7-13 mark.

 

PERSONAL

Child & Family Development major…Born 7/11/89…Resides in Meriden, Connecticut.

 

PLAYER STATISTICS

DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
STATS GP GS TK SO AS FR FC INT TFL PBU SACK PRES
2011 14 07  28  14  14  01  01  1-2  6.0-21   00  3.0-17    10
2012 13 13  50  22  28  01  00  0-0  2.0-11   01  1.0-09    14
TOTAL 27 20  78  36  42  02  01  1-2  8.0-32   01  4.0-26    24

 

JENKINS GAME BY GAME LOG

2012 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Int. Ret.

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

BK

No

Yds

TD

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Buffalo 09/01/12 Buffalo 45-23

Yes

0

0

0

5

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Missouri 09/08/12 at Missouri 41-20

Yes

0

0

0

1

4

0

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Fla. Atlantic 09/15/12 Fla. Atlantic 56-20

Yes

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Vanderbilt 09/22/12 Vanderbilt 48-3

Yes

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tennessee 09/29/12 Tennessee 51-44

Yes

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

South Carolina 10/06/12 at South Carolina 7-35

Yes

0

0

0

3

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Kentucky 10/20/12 at Kentucky 29-24

Yes

0

0

0

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Florida 10/27/12 Florida 17-9

Yes

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

Ole Miss 11/03/12 Ole Miss 37-10

Yes

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Auburn 11/10/12 at Auburn 38-0

Yes

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

Ga. Southern 11/17/12 Ga. Southern 45-14

Yes

0

0

0

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Georgia Tech 11/24/12 Georgia Tech 42-10

Yes

0

0

0

7

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Alabama 12/01/12 Alabama 28-32

Yes

0

0

0

3

3

0

1

9

0

1

9

0

0

1

0

Nebraska 01/01/13 Nebraska 45-31

No

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

0

0

0

28

22

0

2

11

0

1

9

1

0

4

1

 

 

 

2011 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Int. Ret.

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

BK

No

Yds

TD

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Boise St. 09/03/11 Boise St. 21-35

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

South Carolina 09/10/11 South Carolina 42-45

Yes

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Coastal Caro. 09/17/11 Coastal Caro. 59-0

Yes

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Ole Miss 09/24/11 at Ole Miss 27-13

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Mississippi St. 10/01/11 Mississippi St. 24-10

Yes

0

0

0

0

3

0

2

10

0

1

8

0

0

0

0

Tennessee 10/08/11 at Tennessee 20-12

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Vanderbilt 10/15/11 at Vanderbilt 33-28

Yes

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Florida 10/29/11 Florida 24-20

Yes

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

New Mexico St. 11/05/11 New Mexico St. 63-16

Yes

0

0

0

2

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Auburn 11/12/11 Auburn 45-7

Yes

0

0

0

2

1

0

1

3

0

1

3

0

0

1

0

Kentucky 11/19/11 Kentucky 19-10

Yes

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Georgia Tech 11/26/11 at Georgia Tech 31-17

Yes

0

0

0

2

4

0

2

7

0

1

6

0

0

0

0

LSU 12/03/11 at LSU 10-42

Yes

0

0

0

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Michigan St. 01/02/12 Michigan St. 30-33

Yes

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

1

2

0

14

14

0

6

21

0

3

17

0

1

3

0

 

Data provided by Dave-Te Thomas, Publisher of the NFL Draft Reports for TonySoftli.com & Tony Softli Draft Board; Distributed by Scouting Services, Inc. © Copyright 2012/13 – All Rights Reserved; Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Scouting Services Inc. is strictly prohibited.