"If I came about like that my first three years here, I could be a better player than I am now," he told CUTigers following Tuesday's skills and drills work.
"I'm approaching it differently, wanting to get better every day, doing it better than I did the day before."
Coupled with the fact that it's his final season as a Tiger, part of Jenkins' motivation is based on his career path.
"You have to get prepared now for what you're going to do in the future," he said. "It's kind of like a job. It's like doing (school) work in college for a job you're going to have when you graduate. That's what I'm preparing myself for."
Following the 2009 season, when he finished fifth on the team with 69 tackles in 2009 and tied for second with 11 tackles for loss, Jenkins sent papers off to the NFL advisory committee.
His projection returned with a third-round grade.
"I could have maybe squeaked into the second round, but that's not what I wanted," Jenkins said.
Hoping to up his stock, Jenkins punched in and went to work.
Checking in at 320 after the Music City Bowl, he cut out the late-night snacks and sugar-heavy drinks. Now, he's down to 307 and looking to drop another 5-10 pounds before the season starts.
"I think I'll be a better player at 295-300 pounds because I'm swift and I'll make plays, but still have a little bit of mass on me. I could stay at 305, though," he said.
Jenkins lost 20-25 pounds in the spring of his sophomore year, weighing as little as 298.
"I haven't been 295 since high school. I could have kept going, but I kind of let my diet go when I got around 298. I thought I was going to get pushed around a little bit," he said. "I think I'm losing it the right way now. Instead of just losing weight, I'm actually lifting weights and getting bigger."
The work is starting to pay off already in the Tuesday/Thursday skills and drills work.
"I'm quicker than what I was at the end of the season last year. But I'm not where I want to be," Jenkins said.
He hopes to hear his name called on day one of the NFL Draft next spring.
"It's good to have that mentality. I'm trying to work to be the best. I know I'm not there yet," Jenkins said. "But, with hard work and a good season, I know I can be there."
Members of the national media are taking notice, too. He's been named to the Bronko Nagurski and Outland Trophy watch lists.
"There are going to be guys there that are going to be better than me. That's why I have to get my technique down—I have to better than what I did in the past," he said.
Slimmed down Jenkins all business
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