Kirk Callahan has only been a paid assistant coach for three years now, all at UCF. But in three short years he elevated himself to the top four finish among defensive back coaches according to the Football Scoop award mentioned above. Before that, he was a defensive Graduate Assistant at Florida. His time in Gainesville spanned the last year of the Urban Meyer and into the first year of the Will Muschamp era.
Helping Chuck Heater with the defensive backs in 2010, one of Callahan’s star pupils was Janoris Jenkins. Gator fans know Jenkins well and so does the NFL. In his first three years in the league, Jenkins has seven interceptions and a league best five interceptions returned for touchdowns in the three years.
Jenkins says that Callahan has played an important part of his growth as a player through the years.
“He helped me out a lot,” Jenkins said the day Callahan was officially named to the Florida staff. “I know he knew what he was doing. He is a very good coach and understands the game… I am talking techniques, knows his defense, and he is a player’s coach.”
One of the duties Callahan was pressed with was staying on top of Jenkins and some of the other defensive backs when they were in school. He would make sure they were going to class, they would see him pop up at the places they ventured to on weekend nights, when they turned around Callahan was there.
One would think the adventurous types like Jenkins would grow a little tired of the attention Callahan paid them. That really wasn’t the case.
“He was someone that a player can go talk to if something comes up or you get homesick,” Jenkins said. “I got in some situations at Florida and when I was going through my situations I counted on him.
“He also stayed on top of me to make sure I was going to class and doing what I had to do.”
Jenkins says that Callahan is a guy that can really relate to players and what they go through when away from home and on a college campus.
“If he knows your problems, he understands and likes to help you with whatever situation,” Jenkins said. “As a coach, what I went through at Florida I called on him a lot. I did that because I felt like it was safe between me and him. I just think highly of him.”
And he keeps in touch with Florida’s new defensive back coach and wants to do more than that moving forward.
“We still talk now,” Janoris said. “I just texted him. I texted him three days ago and thought he might get the Florida job and he said he would let me know. I texted him today when he got the job and congratulated him and told him I was proud he got the opportunity.
“I told him if he got the job I would come back and work with the DB’s when I am off and workout with them.”
A player coming back to give back for what his coach did for him, can a coach ask for more? That the player is one at the top of the NFL food chain means that much more. And nothing on his resume can top that.