Jenkins Wants to Be The Guy

ATHENS - Linebacker Jordan Jenkins has big shoes to fill with the departure of Jarvis Jones, but the sophomore says he's ready to be 'that guy.'

The process will be tough for Jenkins. After all, you don't become a team leader overnight.

"I feel like I'm stepping into that role a little bit more, or at least starting to adjust to it," Jenkins said. "There are still a lot of things I can get better at."

Jenkins said he knows what he needs to do to get to his highest level. Some of those areas include strength and conditioning.

"I need to get better in my speed of pursuit and playing better when I'm tired," Jenkins said. "I feel like I'm starting to get adjusted, but I've still got a lot to work on before filling those [Jarvis'] shoes."

On Sunday, Todd Grantham spoke about Jenkins and the new role he's taking on this season. While Grantham knows asking him to replace Jones is asking a lot, he said he just wants Jenkins to focus on putting pressure on the quarterback for now.

"I feel like I'm getting that done pretty well," Jenkins said. "I'm still always focusing on that one thing I can do better, though. I want it done to perfection by the time we play."

Jones was a player renowned for rushing the quarterback and finishing a majority of his rushes with a sack last season. Jenkins didn't get many of those opportunities, but says he's ready to be 'that guy' now if he needs to be.

"I hope I am that guy," Jenkins said. "But if I don't get the sack and somebody gets the interception, I'm alright with that because that's better for the team."

Jenkins has his eye on the ultimate prize.

"Getting sacks is fun, but doing what's better for the team is even better," Jenkins said.

As far as an opportunity to start and be a leader for this Georgia defense, Jenkins said he honestly never saw this in his future.

"This is definitely beyond my expectations," Jenkins said. "I didn't think I'd be in this position I'm in; taking over Jarvis' position and trying to do great things. Last year I was just hoping I got to play a little bit. This is like living the dream pretty much."

While no one adapts skill by simply watching someone play, Jenkins has been able to learn from watching Jones play. According to Jenkins, Jones has a skill that coaches love but can't teach.

"I have to keep working to get better," Jenkins said. "Jarvis never stopped working. He had that never-quit attitude and that's something I'm trying to adopt into my career as well."

There will be pressure for Jenkins this season if he wants to follow Jones, but the pressure won't all be on him. Jenkins is proud to say the younger guys are backing him up well. One major name he mentioned, to no surprise, was Leonard Floyd.

"Mr. Floyd is definitely putting a lot of pressure on the quarterback," Jenkins said. "To be that tall, he's pretty quick and smooth for his size. I think he's going to be pretty good this year."

The younger guys' skills are yet another reason why Jenkins can't get too comfortable with where he is on the depth chart.

"I'm not getting complacent this year because guys like Leonard are great pass rushers," Jenkins said. "If I mess around he might even take my spot."

There are ways Jenkins deals with all this pressure, though.

Jenkins calls his father, Ronald, his biggest fan and biggest critic, but said he always listens to what he has to say about the game of football. Jenkins' father visited practice on Monday and continues to give the sophomore useful advice, as well as a comforting meal.

"My dad came up and watched the first day of pads yesterday," Jenkins said. "Then he took me to get some Applebee's, which was great because I haven't had real food in a while."

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