Jenkins plans on changing his status

Defensive Lineman Brandon Jenkins came to Ole Miss in 2003 as one of the most anticipated signees on the DL in years. To this point, now entering his fourth year, big Jenkins has not made the impact predicted of him. He'd like to change that beginning tomorrow when 2006 spring practice begins. Read about it inside.

Brandon Jenkins, the 6-5, 280-pound junior defensive lineman from Memphis East, certainly looks the part of a big-time Southeastern Conference football player.

But somehwere between looking the part and actually being a star, Jenkins has spent three years somewhat lost in the shuffle.

"I'm not disappointed in the effort I have given," he said, "but I did think I would have accomplished more by now.

"I don't have any excuses. I just haven't done as well as the guys in front of me, for whatever reason."

Getting off the bus, so to speak, Jenkins is - and has been - a manchild. Huge arms, powerfully built, but - besides three starts and some flashes of his potential in his redshirt freshman year in 2004 - Brandon has not been the disrupting force he was expected to be.

"It seemed like the guys in front of me, whether I was playing tackle or end, were just doing better, making more plays," he said. "I got an opening in 2004 when Jayme (Mitchell) went down and did some good things, but I didn't keep the momentum going."

In 2005, Brandon stayed on the cusp of breaking through, but the front four of Mitchell, DE Corvelli Haynes and DTs Michael Bozeman and McKinley Boykin kept him on the sidelines for most of the time.

"I thought I made a lot of improvements at DT and DE last year, but not enough to really break through," he assessed.

Now, with the slate clean and a chance to start out as a number one guy in spring, Jenkins wants to make the most of his situation.

"I think we were all in a spin last year with the newness of the system and getting adjusted to the new coaches," he continued. "This year, there seems to be more positive energy around here. You can feel the difference. We know what to expect more and have gotten more focused. There are no surprises this year.

"That has really helped my focus, individually. Everyone's work ethic and attitude is better this year. It wasn't bad last year, things were just new and different and some of us didn't respond well. I can be included in that number."

Rebel Coach Ed Orgeron made mention of Brandon's "new" focus in the offseason, stating Jenkins has had "an outstanding offseason - he's a different player now."

Jenkins wants to back that compliment up in spring training.

"I know I am faster and stronger than I've been and I'm very confident that I will do a lot better this year than I have in the past," Jenkins declared. "I'm a veteran now. I've been around here a long time. It's time for me to start making my mark."

Jenkins is listed on the pre-spring depth chart as a defensive tackle in front of JUCO transfer Hayward Howard, but he can play defensive end too.

"I don't care where the coaches put me on the defensive line. I have played all the positions on the front four and have no problem with any of them," he noted. "The coaches felt it would be best to move (sophomore) Peria (Jerry) from DT to DE and move me inside. Fine by me. I just want a chance to show I have improved and I am ready to go to war."

Brandon has a lot of faith in the Rebs' front seven for 2006.

"We have to develop some depth at some positions, but with Peria, Jeremy Garrett, P-Willie, Garry Pack, Viciente DeLoach, Chris Bowers and all the guys, we have the ability. We just have to piece it together and make it into a great unit," he ended. "We'll see how it comes out - individually and collectively, but I feel real good about the direction we are headed because of the positive energy that I feel."

The expectations for Brandon Jenkins may have been a little high when he got to Ole Miss, but now that he's got three years under his belt, it may be time for him to emerge as the impact player all Rebel fans are hoping for.

The ball is in his court.

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