Janoris Jenkins trying to repair image at North Alabama

By The Associated Press

FLORENCE, Ala. — Janoris Jenkins wasn’t ready to aim for a head start on a professional career even after being faced with the choice for a second time.

The former Florida cornerback, who had opted to remain in college instead of skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft, made the same decision in June after coach Will Muschamp kicked him off the team following Jenkins’ second drug arrest in four months and third of his college career.

Jenkins said the supplemental draft “wasn’t really tempting to me” and that those around him were advising him to find another school.

“It’s not all about the money,” he told The TimesDaily of Florence in a story Monday. “I went three years without money at the University of Florida, so why can’t I do it another year? I’m not in a rush to get the money. I just wanted to come back and rebuild my image.”

Jenkins was charged with marijuana possession in April, his second such arrest since January. He was also charged in May 2009 with affray and resisting arrest without violence, receiving probation and community service.

Now, the player once considered one of the Southeastern Conference’s top cornerbacks is set to play his senior season for North Alabama and former Auburn coach Terry Bowden.

“There is no doubt that I can stay out of trouble,” Jenkins said. “I came here to take care of business and that’s what I’m going to do. ”

He joins former Florida teammate Bryan Thomas, who transferred to UNA in 2010 and urged him to come to Florence.

Jenkins spent the past two weeks on campus working out with his new teammates and getting acclimated to the Division II school. He has already made a positive impression on his new coach.

“Janoris was projected as a first-round draft pick, so he is obviously a very talented guy,” Bowden said. “He is also a very likable guy and everyone has enjoyed having him here. He has fit in well and we’re excited to have him.”

Jenkins said he doesn’t hold a grudge against Muschamp.

“Everybody makes mistakes,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s how you rebuild off that mistake. I made a mistake and got kicked out at Florida, but that’s all behind me.

“There is no issue between me and coach Muschamp. I texted him like two weeks ago and asked how he was doing and he texted me back. He did what he had to do and I’m not mad at him. I respect him as a man and as a coach.”