Jordan Jenkins explores NFL options, chooses to return to UGA

Although head coach Mark Richt announced last weekend that outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins would return for his senior season, the outside linebacker felt compelled to make it a bit more official by telling Bulldog Nation himself.

“Been a dawg for three years, why not come back for one more #DawgsOnTop,” Jenkins tweeted late Friday morning.

Was Jenkins on the fence about the option to declare for the NFL draft? Not as much as fans might have thought. Following Georgia’s 35-32 win again Tennessee in which Jenkins had five tackles (two for loss) and a sack, the junior spent some time thinking about his future.

“After the Tennessee game I realized that you can get better every day at practice if you keep practicing hard like that,” Jenkins said. “It just really opened my eyes [to] what I could do with another year with this coaching staff and the offseason with them.”

His decision has been made since. Jenkins did explore the NFL option and is awaiting his draft grade. But the decision to do so was more about preparing for next year than it was about assessing whether or not now is the right time.

Jenkins’ parents Ronald and Phyleshia wanted their son to understand the ins and outs of the amateur-to-professional transition. He said his parents intentions were to get him familiar enough with the process so that it’s not as intimidating when the time does come to declare for the draft.

“There were some agents that called and I just deferred them to my parents because I didn’t want to have to deal with all of that,” Jenkins said. “The really were just trying to inform me that you can’t let agents, all this stuff overwhelm you.”

Jenkins isn’t the only draft-eligible outside linebacker forgoing the option to leave early. Leonard Floyd, a projected first-round pick, decided he’d stick around for one more year as well. Floyd had surgery on his shoulder on Tuesday and will not play in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 30.

Jenkins was “slightly shocked” by the decision. He and Floyd discussed their options mid-season, and Jenkins said the two had agreed on staying at the time. But as the season went on, Jenkins grew increasingly unsure about his teammate’s plans.

That guessing game ended when Floyd affirmed Richt’s announcement with a tweet of his own last Saturday.

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