published Friday, April 11th, 2014

Georgia's Jordan Jenkins hopeful for big junior season

Georgia outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins recovers a fumble during
last season’s rout of Appalachian State.
Georgia outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins recovers a fumble during last season’s rout of Appalachian State.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Two years ago, Jordan Jenkins burst on the scene as Georgia's future pass-rushing menace, collecting eight tackles for loss and five sacks as a freshman.

Leonard Floyd came along as a freshman last year and had even better numbers, compiling 9.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. Floyd joined Jenkins as a regular in the starting lineup last November, and now they are envisioning a full season together as a disruptive tandem.

"An offense can't slide to one of us, because they have to deal with the other," Jenkins said by phone Thursday afternoon. "As long as we do what the coaches ask of us, we feel like the sky is the limit."

Floyd described himself last week as a defensive end and an outside linebacker, and he said getting in a three-point stance on occasion was an adjustment. Jenkins, who had 12 tackles for loss and five sacks as a sophomore, said he's doing much of the same on the opposite side but feels more at home.

"It's not as different for me, because I was in a three-point stance a lot in high school," Jenkins said. "I didn't play linebacker until I got here, so I guess it's a little more natural for me. He's a great athlete, and he will handle it."

When Jenkins was a freshman, Jarvis Jones was the team's unquestioned sack king, setting a school record for a season with 14.5. It was much more bunched a year ago, when Floyd's 6.5 edged the six by defensive linemen Ray Drew and Garrison Smith and the five by Jenkins.

The race for this year's sack champion could be tight as well.

"It's going to be between me and Leonard and Ray," Jenkins said, "but the whole defensive line may get in on it this year."

Gushing Gruden

Former Oakland and Tampa Bay NFL coach Jon Gruden was not lacking for compliments regarding former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray during a segment of the "Gruden QB Camp" that ran Thursday on ESPN. Gruden called Murray the "steal of the draft" and added, "He's at the top of the food chain. There is a lot to like about him."

Gruden was impressed with Murray's video study and preparation, calling him "as good as we've had come through here in the last five years."

One of the more amusing back-and-forth parts to the program was when Gruden and Murray were viewing Georgia's win over Kentucky in which Murray tore his ACL. They showed the play in which Murray suffered the tear and how he stayed in the game to throw a touchdown pass moments later.

After Murray told Gruden that he wasn't about to come out of his final home game, Gruden said, "You're a sick human being."

Staying relevant

With Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall approaching their junior seasons and with the touted tandem of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel set to arrive in Athens in just a few weeks, A.J. Turman can get lost in Georgia's tailback shuffle. Turman, who redshirted last season, had four carries for 22 yards last Saturday in Georgia's second scrimmage.

"A.J. has really improved a lot," Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said in a post-practice news conference earlier this week. "He works as hard as anybody we have on the team. He's giving tremendous effort in all areas -- school, the weightroom -- he's a hard-working guy and is getting better as a result of it.

"He's definitely making a good, positive statement for himself."

An early offer

Redshirt freshman Brice Ramsey threw more passes than any other quarterback last Saturday. Ramsey was an early enrollee last year, and Richt offered the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder a scholarship before he ever started for Camden County High in Kingsland.

Ramsey committed to the Bulldogs in July 2011 after attending a Georgia camp.

"By coming to camp, we saw his raw ability to throw the football, his size and even the size of his hands," Richt said. "When you get them in camp and you're instructing guys, you get a feel for how they learn. All these things were positive enough to where we felt like we could offer him."

Odds and ends

Former safety Josh-Harvey Clemons is reportedly heading to Louisville, where he will be reunited with defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. ... Richt on a Georgia graphic design student sending artistic sketches to several 2015 prospects: "The recruits enjoy it, and it's within the rules. It's getting a lot of attention, so I guess it's a good thing."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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