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January 5, 2012
As recently as two days ago, Felicia Jenkins was convinced that her boy would opt to skip his senior year at Florida State and head to the NFL.
But don't blame Brandon Jenkins - he's made his name using some misdirection every now and then.
Set to head for NFL waters 48 hours ago, Jenkins changed his mind late Wednesday night and will return to Tallahassee for the 2012 season. Jenkins conferred with his family and head coach Jimbo Fisher while mulling over reports and evaluations from the NFL's draft advisory board and other pro scouts.
"He took all of that information and we all thought he was still going to go," Felicia Jenkins said. "But he decided to stay."
Jenkins, a 6-3, 260-pound end who received a second round grade from the NFL's draft advisory committee, amassed 120 tackles, 33.5 tackles for loss and 21 sacks in his three seasons at FSU. The Tallahassee native burst on the season as a sophomore in 2010 when he ranked third nationally in sacks (13.5) on the way to All-American honors.
Felicia Jenkins said that some pro scouts said that Brandon could go as high as the late first round or early second round this April based on team needs, but Jenkins was also told he'd slide up into solid first round status in the 2013 draft if he continued to progress next season.
NFLDraftscout.com ranks Jenkins as the No. 2 outside linebacker prospect in the country for the 2013 class.
While Jenkins' overall numbers dipped some in 2011 (41 tackes, 12 TFL, 8 sacks), he showed his versatility as a defender, standing up and away from the line of scrimmage like a linebacker throughout the year.
While Felicia said that Brandon's decision to stay comprised of multiple factors, there are two that stand out: First, Jenkins will earn his degree in Criminology this summer. Second, Florida State will be returning 19 of 22 starters on a unit that finished fourth nationally in scoring defense, among the top 10 nationally in almost every major category and and one that is expected among the nation's best again in 2012.
After the last minute switch and a final decision to stick around, Felicia said she has already seen her boy's mentality change.
"He's excited, but he's a different Brandon now," she said. "He calls it grind mode. He has a goal and a lot of pressure on him as well. He's got some things to do. You're going to see a different Brandon (in 2012)."