December 29, 2011

Will Jenkins return?

TAMPA, Fla. - Linebacker Jarvis Jones knows junior nose tackle John Jenkins better than most.

As roommates, why shouldn't he?

The two obviously talk often and are the best of friends, but some recent Internet scuttlebutt suggested that Jones might be looking for a new roommate next semester, should Jenkins decide to apply for the NFL draft following his decision to submit his name to the NFL Advisory Board.

Thursday, Jones said that's not happening.

"He's definitely coming back," Jones said during an interview session at the Tampa Bay Convention Center. "He's still got a lot of room to improve. I don't know if he has told anyone, and I don't know if I should be telling, but yeah, he is coming back."

Although Jones did not say whether or not the announcement Wednesday of Georgia's 2012 schedule played a role, it certainly could not have hurt.

With no Alabama, LSU or Arkansas on the docket for the second straight season, Jones sees no reason why the Bulldogs should not have a banner year.

"For me, the schedule is what it is, it doesn't matter who we have to play. We'll have to prepare for it and every game we play we'll have to play lights out," he said. "But if you look at it, for us as a team, the Bulldog Nation, it's a schedule that we should run the table with. There are some pretty good teams in there, but I definitely think we should come out on top. I feel like if we play like we are supposed to, we should just dominate."

Senior Brandon Boykin is just sorry he's won't be able to take part.

"I was mad. I was angry. I wish I could have had another year," Boykin said. "That schedule is made for you to go all the way. It's up to them; they can do it. They just have to believe."

The schedule hasn't been lost on junior tight end Orson Charles, either.

"We can potentially go all the way," said Charles, who added Thursday that he's still weighing his options. "With all the people that we've got coming back; we understand what's at stake. We lost in the SEC Championship and we're not happy about that. We've already said we're going to come back and win that game."

The question now, is which of the draft-eligible Bulldogs will be returning?

Redshirt junior Bacarri Rambo is widely known to be considering the jump and Thursday conceded he received a third-round grade from the NFL Advisory Board.

He didn't say whether or not that would be enough for him to make the jump.

"I know I could come back and make some more plays; there are still plays to be made," Rambo said. "But ultimately I have to do what's best for me."

Rambo hopes to have a decision well before the date of Jan. 15 for underclassmen to apply for the NFL Draft.

"I hope I can make some kind of decision before then because I don't want to have to make a decision based on some kind of deadline," Rambo said. "I don't want to get to the point where I'm frustrated and stressed out by having to make a decision by a certain date."

Junior defensive end Cornelius Washington and junior cornerback Branden Smith are two other Bulldogs who submitted their papers to the advisory board that could potentially leave.

Like Jones, draft-eligible nose tackle Kwame Geathers did not make such a request and is returning for another year.

Jones doesn't blame teammates for wanting to see what the NFLAB has to say.

"Everybody wants to see where they are at and what they need to improve on so they can get a higher grade for the following year," Jones said. "That grade is motivation for some people. They see what they need to improve on and before the season they can work to improve on those things."

Junior linebacker Christian Robinson said there have been plenty of talks between the players about what to do.

"We've had a lot of those conversations, first one guy to the other, talking to each other," Robinson said. "The guys who thinking about it, they all have their reasons for staying or going, but I know I'd love to have everybody come back. But at the end of the day they have to make decisions for themselves."

Boykin obviously knows what his younger teammates are going through.

Last year, it was Boykin who pondered his professional future before announcing his decision to return for his senior campaign.

It's one he never regretted, and believes Jones' decision to come back will have a positive impact on those currently considering their own moves.

"I think it puts a little bit of ease on other people just knowing that a highly-touted guy, an All-American, somebody who leads like he does and the fact he believes in this team and his ability that he can go back and do it again next year to win a national championship," Boykin said. "That's what Georgia is trying to do and now that we see the schedule … We still need to see what all the juniors will do, but I will be surprised if more leave than stay."

Jones thinks his choice will make an impact as well.

"Probably a lot," Jones said. "Me and the guys are pretty close. I think the guys will look into it and give it one more year."

NOTES: Boykin, center Ben Jones, punter Drew Butler and offensive tackle Cordy Glenn have been selected to take part in the Senior Bowl set for Jan. 28 in Mobile, Ala. … Boykin said that as soon as Monday's Outback Bowl against 12th-ranked Michigan State is complete, he will take three days off before joining Athletes Performance, a nationally renowned training facility which helps train football players for the NFL Combine and the NFL. Boykin is considering attending the facility in Tempe, Ariz., the same one used last year by former Bulldog A.J. Greene.