The Gator Nation Says Thanks, Janoris Jenkins

Josh Sawyers@GatorholicsContributor IMarch 24, 2009

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 27:  Janoris Jenkins #29 of the Florida Gators motions on the field during the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 27, 2008 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

39 tackles, three interceptions, and 12 pass deflections...these statistics don't begin to tell the story of what Janoris brought to the Gators in the 2008 season. After giving up a ton of yards to Michigan in the Capital One Bowl, it was clear the Gators' defense needed a couple of stoppers.

Charlie Strong loves to have an aggressive defense that he can use to bring pressure and shut-down corner backs that he can trust in man to man coverage. Joe Haden had shown that he could be a shut down corner, but who was going to be that other guy?

Wondy Pierre-Louis had the talent to be that guy, but his late start in football showed. After the first game of the season; however, a bold freshman was ready to be that guy, and he was letting his teammates know.

Safety Ahmad Black heard it as soon as he step on campus, "He told us he was going to be real good. We were like, "Whatever," and then he went out there and showed us."

Jenkins was able to lock up man for man in major SEC contests with freshmen A.J. Green and Julio Jones, which allowed the Gators to use an extra man to keep pressure on Matthew Stafford and John Parker Wilson the whole game.

In the second half of the conference championship game ,you could see the Julio Jones' frustration at the tight coverage Janoris maintained (Bama fans—he did give up a big play early in the game).

"Not too many freshmen come in and play on the Florida defense," Gators defensive leader Brandon Spikes stated. "But he's done all the right things, made a lot of big plays, never let guys catch the ball on him."

So I'd like to just take the time to say thanks Janoris Jenkins, you are a big reason the Gators were able to claim their third National Championship.