UGA star Jordan Jenkins a reminder of the ‘student’ that comes before ‘athlete’

Georgia's Jordan Jenkins is doing a good job of balancing his football and academic goals. (AJC photo)

Georgia’s Jordan Jenkins is doing a good job of balancing his football and academic goals. (AJC photo)

ATHENS — Jordan Jenkins is one of Georgia’s star football players and the way he plays against Clemson this Saturday will go a long way toward determining the outcome of that game. But he also stands as a tall reminder to us all that these young men first and foremost are students.

Jenkins, like the rest of the Bulldogs, participated in a very important practice Wednesday in preparation for this weekend’s nationally-televised Top 25 matchup at Sanford Stadium. But you know what else he did?

He took the entrance exam for admission into UGA’s prestigious Terry College of Business.

“I actually walked to the wrong building,” the 6-foot-3, 252-pound outside linebacker said with a sheepish grin. “The test was over by Legion Pool but I walked all the way to (the college on) North Campus. The test started in like 10 or 15 minutes, so I had to run all the way back down that hill and I was soaking wet by the time finally I got to the classroom.”

Jenkins, an economics major, is happy to report that the harried start didn’t seem to derail him. He said he got “470 out of 500” on the test, which should be good enough for him to gain admission if the board finds satisfactory the essay he still has to submit.

“It wasn’t that bad,” Jenkins said. “I think I’m in.”

Here’s what Jenkins can be sure of: He’ll be in Saturday’s game against No. 16 Clemson. “That’s a little fun and exciting, too,” he said with a laugh.

The junior from Hamilton is playing a big role in the defensive renovation overseen by coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Jenkins is the starter at the new “Jack” position, a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker designed not only to get after the quarterback but also to control the perimeter and to generally make disruptive plays. Think Alabama’s C.J. Mosley and Courtney Upshaw.

So that has been a lot for Jenkins to take in as well. In addition to doing the work it takes to earn admission into the Terry School, Jenkins has been busy trying to master a new set of concepts and demands from a new coordinator and new position coach.

Jenkins is taking it all in stride. On the eve of the Bulldogs’ season opener, he talked assuredly about the defensive product the Bulldogs are going to put on the field this season.

“I’m confident in this statement: We’ve prepared like we haven’t prepared before in the past,” Jenkins said. “We came to every workout, every practice, with the mindset that today might be the last day of some of us might play football. We’ve really been going hard and I can honestly say we’ve prepared for this game and that there’s going to be some new things going on Saturday.”

And regardless of what happens then, Jenkins plans to be in his economics class on Monday. We all should try to remember that.

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