- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins.
No. 59 Jordan Jenkins
30 tackles, 4 sacks, 7 TFL
Role in 2012: Jenkins arrived at Georgia amid hype that he could be the next Jarvis Jones and flashed skills that might help him be the Bulldogs’ next star pass-rusher.
The good: The true freshman is second on the team in sacks (four) and quarterback hurries (21) and third in tackles for a loss (seven). He also had a hand in two key fumbles -- a recovery at Missouri’s 5-yard line after Jones forced a fourth-quarter fumble, and a forced fumble in the fourth quarter against Tennessee that helped preserve Georgia’s fourth-quarter lead. It wasn’t far into the season before Jenkins was clearly one of the Bulldogs’ top pass-rushers.
The bad: Sure, there were times when he rushed too far outside, creating space for quarterbacks and running backs to dart inside of him, but Jenkins’ greatest regret seems to be the sacks he allowed to slip out of his fingertips. He could easily have had a few more quarterback take-downs this season, which is a source of comedy when he wears a wide grin and recounts the missed opportunities with reporters.
Crystal ball: It’s tough not to get carried away when forecasting Jenkins’ future. The kid is the real deal. He has smarts and every physical tool his coaches could want in a budding star pass-rusher. Jenkins predicted that he will record double-digit sacks in 2013, and we’re not going to doubt him. He will be one of the centerpieces of the Bulldogs’ defensive scheme next season and in 2014 and we’ll see after that. The NFL is almost sure to come calling.