GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Will Muschamp sent a strong message to his team Tuesday by dismissing star cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
Jenkins was kicked off the team after his third arrest in less than two years, his second in the past four months.
Muschamp’s decision makes it clear he won’t tolerate the off-the-field issues that plagued the Gators during former coach Urban Meyer’s tenure. The Gators had 30 arrests involving 27 players during Meyer’s six seasons.
One of those included Jenkins. Police used a stun gun when arresting Jenkins in May 2009, and he was charged with affray and resisting arrest without violence. Jenkins signed a deferred prosecution agreement, receiving probation and community service.
But his last two arrests were on marijuana possession charges.
Jenkins was charged with marijuana possession Saturday after a Gainesville Police officer spotted the 22-year-old sitting in a parked car, smoking what the officer later found to be a marijuana cigar.
Jenkins was arrested on the same charge in January and later accepted a plea deal.
Muschamp said he met with Jenkins on Tuesday, and both felt it was in Jenkins’ best interest to move on “to the next stage of his career.”
“We appreciate Janoris’ contributions to the University of Florida during his time here and wish him the best of luck,” Muschamp said in a statement.
Jenkins, considered one of the top cornerbacks in the Southeastern Conference, decided in January to return to school for his senior season. He’s a three-year starter who played most of last season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He missed the Outback Bowl following surgery.
Despite the injury, Jenkins enjoyed his best season. He pretty much shut down the league’s best receivers. Georgia’s A.J. Green, Alabama’s Julio Jones and South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery averaged 38 yards receiving against Jenkins and had one touchdown between them.
Many believed Jenkins would leave early. But after Muschamp took over and hired several assistants with NFL backgrounds, Jenkins opted to stay in school, rehab his shoulder and possibly improve his draft stock this fall. Now, he likely will enter the NFL supplement draft.