Malcolm Jenkins is a cornerback out of Bethany College who is now trying to accomplish his dream of playing in the NFL. Mr. Jenkins is a very likable guy and I think you’ll get the same vibe from reading his answers to my questions.
You can follow Malcolm Jenkins on Twitter @daHustla18
You were born in Orange New Jersey and played your high school ball at Maple Shade where you were first-team all-conference and all-southern Jersey. How did you like your high school football experience as a whole?
- I actually started my high school career at Don Bosco and spent my freshman and sophomore years there, and that was a really good experience. We were the top team in the country both of those years. I got to learn a lot about and play at many different positions. Then I ended up at Maple Shade which is a much smaller school, and that was great, they had me playing in different spots on both offense and defense. They saw me as a really nice athlete. Through both schools using me in a variety of ways, it actually helped me to become a better defender because I was able to learn the ins and outs of both offense and defense. So, overall, my high school experience prepared me really well for my college career.
After your time at Maple Shade, you then played at Jamestown College. Can you take us through the process of how you decided to go there?
- Out of high school, I had a few Division I offers and actually went to a Rutgers camp. But I didn’t know exactly where I wanted to go. What I did know was that I wanted to go somewhere where I could start right away, or at least realistically fight for a starting position. Jamestown for that reason seemed like a great fit for me. Another reason Jamestown was a nice fit was because it was far away from home, I really wanted to get out of New Jersey and see more of the country. Along with that I really liked Coach Frank, and I also liked the challenge of trying to turn around a program that was struggling. That made it all the more fun winning the conference my freshman year.
On your bio at Jamestown, it said you were an honor roll student. Is academics something you take very seriously, and something you enjoy?
- Yes, you know you’re nothing without education. It helps you on the football field, and in life in general. So, I figured I would put school first because anything can happen with football, one injury and that could be it.
You also ran a track and field during high school and at Jamestown. What events were you the best at and do you feel like that has made you a better football player?
- At Jamestown, I ran the 60-, 100-, and 200-yard dashes. I think it helped me to become a better football player, but at the same time football and track are mostly separate. Even in running forms, they are so different. Especially at the DB position, you gotta stay low to the ground, while when you’re running track your running upright. So, I mean it helped with my turnover speed and acceleration, but they are mostly too different to really help you out.
You played both ways in high school, when did you transition to a full-time defensive back?
- When I went to Jamestown, at first I was playing a little both ways but the coach told me if I really want to take it to the next level I should focus on one position (not including returning which I was also doing). I felt like defensive back was a better fit for my height and my size, rather than if I wanted to be a running back I would have had to gain a lot of weight, so I stayed at DB.
On the topic of defensive back, where do you feel like you fit best in the defensive backfield?
- Cornerback. I can play safety, but I like playing cornerback much more. I like that it’s hands-on, one-on-one, me versus the person in front of me. I just gotta beat you. Safety you’re moving all over the place, but I love how being a corner is pretty much isolation, I love the pressure of it.
What do you feel is your greatest strength as a player?
- I think my greatest strength comes in how aggressive I am, how coachable I am, and in my very strong work ethic. I won’t let anybody out-work me, so I push myself every day and in every practice. If I don’t get something, I’ll do it over and over again until I get it down.
Conversely, what is one aspect of your game that you’re trying to work on?
- Consistency, making sure my highs and my lows are evening out, you can’t get down, every play has gotta be a new play, the old play is done.
From here, what are you hoping to make of your football career?
- The NFL, that’s the biggest goal for me right now, I just want to get my foot in the door. It would be really fun to play with some of my friends that I already have up there at the next level.
Your favorite athlete is listed as Adrian Peterson. What about him, his game, do you like so much?
- His aggressiveness, and how he will refuse to let anybody stop him from what he wants. He plays his game his way, and he doesn’t listen to any of the doubters. He’s constantly proving people wrong while not having that be his focus. At the end of the day, you gotta focus on proving yourself right, rather than proving others wrong. Don’t do it for the entertainment of other people, I’m trying to prove to myself that I can do it. When he tore his ACL, I loved watching him come back so quickly and have one of the best seasons ever.
You’ve had a pretty vast career thus far, what is one memory from your football career that you’ll never forget?
- I have a few that are extra memorable. We were playing Presentation College and the game went into overtime. We were going back and forth, and it was 4th down and 10, they tried to throw a comeback to my side and I broke it up to win the game. The whole crowd was going crazy, and our sideline was going nuts. Another one would be when we won the “Paint Bucket” against our rival the Valley City Vikings. I made two plays in a row that forced them into a field goal attempt which they missed. Lastly, we were playing Friends University and they were up big when I got my first interception, I returned it 34 yards to the house and that completely changed the momentum of the game and we ended up coming back. Those were all really exciting experiences.
Speaking of vast experiences, what’s one life lesson you have learned from your time at Bethany that you will always carry with you?
- I have learned to always stay humble because no matter how far you get, anything can change at any second. You don’t want to ever get too comfortable in where you are. And I also learned to focus on what I need to focus on, the truly important things.
What do you want people to know about Malcolm Jenkins / is there anything else you want to say?
- My work ethic is top notch, it really is what drives me the most. I won’t let anyone outwork me, and when I am focused on something I am dead set on it until I accomplish that goal. I really want to make it so I can give back to areas that are poor, especially inner city areas. I definitely want to make it for myself, but I want to give back with what I get from football.
I will certainly be following his career and he rooting for him all the way. If he can find his way onto a roster I’ll be sure to keep you in touch, and maybe produce a follow-up interview!
Malcolm Jenkins’ Highlights.
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