The 2009 season was one of major disappointment for the University of Illinois and WR A.J. Jenkins. The Illini finished that season with a 3-9 record and Jenkins caught just 10 passes on the season, and missed the last four games because of a knee injury.
When he went home to Jacksonville, Florida for the holidays, Jenkins was determined to transfer. “Obviously, I was very frustrated,” Jenkins said, remembering that time several years later. “I didn’t want to come back. I wanted to play closer to home.”
He began researching SEC and ACC schools. But he also kept the line of communications open with Illini head coach Ron Zook and when a new offensive coordinator was hired, Jenkins was convinced to return to Champagne-Urbana. “Usually, when players try to transfer (coaches) say, ‘I don’t want you back’,” Jenkins said. “But coach Zook kept calling me, kept on telling me they still wanted me this year. That was the main thing.”
It led to a big season in 2011 for Jenkins and a future in the NFL. Here’s the A.J. Jenkins story.