ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 29: Tight end Delanie Walker #46 of the San Francisco 49ers runs the ball past Mike Jenkins #21 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on August 29, 2009 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Jenkins was raised just south of Tampa in Bradenton, Florida and attended college at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg. Returning to the area where he grew up, Jenkins is hoping to display some further growth in his second NFL season, as he looks to build on what he often has said was a diasappointing rookie campaign.
The sophomore seems to be off to a good start, as he had a thoroughly impressive camp, impressive enough, at least, to stymie coaches in their attempts to determine a clear-cut starter between he and fellow preseason star Orlando Scandrick.
Jenkins will get the start in his home state, partly due to the fact that it is his home state. "Sure," Wade Phillips said today, when asked if Jenkins' roots in Florida had a hand in his decision. "I think he'll be highly motivated, so I feel like that's a part of it, too."
The head coach praised Jenkins' growth throughout last season, and remarked that he had good reason to set the expectations, for Jenkins, at a high level.
"Mike improved the whole year last year as far as his play was concerned," Phillips said. "That's what you look for in a young player. He got better and better as he went along and I think this year he's ready to play, and play a lot more. "I have nothing but high expectations for him, the same as he does for himself because he's a very talented athlete and he's worked hard at what he does and I think he's kind of matured and learned our defense.
"I feel good about Mike."