2018 NFL Draft

A.J. Jenkins, WR

School: Illinois  |  Conference: BIG10
College Experience: Senior  |  Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
Height/Weight: 6-0 / 190 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.
Latest News
04/30/2012 - BEST PICK Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins: Their best pick may be their first. While the team is stacked with receivers, Jenkins is the only one, other than former first-round choice Michael Crabtree, who could be a future No. 1 receiver. So far, Crabtree has been a disappointment as the receiving bell cow and his disappearance in the playoffs did not help him. Jenkins appears to be what Crabtree is not and that's a gym rat who will make time to put in extra work with quarterback Alex Smith. - The Sports Xchange

04/30/2012 - A closer look at the 49ers' picks: Round 1/30 -- A.J. Jenkins, WR, 6-0, 190, Illinois...Jenkins caught 90 passes last year, nearly half of starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase's completions. - The Sports Xchange

04/30/2012 - Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, who didn't expect to go in the first round, thought his family in Florida was joking when his cell phone starting ringing. His cousin noticed it was from the 408 area code and kicked in the door to the bathroom so Jenkins could answer the phone. "The first thing I'm going to do (after signing his deal) is buy my mom a new door," he said. - The Sports Xchange

04/27/2012 - The 49ers sprung another surprise with the drafting of Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins. Many draft experts had Jenkins going in the second round at best and others had him lingering to the third or fourth round. The 49ers made Jenkins, whose stock was on the rise, the draft's 30th overall pick, something that seemed to stun even Jenkins. "Wow," a breathless and abundantly excited Jenkins said when he was placed on a conference call with Bay Area media. "Honestly, I didn't know where I was going to go at. I'm speechless right now." Jenkins was in the bathroom when his cell phone rang. He figured it was his cousin pulling a prank, but then he saw the area code and knew it was from California. When he answered, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke was on the other line and coach Jim Harbaugh followed. The phone call was such a blur for Jenkins, he didn't know who he talked with. Jenkins said he visited several teams, but the one he paid to the 49ers was the best. "We talked about football," Jenkins said. "It was great. I had a great relationship with (receivers) coach (John) Morton." Jenkins also had lunch at the 49ers complex with Harbaugh and then went to Harbaugh's office to take his football quiz. Every visiting prospect gets grilled by Harbaugh and the questions range from football rules to football history and there are also questions about other sports. - The Sports Xchange

04/27/2012 - Jenkins knew enough about the 49ers to know Jerry Rice once played for them. "(To be) wearing the same uniform as Jerry Rice, that's crazy," he said. Harbaugh was impressed with Jenkins' overall knowledge. "He did well," Harbaugh noted. "Smart guy." But what Harbaugh and Baalke liked most was Jenkins' ability. He led the Illini in receiving the last two years. In 2011, he caught 90 passes for 1,276 yards and eight touchdowns. Harbaugh repeatedly said he liked his hands size at nine and a half inches, and both Harbaugh and Baalke mentioned his position versatility. They both believe that in time Jenkins can learn the slot, flanker and wide receiver positions. They also like his speed. They said his draft card showed that he ran a 4.31 and Baalke said he plays fast. However, for the second straight year, the 49ers picked a player that elicited a gasp in the press room. Last year's top pick, pass-rusher Aldon Smith, wasn't projected to go until the second half the draft. The 49ers chose him with the seventh overall pick. Jenkins wasn't on the first-round radar for most if not all mock drafts. The 49ers even fielded calls to move back in the draft, but Baalke refused. "If we decided to trade back there was a good chance we would have lost him," he said. "If you like a player - take him." - The Sports Xchange

04/27/2012 - 2012 NFL DRAFT: PICK-BY-PICK ANALYSIS: 30. San Francisco 49ers: WR A.J. Jenkins, Illinois -- His 4.37 straight-line speed jumps off the page, and Jenkins is comparable to 2011 Ravens' first-round Torrey Smith, a sprinter with upside who paid immediate dividends for Baltimore last season. - Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange

04/27/2012 - TEN SURPRISES FROM ROUND ONE: 3. San Francisco 49ers select A.J. Jenkins at No. 29: Right about this time it is important to note that the real NFL draft experts are the men employed in NFL front office offices and as scouts making these picks. However, in terms of NFLDraftScout.com's evaluating of prospects, there wasn't a bigger reach in the first round of the 2012 draft than the one the 49ers made with Jenkins, our No. 58 rated prospect. The Illini receiver enjoyed a spectacular senior campaign and really worked out extraordinarily well but frankly I didn't see this type of explosiveness throughout his career. Considering how effective the 49ers were with their 2011 draft picks, they have earned the benefit of the doubt but for a team with some concerns, adding a wideout who may start the season only fourth or fifth on the depth chart was a stunner. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

04/18/2012 - Wednesday was a busy day for the Lions as they continue preparations for next week's NFL draft. Not only did the Lions host a combine-style workout for 17 local prospects on Wednesday, but they also hosted five more players as part of their allotted 30 pre-draft visits. The local prospects don't count toward the 30. Visiting Wednesday were Kansas State running back Bryce Brown, Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry, Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, Miami running back Lamar Miller and Nevada wide receiver Rishard Matthews. The Lions are on the lookout for a fourth receiver and the draft might provide an opportunity to get a good receiver, but also someone who can also contribute on special teams. Jenkins and Matthews are both experienced receivers, who've made contributions on special teams. "Obviously, they have three good receivers here, so I'll fit in where I can get in," Jenkins told Detroitlions.com Wednesday. "If that means kick return or being a gunner on punt, I'll do whatever I need to do." - Tim Twentyman, DetroitLions.com

04/16/2012 - Jacksonville might be A.J. Jenkins' hometown, but he hasn't spent much time here at all lately. Since 2012 began, Jenkins has had one job interview after another in places such as Tampa, Mobile, Ala., Indianapolis and Nashville. Wearing tights, he stood in front of a room full of doctors as they examined X-rays from injuries all the way back to high school. He sat with NFL offensive coordinators as they got to know him, testing his memory and mental acuity. He ran one of the fastest 40-yard dash times at the NFL combine this year. In college he became one of the best receivers in University of Illinois history, and now Jenkins is easily this year's best prospect who calls Jacksonville home. After participating in the East-West Shrine game, Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, Jenkins has spent the past few weeks on a national tour, visiting various NFL teams, including his hometown Jaguars. The Parker High graduate is close to achieving the dream many have but few reach. He's likely to be a second-day draft pick next week. Along the way he's getting used to being watched very closely. "Honestly it hasn't even really hit me yet," Jenkins said. "I'm still just playing ball. Haven't really got to the - just having fun - football is just what I do." - Tania Ganguli, Florida Times-Union

04/05/2012 - 04/05/12 NFL DRAFT SCOUT RISER: A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois: A name that continues to pop up around NFL circles, Jenkins was viewed as a late-round player entering the 2011 season. He worked his way up draft boards as the best player on the Illini offense this past season, racking up 90 catches for 1,276 yards and eight scores, averaging 14.2 yards per catch and shattering several school records along the way. Jenkins had an okay week in Tampa at East-West Shrine practices and game, but didn't necessarily stand out. However, he was a late-add at the Senior Bowl and turned in a positive performance at the NFL Combine (4.41 40-yard dash, 38.5-inch vertical and 10'4" broad jump), catching several eyes around the league. Jenkins currently has meetings set up with the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers (so far) and is expected to make a few more visits. He could sneak into the initial 75 picks on draft weekend. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

01/02/2012 - UCLA players walked off the field at AT&T Park, through the tunnel and into the wrong side of the program's proud history. With coach Rick Neuheisel already fired, interim man Mike Johnson on the sideline and successor Jim Mora watching from the stands, an already odd postseason appearance for the Pac-12's prime punchline came with low expectations. Even those proved too hard to reach. Kevin Prince threw a costly interception that Terry Hawthorne returned for a touchdown, finishing off UCLA's forgettable season with a 20-14 loss to Illinois in the Fight Hunger Bowl on Saturday. "This is not the way we wanted to go out, to send our seniors out," tight end Joseph Fauria said. "But at the same time, I guess there's some sort of relief for guys that have another year and looking forward to new beginnings." The final mark this UCLA team leaves will be its record: an embarrassing 6-8 campaign for a bowl team. All hope at a non-losing record for the Bruins ended when Nathan Scheelhaase added a 60-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Jenkins midway through the fourth quarter to seal the first victory for Illinois (7-6) since beating Indiana 12 weeks ago. - AP Sports

12/31/2011 - PLAYERS TO WATCH: WR A.J. Jenkins is ending his Illini career with a brilliant season. He leads the Big Ten with 84 catches. Jenkins has totaled 1,194 yards and seven touchdowns. He accounted for 53.3 percent of Illinois' receiving yards this season, the highest percentage in the nation. Jenkins broke Illinois' single-game receiving record with 268 yards on 12 catches against Northwestern. He followed that with 182 yards at Indiana the next week, breaking the Big Ten record for most receiving yards in consecutive games. - The Sports Xchange

10/08/2011 - A.J. Jenkins blew right past Indiana's busted coverage. Twice. Nathan Scheelhaase made the right read and the perfect throw -- both times. The big-play tandem hooked up for scoring passes of 77 and 67 yards in the first half Saturday, rallying No. 19 Illinois from an early 10-point deficit to a 41-20 victory. "We had to take advantage of that and whenever the defense messes up, you want to take advantage, so that one was a little surprising," Scheelhaase said. "The other one was just a great route by him getting off press coverage and making a great play." This was not just another weekly test for Illinois (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten). The Illini needed to prove they could win on the road, stay among the shrinking unbeaten ranks and prove that those last three 3-point victories were the aberration, not the norm. They accomplished all three three by making the Hoosiers (1-5, 0-2) pay for three big mistakes -- on the two TD passes from Scheelhaase to Jenkins and a 66-yard fumble recovery for a score that changed the game. Scheelhaase finished 12 of 22 for 210 yards with three TDs. Jenkins, the Big Ten's top receiver, had six receptions for 182 yards and two scores. - AP Sports

10/03/2011 - WEEK 5 BIG TEN CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: A.J. Jenkins, Illinois, Sr., WR, Jacksonville, Fla./Terry Parker...Finished with 12 catches and a career-high 268 yards and three touchdowns in Illinois' 38-35 win over Northwestern...Set a new school record in receiving yards, breaking the old mark of 208...The 268 yards rank as the third-most receiving yards in a Big Ten game and the fourth-best mark in all games in Big Ten history...Claims his first career Big Ten weekly honor. - Big Ten football

10/01/2011 - Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase scored on a 1-yard run with 13 seconds left to lead No. 24 Illinois to a 38-35 comeback win Saturday over Northwestern. The Wildcats scored a go-ahead touchdown that made it 35-31 with 1:15 to play, converting after Tyler Scott recovered Jason Ford's fumble at the Illinois 36. Jacob Schmidt's 6-yard run put Northwestern up 35-31. But Scheelhaase went to work. He found A.J. Jenkins on a 28-yard completion that moved the ball to the Wildcats 41. Then the quarterback took off on his own, for 22 yards. An interference call on Wildcats cornerback Jeravin Matthews moved the ball to the 4 and, on third and goal, Scheelhaase bulled his way in, keeping Illinois (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) undefeated. Scheelhaase threw for a career-high 391 yards and three touchdowns -- all to Jenkins, who had 12 catches for school-record 268 yards. - AP Sports

09/29/2011 - SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Illinois' offense hasn't put a lot of the points on the board the last two weeks (40) and there have been too many three-and-out possessions to suit coordinator Paul Petrino, but the Illini have shown a knack for adapting when defenses take things away. For example, Western Michigan loaded the box and took away Illinois' inside runs last week. The Illini used motion to overload one side of the field and ripped off a few huge runs using the option. Illinois also threw six passes to the tight ends last week, which ought to open up more room for wideouts A.J. Jenkins (28 catches, 365 yards, 2 TDs) and Darius Millines. - The Sports Xchange

09/22/2011 - WR A.J. Jenkins had a big day despite Illinois' relatively few pass attempts. The senior snagged 6 passes for 103 yards and the game-winning touchdown and ranks second in the Big Ten in catches (22) and yards (322). - The Sports Xchange

09/22/2011 - Senior WR A.J. Jenkins ranks among the nation's top 16 receivers in catches and yards. The Biletnikoff Award candidate owns 22 catches for 322 yards and 2 TDs. While that's a good thing, here's the problem: The rest of Illinois' team has 22 catches for 239 yards and 2 TDs. The Illini need to diversify because teams aren't going to let Jenkins go against single coverage forever. - The Sports Xchange

09/07/2011 - Jenkins was Illinois' only big-time pass-catching threat last year. He put up 56 catches, 746 yards and 7 TDs while the other eight wide receivers teamed up for 68 catches, 751 yards and 5 TDs. This time around, sophomore Darius Millines has stepped forward at the other wideout spot to keep safeties from rolling over automatically toward Jenkins' side. Millines grabbed 5 passes for 119 yards and 1 TD last week. The Illini need both Jenkins and Millines to be great in order for Illinois' offense to be as good as it can be. While senior running back Jason Ford is solid (he posted 86 yards and 2 TDs in the opener), he's not on the level of the departed Mikel Leshoure (1,697 yards, 17 TDs last year). Defenses shouldn't have to cheat as much against the run this year as they did in 2010. Then again, Arkansas State decided early in last week's opener to bring the safeties into the box. That gave Jenkins and Millines man-to-man coverage with undersized corners...and that led to several big plays. - The Sports Xchange

09/07/2011 - Senior wide receiver A.J. Jenkins might have gotten a little carried away after stacking up 11 catches for 148 yards and one touchdown during Illinois' season-opening win over Arkansas State. "I think I'm the best receiver (in the Big Ten) because I work harder than the other receivers out there," Jenkins said according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "I have the best coach, best quarterback, the best linemen, the best sidekick in Darius Millines. Having the best things around me makes me the best receiver in the Big Ten, not the stats." Well, the Week 1 stats also add some ammunition to the Florida native's argument. Jenkins enters Saturday's home game against FCS-level South Dakota State as the Big Ten leader in catches and yards and ranks among the nation's top 10 in both categories as well. Despite all of this evidence, Jenkins backpedaled from some of his stronger rhetoric on Monday. When Ron Zook got around to talking to Jenkins, the fleet wideout suggested he had been taken a tad out of context. "A.J.'s a very, very confident person," Zook said. "But I know he felt bad because he's not that way. I know he tried to clear it up and I said, 'Listen, be who you are.' And he is a good player. I don't know if he's the best. I'm just glad he's on our football team and I think our football team is glad he's on our football team." - The Sports Xchange

09/07/2011 - PLAYERS TO WATCH: WR A.J. Jenkins - The loquacious senior from Florida set career highs with 11 catches and 148 yards last week. Jenkins afterward proclaimed himself to be the Big Ten's best receiver, though he admitted a few days later that he didn't quite mean what he said. Jenkins could become the Big Ten's best receiver because Scheelhaase looks for him first and foremost. He caught 56 passes for 746 yards and 7 TDs last season. - The Sports Xchange

08/15/2011 - KEYS TO SUCCESS: With eight starters back from the offense that set the school record with 32.5 points per game, production won't be an issue. Dual-threat QB Nathan Scheelhaase has a trio of receivers from Florida (A.J. Jenkins, Ryan Lankford, Darius Millines) to go with bulldozing running back Jason Ford. TE Evan Wilson and RB Jay Prosch, two players who started from Day 1 as true freshmen, are that much stronger and better as well. Senior kicker Derek Dimke, a second-team all-Big Ten pick by the coaches in 2010, hit 24 of 29 field goals last year. QUOTE TO NOTE: "It will happen. I guarantee a bowl game this year. There's no reason why we shouldn't. We have players who can make plays, we have a good defense, we have the coaching staff. Everything is in place." Senior WR A.J. Jenkins offering predictions in the Decatur Herald-Review. - The Sports Xchange

07/09/2011 - 2011 BILETNIKOFF AWARD PRESEASON WATCH LIST: AJ Jenkins, Illinois, has been selected one of 75 wide receivers from around the nation named to the Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list for the 2011 college football season. The Biletnikoff Award is named after former Florida State and Oakland Raiders receiver Fred Biletnikoff and goes to the top receiver in college football. Jenkins led Illinois in receiving in 2010 with 56 catches for 746 yards and seven touchdowns. His seven touchdowns rank eighth on the UI single-season TD receptions list. Jenkins had two 100-yard games during his junior season, including a career-best 137-yard effort against Minnesota on Nov. 13. A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Jenkins was part of the 2010 Orange and Blue offense that broke school records for most points scored in a season (423) and season scoring average (32.54 ppg). He also helped the 2010 Illini to the program's first bowl victory since 1999, a 38-14 win over Baylor in the Texas Bowl. - Illinois football

05/16/2011 - STARS OF 2011: WR A.J. Jenkins - After initially planning to transfer due to disuse, Jenkins stuck around when Paul Petrino was named offensive coordinator and was glad he did. The flanker was Illinois' top target all season long and finished with 56 catches for 746 yards and 7 scores. He finished strong with TDs in four of Illinois' final five regular-season games. - The Sports Xchange

05/16/2011 - BUILDING BLOCKS: Rising sophomore QB Nathan Scheelhaase was a fabulous runner (868 yards, 5 TDs) from the get-go, but he needed time to get up to speed in the passing game. He threw for 7 interceptions and 4 TDs in Illinois' first 6 games, but 13 TDs and 1 interception in Illinois' final 7 games. His top threat in the running game ought to be senior Jason Ford, who rushed for 480 yards and 7 TDs in just 99 carries last year. Senior A.J. Jenkins (56 catches, 746 yards, 7 TDs) was far and away Scheelhaase's favorite target. He boasts great speed and isn't afraid to cross the middle. - The Sports Xchange

05/16/2011 - PLAYERS TO WATCH IN 2011: WR A.J. Jenkins - This speedy senior-to-be enjoyed a banner 2010 campaign with 56 catches for 746 yards and seven scores. Jenkins was Scheelhaase's No. 1 option in all situations, as he had the best speed, ran the best routes and showed the best hands. - The Sports Xchange