Malcolm Jenkins is a junior cornerback for Bethany College. This past season, he had 31 tackles, six passes defended, and an interception returned 35 yards for a touchdown — this despite missing two games in the season. His versatility and coachability appear to be two of his best traits, as demonstrated by his knowledge of playing in two different systems and his ability to succeed as a kick returner.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Malcolm, and he shared both his football background and his aspirations in the sport with Locker Room Update.
When did you first fall in love with playing football?
I would say I fell in love in football when I was peewee. I was 11 years old and we did a drill called nut cracker, which is when two people lay on the ground about 10 yards away from each other but one person has a ball and on the whistle you both get up and try to beat your opponent. The person without the ball tries to tackle and the person with the ball and person with the ball tries to score a touchdown. I had the ball and I ran my opponent over and the adrenaline rush was crazy, from there on I loved every aspect of the game because of how it makes me feel.
Who was your role model in football when you were growing up, and who was your role model outside of the sport during your childhood?
Growing up honestly I had so many role models when it came to football but I don’t think I could just narrow it down to just one because I tried to learn from every player and take pieces of what they do and do it myself. However the main role models I looked up to were Deon Sanders, Ray Lewis, Jerry rice, and Barry sanders. They each bought different styles to the game but all preached hard work will take you where you want to go in life. Off the field- I would say my mom and dad, the taught me you have to work for everything you want in life and that there are no shortcuts.
What’s the most inspirational or powerful thing a coach has ever said to you?
The most powerful thing I think that was said to me, was when I was at Don Bosco prep and Coach Tearny told me that I could be one of the best corners in the NFL one day if I stay focus and not let things distract me from perfecting my craft.
Why choose Bethany college? As a liberal arts college, do you have a focus on a specific art form?
No, I don’t have a specific art form I am focusing on but I choose here because it was a small school which would make things easier to focus on.
Who in the NFL do you see as a role model for what you want to accomplish in football, and why?
People I see in the NFL who are role models to me for sure is Brent Grimes, He’s helped me a lot by just watching him play because we are about the same height and everything and he still goes out every week and shows the world that size does not matter. Its all about how you react and move. There are a few others I like too as well like Tyrann Mathieu and Darrel Revis because they are small DBs and playing at the highest level.
If an NFL scout were to walk up to you and give you ten seconds to sell yourself, what would you say?
Determined, Focused, self driven, coachable, and won’t be outworked!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In 5 years I plan to be in the NFL and giving back to my community for molding me into the man I am.
And to close, what’s the most important thing about you off the field that makes you a better player on the field?
Off the field, I think the most important thing about me is that I am always trying to help others. I hate to see people struggling so I do what I can to help people.