University of Miami

UM safety Rayshawn Jenkins drafted in fourth round by Chargers

MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Safety Rayshawn Jenkins is now a Los Angeles Charger.

Jenkins, who grew up in St. Petersburg, became the first player drafted for Miami on Saturday, the sixth player taken in the fourth round and 113th pick overall.

He is a 6-1, 220-pound, physically dominating safety who led the Hurricanes with nine career interceptions and overcame a herniated disc before the 2014 season. He sat out 2014, and steadily came back strong.

Jenkins was third on the team with 76 tackles this season, 4.5 tackles for loss, two picks and seven pass breakups.

“He’s got a good pretty good combination of size and speed,’’ said ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. “I like the nine career interceptions, run support, good read reaction ability…I thought he gambled a little too much, but he certainly made plays.”

Added ESPN’s Todd McShay: “I like his toughness, I like his frame. I think he can be a contributor, maybe only on special teams...’’

When asked by the Miami Herald before the draft what his best attributes are, Jenkins said this: “I’ve got leadership qualities, I’m physically imposing, aggressive, a playmaker and smart.”

Indeed, he earned his degree in criminology last year — and is the father of a son, Ace, who turned 1 on March 8.

Jenkins praised coach Mark Richt and safeties coach Ephraim Banda for getting him to play “at a really high level.”

“They demanded it out of me every day,’’ he said recently. “And I really appreciate that because they set me up in the position I’m in right now.’’

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