Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins visits Lake Forest North Elementary

FELTON — Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins admittedly didn’t like school at first.

But well before the time came for him to decide whether to return to The Ohio State University for his senior season or become eligible for the NFL draft, the then All-American had changed his mind.

The decision paid off, both on the field and in the classroom, as Jenkins not only won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top cornerback his senior season but also graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications.

Eagles mascot Swoop and safety Malcolm Jenkins thrilled North Elementary students with a surprise visit.  (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

Eagles mascot Swoop and safety Malcolm Jenkins thrilled North Elementary students with a surprise visit.
(The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

 

“I didn’t like school when I was your age,” Jenkins said to assembled Lake Forest North Elementary students Friday morning, adding that not much later he realized working toward his education is what afforded him a chance to reach his dream of playing football at a high level. “Education puts you in place to do whatever it is you want to do in life.

“It’s important to get those examples (of strong work ethic) in front of them early, because this is when they see examples they are trying to replicate,” he added.

Jenkins, whose cousin Elijah Jones is a student at North Elementary, was as surprise guest for the students at the end of their Black History Celebration assembly. He was joined by Eagles mascot Swoop, much to the delight of the young audience.

A six-year NFL veteran, Jenkins joined the Eagles prior to this season. His first five professional seasons were spent in New Orleans after being selected by the Saints as the 14th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and helped the team win a Super Bowl his rookie season.

He established his own Malcolm Jenkins Foundation in 2010 with the goal of having a positive and lasting impact on youth, families and communities around the world, according to the organization’s Facebook page.

Jenkins’ first season in Philadelphia went well from a personal stat standpoint – he finished with a career-high three interceptions, forced a pair of fumbles and scored a touchdown. The Eagles’ secondary, however, struggled throughout the season and the team finished 31st in pass defense out of the NFL’s 32 teams.

Fixing that pass defense, Jenkins said, begins now with the upcoming free agency period and NFL Draft.

Swoop and Malcolm Jenkins pose with some lucky North Elementary students.  (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

Swoop and Malcolm Jenkins pose with some lucky North Elementary students.
(The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

“The first step is everybody looking to see what happens in free agency and what happens in the draft to see who exactly will be back here,” Jenkins said. “Whoever it is, just emphasizing the importance of keeping the ball in front of us. We did a great job when we did keep the ball in front of us, challenging routes and getting pass breakups. So whoever it is, whether it’s new guys or the same secondary, just putting that emphasis on keeping the ball in front of us.”

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