Staff and Wire Reports
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Malcolm Jenkins dreamed about playing in the NFL just like every other little boy, but never really believed he'd be so close to making it come true.
The Ohio State player was honored Monday at a banquet in Oklahoma City with the Thorpe Award, which recognizes the nation's best defensive back.
"It's a blessing for me and my family just to be blessed with this award and just be out here and be in Oklahoma for the first time," Thorpe Award winner Malcolm Jenkins said. "It's just a blessing come true for me.
After four years and two BCS championship game appearances with the Buckeyes, Jenkins' recognition by the Thorpe Award committee is being mirrored by many NFL draft experts who expect him to be the first cornerback taken in April.
Jenkins said he's heard a lot of things about his prospects, but has kept his face out of the media and focused on his training.
As he looks around at the other players in his draft class, he has to take some Jersey pride.
Georgia tailback Knowshon Moreno, Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe, Iowa running back Shonn Greene and Southern Cal linebacker Nick Cushing are all from New Jersey, too, and all projected as first-round draft picks.