Jenkins’ draft ‘stock rising’ in final month

Scouts from both the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns attended Wednesday’s practice, likely to see cornerback Mike Jenkins.

Listed as the 12th prospect on draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s Big Board, Jenkins may have further advanced his stock by showcasing his talent on special teams.

Returning kicks for the first time since playing at Sarasota’s Southeast High School, Jenkins set a school record when he ran back a kick 100 yards for a touchdown.

“That’s just another thing that he can do at the next level and be outstanding at, as well as being a (defensive back),” defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said. “His stock will go up the more he plays special teams because he has a knack with the ball in his hands.”

Jenkins is tied for 10th nationally in passes defended, with two interceptions and 11 passes broken up.

He was tabbed to the Preseason All-Big East team and was included among 12 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the most outstanding defensive back.

The other likely NFL prospects for the Bulls are cornerback Trae Williams, linebacker Ben Moffitt and defensive lineman Richard Clebert.

The Bulls are in

The Big East Conference has announced an expansion to its postseason basketball tournament from 12 to all 16 teams starting in 2008-09.

The men’s team has failed to qualify for the tournament in each of its first two seasons of play, but is now guaranteed to play in Madison Square Garden at the end of the year.

The women’s team has played both tournaments held in the Hartford Civic Center, part-time home of the Connecticut Huskies.

“Our presidents performed a very thorough review of the tournament format,” Big East commissioner Michael Tranghese said in a press release.?”After extensive deliberation, it was decided that inviting all teams to participate would provide a special opportunity to every men’s and women’s basketball student-athlete.”

The new system sets up two tiers of byes, with the league’s bottom eight teams playing on the first day of the tournament. The four winners will then play seeds five through eight, and those advancing will face the top four seeds.