Future still murky for Jenkins, Thompson

Editor's note: Later Monday, Brandon Jenkins announced his intention to enter the 2013 NFL draft.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- While the bulk of Florida State's senior class will be playing in the final home game of their careers Saturday, two of the most accomplished seniors remain in something of a holding pattern.

Jimbo Fisher said he's met with both Chris Thompson and Brandon Jenkins to discuss their futures, after both seniors missed extensive playing time this season due to injuries and could be eligible to use a medical redshirt to return in 2013.

Neither player has officially announced a decision, but Fisher said Monday he had a feeling Jenkins would leave, while Thompson wants to return for a second crack at a healthy senior campaign. Still, neither decision is set in stone.

Jenkins suffered a broken foot in Florida State's first game of the season, making him eligible to take a medical redshirt and play again in 2013 if he chooses. Jenkins' injury is healing well, however, and Fisher said it's likely the defensive end will be healthy enough to work out for NFL teams prior to April's draft.

"I expect if he's healthy -- I don't know what he's going to do, but I expect he's going to go," Fisher said. "That wouldn't shock me. And if that's what's right, that's what's right."

Jenkins nearly left a year ago when he was widely expected to be an early round selection in the 2012 NFL draft.

Thompson's situation is more complicated. Because his ACL injury occurred in Florida State's eighth game of the season, he would not be eligible to redshirt. Fisher said Florida State have applied for an exemption, however, based on the fact that Thompson missed significant playing time both this year and in 2011, when he sat out FSU's final seven games with a broken back.

That process begins with an application to the ACC, which is likely to be denied. The decision can then be appealed to the NCAA, for which there is little direct precedent. Regardless, Thompson isn't likely to hear a firm decision until well after the season has concluded, making it difficult to make an informed decision in the short term.

"I think if I knew for sure that I would be getting the year back, it would probably be an easier decision on me of which direction I want to take," Thompson said. "But since I don't know yet, I can't make a decision."

Thompson had surgery on his torn ACL two weeks ago, and he said he's tried to put off thinking about his future to instead concentrate on rehabbing the injury.

Even with a potentially accelerated recovery timeline, Thompson would be hard-pressed to be in shape and at full strength in time for the NFL draft, making him a significant risk for any team potentially interested in selecting him.

"I'm not sure if I want to come back or even try to move on right now," Thompson said. "It's still one of those things I've been talking through with my parents, trying to figure out what's the right decision, which direction I should go."

While the future remains murky for Thompson, he said one thing remains clear: He will be playing football somewhere in 2013. After a second straight serious injury, he said he's more confident than ever that he can recover and contribute for someone next season.

"I'm not going to quit," Thompson said. "I see both of these as minor injuries because I know I'm going to come back and play again."