Last year at this time, Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke ooohed and ahhhed about Aldon Smith's long arms. This year, the duo can't get over A.J. Jenkins' mitts. "He's got big hands - 9 Â½ (inch) hands," Harbaugh said Thursday. "Strong, tough player." (Jenkins' hands actually measured 9 7/8 inches from finger to thumb).
I can attest that Jenkins' hands stick out. He had his introductory press conference today, at which he posed with his new jersey - No. 17 - and chatted with reporters. It's not exactly the size of his hands that jumps out but the length of his fingers. He looks like he's holding sausages. He's been able to palm a basketball since he was 12.
"They used to call me E.T. back in high school," Jenkins said. "I got picked on a lot for my hands. But they came to good use."
Jenkins elaborated on the bathroom story he told yesterday. To catch you up: During an early part of the draft, a cousin, who was viewing the draft with him, pranked called him by pretending to be from an NFL team. As the first round wound down, Jenkins retired to the bathroom. At that point his phone started ringing again.
Thinking it was another joke, Jenkins ignored the increasingly urgent cries from his family that his phone was ringing. The same cousin who fooled around with the phone earlier in the day grew so desperate that he kicked down the bathroom door. "It was literally on the floor," Jenkins said. "My first purchase probably will be to buy my mom a new bathroom door."
A good sign for the 49ers: Jenkins is studious - he was on the Academic All-Big Ten team as a junior -- and wants to be a coach. He's about to graduate with a degree in sports management. In fact, his graduation date is May 13, which overlaps a tentatively scheduled three-day rookie minicamp for the 49ers.
Jenkins said he wanted to be in Santa Clara as soon as possible, but that graduation is important to him and his family. He said he's already discussed that with Harbaugh. "I didn't want to take it (graduation) for granted."
Jenkins wore No. 8 at Illinois but knows he can't wear that with the 49ers. So he decided on No. 17. Why that number, he was asked? "Because one plus seven equals eight." Sound logic.
-- Matt Barrows