Deion Jennings is sure about where he wants to play football at the next level, having committed to Rutgers in the summer, but unsure about his future position. Jennings says he plans to sign with Rutgers on Wednesday, the first day of the new three-day early signing period.
This season, the Timber Creek, N.J., senior was used in a variety of positions, with favorable results at all.
"I played him at cornerback, strong safety, outside linebacker, rush end and wanted to utilize his freakish athletic ability," said Timber Creek coach Rob Hinson, whose team finished 10-1 and earned the West Jersey Football League National Division title. "I used him all over the place and looking back, he was a big-time asset."
Hinson failed to mention that Jennings also played receiver and had 11 receptions for 246 yards and three touchdowns.
At this point, according to Jennings, neither Rutgers nor he are sure where he will be used on the collegiate level.
"Rutgers doesn't know yet," Jennings said. "He [coach Chris Ash] was up front with me and says I still have time to grow."
At 6-foot-1, 200-pounds, Jennings already has good size to play in the secondary.
"I like his size and like how physical he is," said Adonis Jennings, his brother and Temple senior wide receiver. "He was always a hitter and never afraid of any contact at all."
When it is said the younger Jennings has room to grow, that comes from looking at his big brother. Adonis Jennings is 6-3, 205-pounds.
This summer, Adonis schooled his brother in the finer aspects of pass coverage. The older brother would run pass patterns against Deion, a truly educational experience.
"It helped me a lot," said Deion Jennings, who had 52 tackles and one interception as a senior. "It is great having somebody like that to train with."
Deion said he often got the better of his brother on deep routes, but didn't have the same success defending his brother on shorter routes.
And not surprisingly, Adonis Jennings who leads Temple with 691 receiving yards and is tied for the team lead with seven receiving touchdowns, didn't take it easy on his brother in those workouts.
"No, no, I gave him a hard time," Adonis said smiling. "I know if I slacked off, that wouldn't bring the best out of him."
One thing the older Jennings didn't do was put the squeeze on his brother to attend Temple.
"I went through the same process and I know how it feels getting pressure to do something," said Adonis, who attended Pitt his first season before transferring to Temple. "I told him go with your heart and do what you want."
Deion Jennings liked the direction that Rutgers is taking. In Ash's second season the Scarlet Knights went 4-8, doubling their win total from the previous year.
"I like the philosophy that coach Ash has brought to Rutgers, what he is building is great and will be great in the future," Deion Jennings said.
And just like his senior year in high school, that could include a look at a number of potential positions. What Deion Jennings showed this season and during his career is that he is a football player, one who could help his future team wherever he is utilized on the field.
Rutgers football’s signings
Kessawn Abraham 5-10, 170 DB Erasmus, N.Y.
Jalen Chatman, 6-1, 180, QB Narbonne, Harbor City, Calif.
Christian Izien, 5-10, 180 DB Erasmus Hall, N.Y.
Deion Jennings, 6-1, 200, DB Timber Creek, N.J.
Jalen Jordan 6-5, 210 TE IMG Academy, Fla.
Adam Korsak, 6-2, 190 P Australia
Jamree Kroman 6-4, 250 DL CH Flowers, MD
Zihir Lacewell, 6-3, 200 WR Tottenville, N.Y.
Eddie Lewis, 6-0, 180 WR Milford Academy, N.Y.
Raiqwon O'Neal, 6-5, 270 OT Conway, S.C
Isiah Pacheco, 5-11, 190 RB Vineland, N.J.
Jarrett Paul, 6-1, 195 DB Paramus Catholic, N.J.
.Daevon Robinson 6-4, 215 WR Shawnee, N.J.
Matt Rosso, 6-6, 270, OT, Pennsbury, Pa.
Artur Sitkowski 6-5, 215 QB IMG Academy, Fla.
Matthew Thomas, 6-4, 235 DE, Midwood, N.Y.
Paul Woods, 6-1, 170 WR Canisius, N.Y.
Avery Young, 6-1, 190 DB Coatesville, Pa.