The latest Rutgers commit waited a while for his recruitment to really get going. Timber Creek class of 2018 defensive back Deion Jennings just saw his recruitment kick into gear prior to his Monday commitment to Rutgers.
Jennings had a long list of FCS offers and also added recent ones from Temple, Western Michigan and Rutgers.
He is now a 6-foot-1, 190-pound future Big Ten player, but it was not too long ago when he has a 5-foot-10 junior, who was considered too small for a scholarship.
“I was a pretty small guy last year. I wanted to get recruited, but I could see why I wasn’t,” Jennings said after announcing his commitment. “I was not really down on myself. But my brother was always telling me that my time is going to come. So, I just followed that advice and stayed patient.”
Jennings’ brother, Adonis, was a big-time recruit out of Timber Creek and is now entering his senior season as a starting wide receiver at Temple.
“Everybody in my family is tall, so I always figured I would be tall. But I never figured I would be this strong or this big,” Jennings said.
Jennings also said he changed his mental approach to the game last season.
“I had a different mindset. My junior year is when it hit me. I had to have a different mindset. I had to focus on the little details instead of the big picture. I saw other guys getting recruited and wondered why I wasn’t getting recruited. Then, I started to really focus on what I could get better at.”
Jennings finally started to get noticed this past spring as he started to stand out on the camp circuit. Part of that was attributed to his recent growth spurt.
“I could definitely feel the difference working on my technique and moving my feet at the line,” Jennings said.
That led to Jennings earning a Temple and Western Michigan offered and that was followed up by a Rutgers offer.
“I was excited when they started to come in,” Jennings said. “I didn’t expect them so fast.”
Jennings is still sixteen years old and there is a chance he could wind up growing into a linebacker at the college level.
“I am a team player. If I need to play outside linebacker, then I will," he said. "It all depends on what the coaches want me to do. I will do it.”
For now, Jennings will have one more high school season, but this time around he will be an FBS commit on what has become a growing list of Timber Creek prospects.
“At Timber Creek, you have a lot of guys going to college, so I always hoped I would get a shot at that too. I also had a relationship with Coach [Rob] Hinson already because my brother went there. It is pretty exciting because everyone on our team has a lot of talent. We don’t have to fill in for other guys’ jobs. I already know that people on the team are going to do the job on the field. That makes it a lot easier.”