In the end, family mattered plenty for three-star Dadeville (Ala.) safety Shawndarius Jennings.
“I’ve thought long and hard, but you know I can’t be too far from my brother,” he said. “I love Alabama so I’m going to commit up there.”
Currently tabbed as the No. 1 safety in the state, the rising-senior came to the decision of late before announcing the news Tuesday evening.
“I knew it was ‘Bama this past week. I thought long and hard and realized ‘Bama would be the team to possibly put me in the right position to go to the NFL,” Jennings said. “They do that every year and coach (Nick) Saban is the man. It’s almost like whatever he says goes.”
The younger brother of Crimson Tide freshman Anfernee Jennings, the two have long thought about playing together. The notion was quietly rooted for by their mother, too.
“She’s going to be stunned. She’s slightly wanted me to go to Alabama, but she didn’t say too much,” he said. “She let it be my decision. He (Anfernee) did, too. It’s a dream, since I was little, when we were together. Then high school and everything, and now we’re in college. It’s a dream to play at a big D-I school like Alabama, one of the best in the country.”
Saban, lead recruiter Kirby Smart and the rest of the staff covet Jennings as a back-seven defender because of his versatility and big frame. He could end up as a safety or linebacker in college.
“Right now, they say I’m a safety but they title me as “athlete” because I don’t even know how big I’m going to get,” he said. “Right now I’m 6-2, 218 (pounds). They say I’m explosive, they like my ball skills, say I tackle well and they think I’m a good athlete.
“I thought about it,” he added of playing linebacker. “It would be something new, but I think I can fit in. I’m just going to get in where I fit in right now.”
With the decision behind him for now, the focus can return solely to the Dadville Tigers, where Jennings will be counted on at nearly all times.
“I’m trying to work on a ring now,” he said with a laugh. “I’m going to be the quarterback this year and still play safety, too.”
As a junior in 2014 Jennings, who does plan on taking additional recruiting visits despite his verbal pledge to UA, compiled 93 total tackles, four interceptions, six pass deflections and a fumble recovery.