Few class of 2016 Alabama recruits are as familiar with campus, football and the overall culture compared to Shawndarius Jennings. His brother is a freshman on the football roster and he's been a pledge since July.
The in-state commitment out of Dadeville (Ala.) High was back on campus over the weekend for his official visit, likely his final trip as a prospect before enrolling next month.
With the current staff, including new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt in town, mostly in town it enabled more intimate time with recruits. There wasn't a game plan to break down or a game to coach.
"He was pretty cool, a laid back kind of guy," Jennings said of Pruitt. "He's down with it and he likes to interact with people. He's nice. He actually told me he was recruiting me (a little) before he went to Georgia. He was recruiting my brother (Anfernee Jennings) and he came to one of his games, met me and started looking at me before he left. He told me how much he was thinking about me and he said he was happy I'm going to school there.
"It's sweet just to know I've been on his mind and he wants me to play under him. It's nice to have a coach that's down for you. He was making sure I was healthy."
Pruitt, Nick Saban and Mel Tucker could all factor into coaching Jennings extensively in college if he's to play within the secondary. Other positions have been and continued to be discussed.
"Me and coach Tucker had a couple talks and coach Saban said he really didn't know, he said I could play offense or defense," he said. "He just threw that in there. Coach Tucker was looking at me more as a safety or nickel or dime back, just more in the secondary. But it's whatever goes on in the offseason, I'll be ready for it."
Jennings' senior season at Dadeville was cut short with a knee injury he re-aggravated just last month. It has slowed the rehabilitation process but hasn't slowed UA's confidence in him at the next level.
"Coach Saban said he got back at like 1 (a.m.) and we ate breakfast at his house at about 9," he siad. "But yesterday (Saturday) he was talking ot me about rehab and he was wanting to make sure I did a great job with rehab when I get up there. He wants me to stay focused and not worry about football right now. Just to focus on getting better."
Jennings grew closer to several future teammates while on his latest trip to Tuscaloosa.
"My brother went home, so Joshua McMillon, a freshman linebacker, hosted me," he said. "It was nice, we went to a couple places together and it was nice to be able to go out and spend some time with players. We went to Denzel Devall's house, we got to chat up a little bit and have fun."
"Eddy and Chris are two good dudes, they're pumped to be there." he said. "It was just exciting to know they're going to be my future teammates. They're pretty laid back. Eddy is pretty funny and Chris is kind of serious a little bit, but they're pretty cool. (Uncommitted five-star) Derrick Brown wasn't too different, he was laid back. He still had fun and I think he really enjoyed it. He said we were in his top five so let's see if we can jump ahead for him."
Part of the fun the entire group had was watching Derrick Henry win the Heisman Memorial Trophy on Saturday night.
"It was nice, it was a big thing. I didn't realize everything was going on so fast," Jennings said. "I thought it was next week, but people were gathered all around. It was crunk, even though I knew he was going to win it because he's showed out this year. Everybody had a good time and they were all happy."
Alabama coaches reiterated how happy they were to have the legacy prospect set to enroll in a few weeks, where he'll focus on the knee rehab and getting acclimated to college life.
"I'm just getting ready to start in January," Jennings said. "I think it starts January 9th or 10th and orientation is on the 13th. I'm ready for it, I'm ready to get back right, get in the classes and get back on the football field."