Eufaula, Ala.--Sometimes all it takes is one play to tell whether or not a player has what it takes to play college football. For Eufaula's Jerrell Jernigan that play came in the spring game against a talented Opelika squad.
Playing quarterback for the Tigers, Jernigan took a snap and dropped back to pass. Not seeing anyone open he began to scramble. Turning left and right Jernigan continued to elude Opelika defenders until he spotted a seam in the defense. Turning on the jets Jernigan raced for a touchdown after covering well over 100 yards on the ground from sideline to sideline. Although he was ruled to have stepped out of bounds around the 10-yard line on what looked to be a spectular touchdown run, the play left no doubt that Jernigan is going to be someone to watch in 2006.
At just 5-8, 165 the one thing that is obvious is that Jernigan's future isn't at quarterback in college unless he goes to a college that runs the option. Because of that he's been vigilant this summer working out at both wide receiver and defensive backs at camps across the South in addition to putting in his time at quarterback. He says that the summer has been a fun one for him and his teammates as they prepare for the upcoming season.
"I have been going to a lot of camps," Jernigan tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I have gone to Georgia Tech and Auburn and I'm going to Jacksonville (State) this weekend. I'm pretty much working on getting the passing game down because the run is already there. People are going to stack the box on us so I have to be able to throw. I'm going to passing camps and working hard in the weight room. I'm just getting ready."
Jernigan catches a pass at the most recent Auburn camp.
In Auburn for the Tigers' final summer camp of the year, Jernigan put on a show for the coaches working at wide receiver. Running times of 4.48 and 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Jernigan added a 33-inch vertical leap and a 4.35 second shuttle time to test as one of the top athletes in attendance. Athletic ability like that has several colleges taking a closer look at him as the summer draws to a close.
"I have an offer from Troy and I think Jacksonville State is giving me one," Jernigan says. "I went to Auburn and they're supposed to call me back. Our ex-coach from Eufaula High, Coach Kelly, is recruiting me as an athlete and a defensive back. It doesn't matter where I play in college, it can be receiver or defensive back."
While he's looking at several schools there is one that rises to the top for Jernigan. Although they haven't shown much interest in him to this point he's hoping to change that soon. "I grew up an Alabama fan," Jernigan says. "They are recruiting me also. My cousin Nick Walker goes to school there. I go up there next Saturday for a visit. I would like to Alabama but it doesn't matter where I go. I'll play wherever."
Playing quarterback for the Tigers and leading them to the third round of the Class 5A playoffs before losing to Benjamin Russell, Jernigan had an outstanding year running the show. In 13 games he had 21 total touchdowns coming on 1,025 rushing yards and 800 yards passing.
A standout all-around athlete at Eufaula, Jernigan also plays basketball, baseball and runs track for the Tigers. As a point guard Jernigan averaged 10 points, 10 assists, and five steals as a junior. He was the designated pinch-runner for the baseball team as well as running the 4x100 and 100 meter dash in track.