Jennings Finds Best Fit in Virginia

Scout.com was at the signing day announcement for 2011 prospect Darius Jennings from Gilman School in Baltimore, MD. The four-star player was considering Ohio State, Wake Forest and Virginia but decided that being a Cavalier is what suits him best.

Darius Jennings had narrowed his list to Ohio State, Wake Forest and Virginia as his final three schools after receiving over 40 offers. Jennings consulted many close to him about the different opportunities each school provides. With close ties to each school it proved to be both beneficial but added difficulty as well. Beneficial because he had access to points of view for each school that most players don't have. Difficult because in the end he would have to say no to two of the schools and his closer access would make that even tougher. Jennings talks about all the details surrounding his decision.

After initially joking that he decided to stay another year in high school, which received a big laugh from the many that attended, Jennings shared his "real" announcement.

"All three schools are great but I could only pick one," said Jennings. "I talked with my family, friends, teammates and my coaches before I decided. In the end I decided to go to Virginia. One of the final things that led me to Virginia was input from my family. My parents and little brother all said Virginia so that helped me and put Virginia over the top. After talking with my head coach, Coach Poggi, on Monday night I prayed on it and made my decision final."

Jennings talked about his future role at Virginia.

"The plan is for me to come in as a wide receiver. I think that I can make an early impact."

Location was a factor for Jennings and he talks about Virginia being close enough for family and friends to attend.

"It was on my mind as I was going through the process. The home games aren't too far. There are ACC games that aren't too far as well. My family and friends will be able to see my play sometimes."

Jennings talked about his relationship with Coach London.

"Coach London is a great guy. He got to know my parents, my brother and my grandmother. I knew it would be a positive for my future being around him. He definitely was a big reason I committed along with Coach Poindexter and Coach Moore. All the staffs at the other schools were great and I felt I had connections with them but Virginia coaches kept reaching out to me individually to try and get to know me personally and that ultimately had a big role in my decision."

Many local players committed to Virginia were recruiting Jennings hard to join them.

"I played in the Chesapeake Bowl and there were like seven or eight Virginia commits in the game. They were always in my ear about committing to Virginia. I tried not to let that play a part in it. I wanted to make the right decision and focus on what was best for me. Still it is good that I know players there and players that will be going there. I got to bond with them more at the game."

Academics were at the top as far as priorities for Jennings. He discusses the Virginia education.

"It definitely played a big role. I know I will be more than just a football player to them. The degree will be with me always. Even if I get to play in the NFL for ten years I will just be 34 or 35 so I will need something to always fall back on. UVA will not only help me the next four or five years but the next 40 or 50 years."

Jennings talks about his transition from quarterback to wide receiver.

"Playing quarterback has helped me because I was the guy that had to know what everyone else is doing. I have only been "catching" snaps so I need to work on my hands and catching the ball. I need to get in the weight run and get bigger and stronger. I will need to do all the small things."

Playing at Gilman with the talent they have in practice everyday and the talent they face during the season along with one of the best coaching staffs in the country has helped Jennings prepare for the next level.

"It definitely helps to practice with all the top guys we have on the team. Then on top of that playing against other teams with some of the best players in the country has helped me get ready for college. College players are all the best from their schools so I have to keep striving to be my best and let my play speak for itself on the field and hopefully it will speak loudly."

Jennings continued to talk about the role his parents have played throughout the process.

"They really helped me stay humble and grounded. They made sure that I knew my skill and talent didn't come from me. I have been blessed and I needed to take advantage of those blessings."


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