UPDATE: Justin Junning officially became Iowa's 11th known verbal in the 2015 Class on Monday afternoon when his mom gave his commitment her blessing. She agreed to let him turn his soft verbal to Iowa into a solid one.
"I didn't even have to convince her. I guess she just finally felt as right as I did," Jinning said.
"Honestly, I'm still in shock. It feels like a true reward for everything I've done until this point and such a strong sense of satisfaction knowing I've accomplished exactly what I wanted.
The Texas linebacker's main advisor asked him to make sure his feelings were real and not being overly influenced by the euphoria of the moment. He agreed.
"She wants to give it a week. I'm completely ready now, honestly. I mean I've weighed all possible options and scenarios, so it's whenever I get mom's go-ahead. A mother's intuition is always best," Jinning said Sunday.
The Hawkeyes came forward with Jinning's first scholarship offer back in February. Assistant Bobby Kennedy liked what he saw from the 6-foot-1 1/2, 205-pounder last spring.
New Mexico State is the only other school to have come forward with an offer for the three-star Jinning. He's long favored Iowa and looked forward to visiting the school this weekend.
"Experiencing everything first-hand, I gave it a lot of thought and decided that I am ready to commit. My mom loves everything about the university as well, but she wanted to give it a little more time to be sure my decision will still be the same after all the hype and glamour is over, which I fully respect and understand. So, I do fully intend on committing officially, but as of now it is verbal," Jinning said.
Jinning fits the mold of an Iowa linebacker that can run, tackle and cover to counter pass-happy offenses of the era. Per Max Preps, he totaled 78 tackles (54 solo) last season with two sacks and a forced fumble. He reports running the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds.
Hawkeye Co-Linebacker Coach Jim Reid watched film with Jinning this weekend to give him a feel of how he'd slip into the defense.
"He went through several specific plays in different games and then went back to my highlight film to show the specific areas in which my game matches up. I was actually pretty surprised with how well I believe I'd fit," Jinning said.
Reid did not indicated whether Iowa liked Jinning in the middle or outside.
"Nowadays, Sam, Will and Mike all kind of have to be able to play and function the same way. So, hopefully my versatility now will only transfer over in college and benefit me in the long run. We play our linebackers (at The Colony High) pretty close to the same way and also play an overall hard-nosed base defense," Jinning said.
Jinning was concerned that Iowa would not offer the Biomedical Engineering major he desired. Those fears were put to rest this weekend.
"They actually just built a brand new Biomedical research facility. So, I greatly look forward to that," he said.
Jinning said more schools have reached out to him recently. Cal, Baylor, Colorado State, Texas Tech, TCU, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and San Diego State have picked up their interest in him.
It sounds like other suitors are going to be out of luck after Jinning's Iowa visit.
"I expected a kind of lame little country town with not a lot to do, but I was proven very wrong. The coaching staff is phenomenal and takes a true interest in every single player. The chemistry between the players is strong. The fans are just crazy supportive and welcoming. They're a huge family, and it honestly didn't take long at all for me to feel and see that for myself.
"Their graduation rate for student athletes being like 88 percent is unheard of at many other universities. The biggest thing was the fact that they do stress football doesn't last forever, no matter how far you go. So, I loved the fact that they put education at the absolute highest priority, and give you something to walk away with that will take you far beyond any field," he said.