Jennings Enjoys Friday Tradition

Cornerback Kelly Jennings will be returning to the team in 2005 for his senior season after contemplating the idea of leaving early for the NFL Draft. Jennings, an honor student who graduated in December, will be one of three returning starters in the secondary.

Kelly Jennings is a 6-foot-1, 170-pound cornerback from Live Oak, Florida and played his high school football at Suwannee High. Jennings wasn't even the only Division I player on his team, in fact he wasn't the only Division I player in his secondary. Kyler Hall (Florida State), Jarvis Herring (Florida), and Matt Jackson (Florida) all were in the same secondary as Jennings.

All four players have a close bond with one another as they all call each other the Friday night before their respective games. Jackson, who graduated in 2003, spent his 2004 season playing arena football and still has hopes of making it to the NFL. Although he was the only one that had finished college, it didn't change their phone call tradition.

Jennings faced Herring in the 2004 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year's Eve. He enjoyed the match-up with his good friend especially because the up-and-down season Herring had, but noticed something different about his close friend.

"Normally Jarvis talks trash before the game," Jennings said. "But he has calmed down a lot. He didn't say much before the game. But we did talk, like we always do, and wished each other good luck and said God Bless."

Miami defeated Florida 27-10 in the Peach Bowl to finish the 2004 season ranked 11th in the country with a 9-3 record. The victory gives the team much-needed momentum heading into the off-season.

"I think it was a great win for us," Jennings said. "It is great for us heading into next year. We don't have to go through the off-season thinking, ‘oh we lost this game'. We don't have to have that on our back."

One of the reasons Miami was successful in their bowl victory was their defensive effort. The secondary did a good job in coverage disrupting Florida quarterback Chris Leak's rhythm all game long.

"The coaches did a great job of breaking down their offense. We knew certain things they wanted to do on certain downs and certain situations. Also I give a lot of credit to our defensive line who did a great job. We basically just ran our base defense."

Jennings finished the season with two interceptions including one late in the game against Florida. He has three in his career and returns as the most exerienced starter on the team with 28 career starts.

The 2005 team returns three starters in the secondary with Jennings holding down a starting corner spot. Rising junior Devin Hester and rising senior Marcus Maxey will be in the mix for the other starting corner spot. Glenn Sharpe, who will receive a medical redshirt for 2004, will be a junior this fall and is expected to make a full recovery from a knee injury and be ready to contribute. Carlos Armour and Terrell Walden also could see time.

At strong safety Miami returns leading tackler Greg Threat for his senior year. Brandon Meriweather and Anthony Reddick will be in a heated battle for the starting free safety position.

The 2005 season begins with a Monday night affair in Tallahassee against Florida State on September 5. There is a lot of work to be done in the off-season in order to be ready for the season, but things look very bright for a team returning a number of key players.

"We are bringing back a lot of guys on offense and defense," Jennings said. "And with the guys we are bringing back we aren't settling for anything less than a trip to the Rose Bowl."

Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at

Canes Time Top Stories