2019 Allen (Tex.) defensive lineman Jayden Jernigan has an offer from SMU, and he has taken several visits to the Hilltop recently. He was in University Park for practice on March 6th, and the intensity that he saw from the team stood out to him most.
"They never let down," Jernigan said. "They're always going back and forth with each other. If there's a fight, they let their players handle it. When it gets too out of hand, then they come in. But they want everybody to learn as a family that integrity matters."
Aside from taking him to practice, the coaching staff showed Jernigan the locker rooms, some of the campus, and the football facility. Jernigan has also brought along some of his Allen teammates on visits. He describes these teammates as "players who are about to be big-time prospects."
Jernigan has built strong relationships with coaches Buddy Wyatt and Jess Loepp. Their conversations cover a wide variety of subjects; from off-field topics like family, to specific on-field matters such as schemes. Jernigan's favorite part of the SMU coaching staff is that they are process-oriented rather than results oriented.
"They don't really care about the winning part," he said. "They want to win but they know that if they practice hard and do what they're supposed to do they'll win."
Jernigan has talked with the coaching staff about his fit in SMU's defense, and he already has a specific vision of what he can do for the Mustangs.
"I think I fit in the three-tech," Jernigan said. "Three-tech defensive tackle, sometimes defensive end. It depends on what stunt is called, what play is called and who we're playing."
Jernigan's favorite aspect of SMU's football program is the care-free atmosphere.
"The coaches have fun with you," he said. "At practice, they'll teach and you'll do everything right, but if you're just having fun with it, you'll do everything right on the field."
Jernigan has offers from Texas Tech and Iowa State as well as SMU. Washington, USC and UCLA are also talking to him. He does not have any one school atop his list as of right now.
Jernigan was at the Under Armour All-America Camp in Cedar Hill, and wanted to show people that his 6-1, 262 pound frame is not an issue.
"I'm trying to tell people that my size don't matter," Jernigan said. "I'm just trying to ball out against everybody that's better."