It has been quite a week for Jayden Jernigan as the 2019 Allen (TX) defensive lineman, fresh off a dominating performance at the The Opening Dallas regional in Frisco on Sunday, travelled west out to Lubbock to visit Texas Tech on Wednesday with teammate E.J. Ndoma-Ogar. Each left town with an offer from the Red Raiders.
For Jernigan, despite being so young, the offer from Texas Tech was a long time coming as the Red Raiders have recruited the 6-foot-2, 262-pound defensive lineman for about a year. RaiderPower.com interviewed Jernigan, who just happens to be a cousin of current Red Raider receiver Derrick Willies, for a recap of his visit to the South Plains and his reaction to the offer shortly after he left town on Wednesday.
Raider Power: Hey Jayden, how you doing?
Jernigan: I'm doing fine.
Raider Power: I bet you're doing a lot better now that you finally got that offer?
Jernigan: (laughs) Yeah.
Raider Power: I know this one has been a big one for you, that you have been waiting for Texas Tech for awhile now. Talk about just coming out to Lubbock and taking it all in. What did you think?
Jernigan: The visit was great. We went around on a campus visit. Well, first off we went on an athletic visit. We went to the training room, saw the great facilities in there. We went to the weight room, the nutrition center that they spend a million dollars every year on. Then we went to take a little photo shoot, me and E.J--E.J. was out there with me, he got an offer also--but we just took a little photo shoot and went over to get something to eat. It was all nice, the athletics facility was great.
Raider Power: Talk about meeting your possible future position coach, Terrance Jamison?
Jernigan: Yeah, Jamison's a great coach. We went inside his office, started watching film, went over what he wanted to teach to the defensive line this year and said they are going to do great this year, that they have a hard work ethic. All they do is work and that's what he loves about Texas Tech. Their lift program is great. They normally go up by 100 pounds within six weeks of everyone's enrollment. That's what struck me, because I was like, 'alright I need to get bigger for college, I got to get ready', because I don't want to redshirt. I want to start out and play.
Raider Power: Did Jamison mention anything about the number of guys he's trying to bring in for 2019?
Jernigan: He really didn't tell me that kind of information. I know Hunter Spears has an offer from Texas Tech. I talked to him at the Nike Opening and he's been talking about Tech a whole lot. He did talk about how he loved coach (Kevin) Patrick, but he said he still has interest in Tech after he left.
Raider Power: Good deal. Where did Jamison tell you he sees you fitting in on this defense?
Jernigan: So he told me I fit in as a 3-tech or a shade. Maybe in a 3-4 set he'll put me at nose just to shoot the gap and just to go through fast. And a little bit of work at d-end. It just depends on what the scheme is for who we're playing that week.
Raider Power: I know with Texas Tech, it's a program that has stood out to you for awhile, but where do they really rank for you? What are your thoughts on Texas Tech?
Jernigan: So, I don't really have any rankings right now since I'm still a young guy. I like Texas Tech a lot. I have been talking to Texas Tech for a good year now. I went to the camp and everything. Texas Tech, if I had rankings, would be in my top five.
Raider Power: How did the offer go down? Did you find out while you were there?
Jernigan: We got there about 11 o'clock and took an unofficial visit. We went over to the athletic building, tried on some jerseys, had a photo shoot and then they said we're going to have a live photo shoot with real people. Then we got in cars and took a campus tour, met with the academic tutors and then we went and got something to eat at the cafeteria--last time I just had some Popeyes and went home--and then they brought us back. I talked to coach Jamison for a good 20-30 minutes, we talked about the schemes and then I went into coach Kingsbury's office and he just told me I had an offer. That's really how it went down.
Raider Power: What was your reaction when you got offered, your immediate reaction?
Jernigan: Inside I was going crazy. I wanted to jump up and scream, but outside I had to keep it cool. It's coach Kingsbury. He's just all laid back and will just tell you and he's cool with it. He just said, 'well you have an offer here' and I was like 'thank you'. I was just fully happy and he saw he was just laid back, cool styling with it, so I just tried to act just like he was.
Raider Power: Cool, well two more questions to wrap things up. What are your thoughts on Lubbock?
Jernigan: It's a great atmosphere. EVERYONE there loves Texas Tech. That's all it is about is Texas Tech. High schools, middle schools, elementary schools--they think about Texas Tech. The academic tutor, she said she'd been growing up in a football family her whole life. It seems that everybody in Lubbock likes and wants their kids to go to Texas Tech.
Raider Power: And does that kind of appeal to you?
Jernigan: Yes, sir.