Timber Creek's Jennings finally finds best fit

Adonis Jennings originally chose Rutgers, but has changed his pick to Pittsburgh. DAVID SWANSON / Staff
Adonis Jennings originally chose Rutgers, but has changed his pick to Pittsburgh. DAVID SWANSON / Staff
Posted: January 13, 2014

Most high school recruits realize how lucky they are to receive scholarships, but that doesn't mean the process is easy on them.

Nobody will feel sorry for somebody about to receive a free college education, but the pressures involved in recruiting can be immense.

One of the reasons is that the rules are stacked against the student-athlete. For instance, coaches are allowed to leave one college position for another and suffer no repercussions. If a recruit transfers, in most instances, that person has to sit out one year.

It has often been stated that youngsters should stick to the word they gave during an oral commitment, while the coaches they commit to can jump from job to job at a moment's notice. Seems like a double standard.

With that as a backdrop, Timber Creek senior wide receiver Adonis Jennings decided getting it right trumped any criticism he would receive for changing his mind.

Jennings, who originally committed to Rutgers in June, switched gears and last weekend said he would attend Pittsburgh.

All high school senior football recruits may sign official letters of intent beginning Feb. 5, and that day can't come soon enough for Jennings.

For Jennings, who as a senior caught 83 passes for 1,434 yards and 14 touchdowns, this ends a process that began when he received several scholarship offers as a sophomore.

"I am glad it's finally over," said Jennings, whose receiving-yards total is a single-season South Jersey record, according to historian Chuck Langerman. "It has taken a lot of weight off of me."

More and more, colleges are looking for early commitments from players, and that places even more pressure on the youngsters to make a decision.

"Colleges want to get recruiting done as soon as possible," said Timber Creek coach Rob Hinson, whose program has become a pipeline to Division I schools. "Once a class is full, they can shift the focus."

That focus is often to the next class. In several instances, a college coach has moved on to a new job before that next class sets foot on campus.

After an oral commitment is made, many rival schools don't back off on their recruiting efforts.

"Once a commitment is made, the other schools now know who their competition is," Hinson said. "There are schools that will find various flaws with the school the player committed to and point them out."

Jennings concedes that the recruiting process failed to die down when he announced his original choice of Rutgers.

"I heard from a lot of schools after I made my commitment," Jennings said. "It was crazy."

So he got no peace of mind.

What he did get was time to see if his initial choice was best for him.

Keep in mind that a wrong choice can set a person back for years. Sometimes a student-athlete doesn't recover, at least in an athletic sense, when making a choice that didn't turn out well.

A recruit wants there to be no doubt about his or her choice, although nothing is absolute, no matter how good things appear on signing day.

Still, a student-athlete should feel totally comfortable with his or her decision.

Jennings had nothing negative to say about Rutgers. He simply thought that Pitt would be a better fit.

"You just want to do what you feel is best for you," Jennings said.

It's a simple request, from a complex process.

At least after going through this hectic endeavor, Jennings now can worry about just performing on the field and in the classroom.

He is very comfortable with his decision, and at this point, that is the only thing that truly matters.


mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard

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