01 August 2008
| Jennings Hester - #42 – LB – 6-3 – 219 lbs. – Atlanta, GA – Marist School – Redshirt
Jennings was a sleeper prospect when he committed to then Alabama head coach Mike Shula
. There is the school of thought that he is not the type of player that now Alabama head coach Nick Saban
would have recruited. There were several prospects that had committed to Shula
that after not hearing from the Bama staff for a period of time changed their commitments to other schools. Jennings was not among those, in fact, Coach Saban
and staff continued to recruit him through to signing day.
Whether or not that happened because of Alabama’s frighteningly thin depth at the Linebacker position and Coach Saban
felt the need to bring in players at the position regardless of quality, or if Coach Saban
evaluated Jennings’ film and thought he could contribute; I don’t know. I do know which of the two of those sounds more like something that Nick Saban
Sleeper prospects pan out occasionally. More times than not, they don’t. For every Jacob Hester there are 100 Tarence Farmers
, guys who weren’t able to make the leap that their potential dictated that they might. Considering that Jennings is in his 2nd year of college, it’s probably way too early to know which way he’ll go.
Right now Jennings is battling for playing time at the WILL Linebacker spot, probably Bama’s thinnest among the LB corps. At the moment potentially the only other returning scholarship player at the position is Baron Huber
who played fullback last season, and might end up back there this fall. I expect that we’ll see Cory Reamer
move back there after a Spring Practice experiment at the SAM, and incoming Freshmen Don’ta Hightower
& Courtney Upshaw
will also likely be a factor.
Jennings did record a sack in the A-Day game, but that was the only play of note that he made in the game. As I said above, it’s way too early to write him off as a busted sleeper prospect, because when those guys do pan out, it typically isn’t for a few years. He has a reputation as an extremely hard worker, and made the 2008 SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll (along with Rolando McClain
, Josh Chapman
, Nick Fanuzzi
& Alfred McCullough
). Those types of contributions can not be overlooked.
My guess is that we likely won’t see a whole lot out of Jennings this year barring injury. But he still has 3 more years after this one to continue to develop. Effort can only go so far, so at some point in time his talent level will have to increase. With Kevin Steele
& Lance Thompson
he will get the best positional coaching in the country, so the opportunity will be there.