By selecting Gary Jennings in the fourth round of the NFL Draft April 27, the Seattle Seahawks will reunite the Colonial Forge High School graduate with Russell Wilson.
Wilson, the Seahawks’ standout quarterback, helped coach Jennings on a YMCA basketball team while a high school student at Collegiate School in Richmond. Wilson’s father was the team’s head coach.
Jennings attended Collegiate through the eighth grade before enrolling at Colonial Forge as a freshman.
“I went to Collegiate K-8, and he was in high school at the time,” Jennings said on a conference call. “It was a K-12 school. Growing up in that school, I used to see him play quarterback. He was an amazing quarterback back in the day, too. I saw him run back and forth across the field, and someone was always wide open. They won state basically every year he was there. I also played youth basketball with his sister as well, Anna Wilson.”
Wilson responded to Jennings’ selection with this tweet:
“What’s crazy is how God works! From my dad and I coaching you and my sister @a_willy03 in basketball when y’all were young and us all going to the same school together to now! What a blessing!”
Jennings, a wide receiver from West Virginia, was the 18th pick of the fourth round and the 120th player taken overall. Jennings entered the three-day, seven-round draft a projected mid-round pick.
Jennings was one of three wide receivers selected by the Seahawks, a mark that ties a team record for second most players taken at one position in one draft. Seattle beefed up its receiving corps following the news that Doug Baldwin may retire because of injuries.
Seattle became interested in Jennings after his performance at the Senior Bowl, where he ran the fastest time of any receiver on the south squad.
Seattle general manager John Schneider called Jennings at Jennings’ Stafford home to inform him the Seahawks were drafting him.
Jennings’ selection marks the second straight year a wide receiver from a Stafford County high school was selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Last year, it was Mountain View graduate DaeSean Hamilton, who went to the Denver Broncos.
After becoming a starter for the Mountaineers in 2017, the 6-foot-1, 214-pound Jennings finished fourth in the country with 97 receptions in earning second-team all-Big 12 honors. As a senior in 2018, Jennings caught 54 passes for 917 yards and 13 touchdowns. He played in 11 games, but only made eight starts as he dealt with a late-season ankle sprain that forced him to miss West Virginia’s bowl game.
A tight hamstring prevented Jennings from performing at West Virginia’s Pro Day in March as well. But he showcased his abilities not only at the Senior Bowl but also at the NFL Combine.
At the NFL Combine, he ran the ninth-fastest time in the 40 (4.42) among the receivers group. Jennings also finished fifth in the combine in the bench press (20 reps of 225 pounds), sixth in the 20-yard shuttle (4.15 seconds) and seventh in the broad jump (127 inches).
At Colonial Forge, Jennings was a multi-purpose standout. He played quarterback, wide receiver, safety and kick returner. He was a 2014 all-state pick on defense and was second-team all-state as an all-purpose player.