For the second straight year, a wide receiver from a Stafford County High School is expected to hear his name called during the three-day, seven-round NFL Draft that began Thursday.
Last year, it was Mountain View graduate DaeSean Hamilton, who went to the Denver Broncos on the fourth round. This year, look for Colonial Forge graduate Gary Jennings Jr. to be another mid-round, day 3 pick. The former West Virginia standout is considered a fourth-to-seventh round selection.
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 at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. Jennings entered both facing questions about his speed.
At the Senior Bowl, he was the fastest receiver on the south squad, running 21.5 miles per hour. 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).
Jennings has visited Miami and Tennessee for pre-draft workouts. Besides catching balls, Jennings has experience as a return specialist. Jennings returned punts his first two seasons at West Virginia (3.2 average on 34 returns) and kickoffs (20.7 yard average on seven returns.)
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.
Here is what some draft analysts are saying about Jennings:
“I love receivers with good size who can get deep and make big plays … He also can fly ... That's a nice combination for a team looking for a project receiver.”
_ CBS Sports Senior Writer Pete Prisco.
“Possession slot target with below-average quickness and speed, but impressive toughness and focus when battling for contested catches. Jennings' weaknesses might dictate a more limited role as a short-yardage target unless his routes become faster and sharper. He has a shot at making it as a back-end-of-the-roster type.”
_ Lance Zierlein, NFL.com analyst