2015 NFL DRAFT
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Kelly Jennings

Height: 5-11 | Weight: 178 | College: Miami (Fla.)
 
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Overview

Overshadowed by more heralded former teammate Antrell Rolle the last three years, Jennings emerged as one of the top shutdown pass defenders in college football over the past two seasons.

The Suwanee High School product started on both offense and defense for one of the top programs in North Florida. He led the team to a 9-4 season and a berth in the state Class 3A playoffs as a senior. He was listed as the fourth-best cornerback on the Florida Times-Union Super 75 list. Jennings also won his school's Scholar-Athlete Award as a junior with a 3.42 grade-point average.

An excellent receiver on offense, Jennings caught 43 passes for 720 yards and five touchdowns in 2000. Also one of the top defensive backs in the state, Jennings had 41 tackles and one interception at cornerback that season. He snared 26 passes for 386 yards and four touchdowns as a junior in 1999, adding 35 tackles, two interceptions and seven pass deflections.

Heavily recruited by most of the major programs, Jennings chose Miami for its deep defensive tradition. He redshirted in 2001 and then became a fixture in the secondary in 2002 at right cornerback. Jennings produced 25 tackles (21 solos) with six pass deflections and an interception that year. Impressive totals, when you consider he played most of the season with a cast on his left hand following August surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament.

In 2003, Jennings shifted to nickel back, starting five contests. He collected 18 tackles (12 solos) with six pass break-ups and 1.5 stops for losses. Jennings shifted to left cornerback in 2004, starting every game. He finished with 30 tackles (19 solos) with an assisted sack. He also batted away six passes and intercepted two others.

Jennings continued to man the left cornerback slot in 2005. He appeared in all 12 games, recording three interceptions (tied for the team high) and returning them for a combined 36 yards. He was also named to the 2005 All-ACC Academic Football Team with a 3.0 grade point average.

In 48 games with the Hurricanes, Jennings had six interceptions, 13 passes defensed and four forced fumbles.

Analysis

Positives: Plays with good field instincts, showing a good feel for route progressions and the ability to jump patterns to make plays on the ball … Has the hip snap and change of direction agility to make plays in pursuit, showing an adequate burst closing on the plays in front of him … Comes out of his breaks quickly, displaying crisp plant-and-drive agility … Does not take false steps in transition and has the second gear needed to stay on the hip of receivers racing down the sidelines … Can shorten the field with his ability to take proper angles coming out of his pedal … Has the hands to extend and pluck away from the body's frame … His transition speed and ability to turn with no wasted motion lets him recover quickly when a receiver might get a step on him … Despite his size limitations, he shows active hands in attempts to slow the receiver's release off the line … Makes plays on the ball with ease, especially when working underneath.

Negatives: More of a pester type of tackler in run support, as his size limitations and lack of physicality in his play will usually result in him getting stymied and washed out of the play when coming up in run support … Takes good angles coming out of his pedal, but not when coming downhill to take on the ballcarrier or fill the rush alleys … Uses a shuffle-and-bail technique, which sometimes results in him coming out of his pedal too early … Has no strength behind his hits, making him a liability as an open field tackler (more of a cover type) … Plays with good balance, but needs to show less hesitation and better anticipation skills reading the quarterback in zone coverage … Can pick up receivers in the zone, but needs to show a more aggressive attitude taking on combo routes.

Shutdown cornerbacks are typically seen as big, physical types. But Jennings, much like Darrell Green (ex-Washington) and Aaron Glenn (Dallas), relies on blazing speed, perfectly timed leaps and a tenacious attitude to compensate for a lack of ideal height. Jennings shows a very good feel for route progressions and generates that sudden burst needed to jump and anticipate routes. He has excellent range, doing a nice job of opening his hips and changing direction suddenly in pursuit.

He is best when transitioning downhill, but he also has the feet and agility to play off the line. Jennings makes good body adjustments competing for the ball in flight. He has a good feel for plays in front of him and while he lacks size, he is active with his hands in attempts to reroute his opponent.

Jennings has natural hands, knowing how to extend them away from the body's frame to compete for the jump ball. He is an effective tackler working in space, but lacks size and physicality to cover the taller receivers on deep routes. He is better in man coverage when he can keep the plays in front of him, as he might have a good burst but needs to show more suddenness handling the switch on combo routes when playing in the zone.

Jennings uses a shuffle-and-bail technique in his pedal, but has the speed to run and recover. He sometimes relies on his speed too much to compensate when he fails to anticipate the quarterback. When he gets an early start on the play, he will usually disrupt the action. He plays at the proper pad level to move, adjust and shadow the receiver underneath.

Jennings will pursue in run support, but is not as effective as you'd like due to his size. He is not really a big hitter, but will stay low in his pads to extend, wrap and secure in isolated coverage. He is more of a cut tackler, as he lacks the strength to drag down and punish when delivering the hit.

Having previous experience at nickel back will be beneficial for Jennings at the next level, as he appears more suited for that role. He has good man coverage skills, but lacks the size and strength to be able to handle complicated zone coverage. His range is excellent and his speed is verified, but he has little room for additional growth on his slight frame.

Career Notes

The most experienced member of the secondary and a team leader, Jennings began his career at right cornerback, moving to nickel back as a sophomore before finding a home at left corner during his junior season … Graduated in December 2004 with a degree in finance and is now pursuing a second degree in business management … Did not allow an opponent to catch a pass in three games during the 2004 season, matching that total again in 2005 … In 48 games, Jennings recorded six interceptions and forced four fumbles.

2005 Season

All-American third-team and All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team preseason selection by The NFL Draft Report … On the Watch List for the Thorpe Award, given to the premier defensive back in college football … Paces a secondary that leads the nation, as the Hurricanes have allowed only 127.17 yards per game passing through six contests … Has 23 tackles (16 solos) with two forced fumbles … Ranks third in the ACC with eight pass deflections … Did not allow an opponent to catch any passes in the Florida State, South Florida and Duke contests … Five of his tackles resulted in third-down stops, with another coming on a fourth-down play … Allowed only eleven receptions for 109 yards through the team's first six games.

2005 Game Analysis

Florida State … Opened the season with a pair of tackles and three pass deflections as Miami held the Seminoles to 74 yards on 8 of 26 passes … Three of his stops came on third-down plays, including a pass deflection on a third-and-8 toss from QB Drew Weatherford that was intended for Kenny O'Neal early in the first quarter … On FSU's next drive, Jennings joined strong-side linebacker in chasing down Lorenzo Booker after the tailback gained 24 yards on a rushing attempt … Killed a third quarter drive when Jennings batted away a third-and-9 pass thrown by Weatherford before Chris Davis could catch it … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Chris Davis-No catches.

Clemson … Added four tackles (3 solos) and deflected two passes, but the secondary allowed a season-high 288 yards and two touchdowns passing … Stopped a scoring drive midway through the first quarter when Jennings tackled Chansi Stuckey after the receiver gained 10 yards on a third-and-11 pass from QB Charles Whitehurst … Battled Stuckey and deflected a fourth quarter pass away from the receiver with 1:20 left in regulation … On the Tigers' third possession in overtime, Jennings knocked down a Whitehurst pass intended for Curtis Baham, preserving a 36-30 decision … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Chansi Stuckey-Seven catches for 71 yards.

Colorado … Had a season-high seven tackles (6 solos) with a a pass break-up … One of his stops came on a fourth-down play (fourth-and-8, UM 40) midway through the fourth quarter, as Jennings timed his leap and deflected a Joel Klatt pass intended for Dusty Sprague … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Evan Judge-Two catches for 9 yards.

South Florida … Had another seven tackles, including one on a third-down play … On a first quarter drive, Jennings caused a fumble when he stripped the ball from Johnny Peyton after the receiver caught a 2-yard from QB Pat Julmiste and Hurricanes defensive end Thomas Carroll recovered the ball at the USF 39, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by Miami half-back Tyrone Moss … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR S.J. Green-No catches.

Duke … Added one tackle with a pass deflection … On a third-and-10 play nine minutes into the game, Jennings caused a fumble when he tackled Ronnie Drummer after the halfback picked up 7 yards on a rushing attempt. Defensive end Eric Moncur recovered the ball at the Duke 12 and returned it 5 yards. On the next play, Tyrone Moss ran into the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Deon Adams-No catches.

Temple … Credited with a pair of tackles and deflected a Joe Desanzo pass intended for Bruce Gordon in the third quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR DoMerio Hamilton-Two catches for 29 yards.

2004 Season

Started all year at left cornerback … Recorded 30 tackles (19 solos) with an assisted sack for a 3-yard loss … Deflected six passes and intercepted two others … Did not allow an opponent to catch any passes in the Louisiana Tech, Louisville and Virginia contests … Twelve of his stops came on third-down plays and another on fourth down … Gave up only twelve receptions for 264 yards and two touchdowns.

2004 Game Analysis

Florida State … In his first start at left cornerback, Jennings posted four tackles and a pass deflection … He assisted linebacker Roger McIntosh in sacking QB Chris Rix for a 5-yard loss on a third-and-14 play with 2:01 left in the first quarter … Jennings would then intercept a Rix pass in the second quarter, gaining one yard on the return before being tackled by receiver Craphonso Thorpe … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Craphonso Thorpe-Five catches for 42 yards.

Louisiana Tech … Did not register any tackles, but held receiver Tramissi Davis to no receptions, as the Hurricanes allowed only 131 yards on 8 of 20 passes.

Houston … Had three tackles, including one where he assisted linebacker Roger McIntosh in chasing down Ryan Gilbert after the tailback picked up 20 yards on a rushing attempt in the second quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Donnie Avery-One catch for 9 yards.

Georgia Tech … Made a pair of tackles, including one that killed a third quarter scoring drive when Jennings tackled Calvin Johnson after the receiver gained only 3 yards on a third-and-10 pass thrown by QB Reggie Ball … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Calvin Johnson-Two catches for 10 yards.

Louisville … Shifted to nickel back, producing four tackles (3 solos), including one early in the fourth quarter on a third-and-14 play, when Jennings tackled Brian Brohm after the QB ran for 16 yards … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Travis Leffew-No catches.

North Carolina State … Followed with two solo tackles, adding another stop on special teams when he took down Lamont Reid after the returner gained 74 yards on a kickoff early in the fourth quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Lamart Barrett-Four catches for 47 yards.

North Carolina … Delivered four tackles (3 solos), stopping an early second quarter drive when he stopped Jawarski Pollock after the receiver caught a 3-yard pass on a third-and-4 toss from QB Darian Durant … Was beaten on a deep pass thrown by Durant to Mike Mason for a 35-yard touchdown early in the first quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Mike Mason-Two catches for 42 yards and a touchdown.

Clemson … Deflected three passes and made five tackles, with three hits coming on third-down plays, but Clemson needed five plays to score in overtime, with the Tigers benefiting from a pass-interference penalty against Jennings that moved the ball to the UM 10, and tail-back Reggie Merriweather scored three plays later on a 2-yard run to cap the Tigers' rally from a 17-3 halftime deficit and give Clemson a 24-17 triumph … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Kelvin Grant-Two catches for 25 yards.

Virginia … Deflected a pass away from Deyon Williams that was thrown by QB Marques Hagans with 0:43 left in the third quarter and also had an assisted tackle … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Michael McGrew-No catches.

Wake Forest … Added two solo tackles, including one on a third-and-10 play in the second quarter, when he stopped Kevin Marion on a 12-yard pass thrown by Cory Randolph … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Kevin Marion-One catch for 12 yards.

Virginia Tech … Had another two solo tackles and deflected a pair of passes, but was beaten for a 39-yard touchdown by Eddie Royal on a pass thrown by QB Bryan Randall in the fourth quarter … Chased down Cedric Humes after the tailback rushed for 29 yards with 9:09 left to play and later killed that drive when Jennings batted away a third-and-7 pass thrown by Randall that was intended for Richard Johnson … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Eddie Royal-Two catches for 44 yards and a touchdown.

Florida (Peach Bowl) … Made a solo tackle and intercepted a first-and-goal pass thrown by Chris Leak in the end zone for a touchback in the fourth quarter to kill a 78-yard, 7-play drive … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Chad Jackson-Two catches for 33 yards.

2003 Season

Started four games at nickel back and the Tennessee clash at left cornerback … Made 18 tackles (12 solos) with six pass deflections and one quarterback pressure … Added a 5-yard sack and 1.5 stops for losses of 6 yards.

2003 Game Analysis

East Carolina … Made three tackles and deflected a pass.

Florida State … Tackles Lorenzo Booker behind the line of scrimmage after the tailback caught a short toss from QB Chris Rix.

West Virginia … Batted away a pass and delivered four tackles.

Virginia Tech … Had another four tackles (3 solos) with a pass break-up … Took a handoff from Sean Taylor for a 3-yard gain after Taylor originally picked up 30 yards on a punt return in the fourth quarter.

Tennessee … Followed with two tackles and sacked QB Casey Clausen for a 5-yard loss in the fourth quarter.

Florida State (Orange Bowl) … Produced one solo tackle and a pass deflection.

2002 Season

Was a key member of a Miami secondary that had to replace five key players from 2001, yet led the nation in pass defense … Played much of the season with a cast on his left hand following surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament in August … Performed only once (vs. Virginia Tech) without a full cast on the hand … Recorded 25 tackles (21 solos), three quarterback pressures, six pass deflections and had one interception while starting twelve games at right cornerback.

2002 Game Analysis

Florida A&M … Missed the season opener after undergoing thumb surgery.

Florida … Made his collegiate debut with a five-tackle (4 solos) performance.

Florida State … Deflected two passes and was in on three tackles.

West Virginia … Followed with five hits (4 solos) and a pass break-up.

Rutgers … Deflected two passes and intercepted another in the fourth quarter that set up a scoring drive that was capped by a 1-yard touchdown toss by QB Ken Dorsey to tight end Kellen Winslow, Jr.

Tennessee … Posted three solo tackles.

Pittsburgh … Added another three tackles, but was beaten on a fade pass from Rod Rutherford to Larry Fitzgerald for a 5-yard touchdown and also allowed a 4-yard scoring grab on a toss from Rutherford to Roosevelt Bynes with 2:28 left in the first half.

Ohio State (Fiesta Bowl) … Started, but did not record any tackles.

2001 Season

Redshirted, playing on the Hurricanes' scout team as a cornerback.

Injury Report

2002: Sat out the season opener vs. Florida A&M and played most of the year with a cast on his left hand after undergoing thumb surgery in August to repair a torn ligament suffered in fall camp.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash … 285-pound bench press … 385-pound squat … 296-pound power clean … 35-inch vertical jump … 32 1/8-inch arm length … 9-inch hands.

Combine: 4.45 in the 40-yard dash … 2.6 20-yard dash … 1.55 10-yard dash … Bench presses 225 pounds 17 times … 40-inch vertical jump … 10'0" broad jump … 4.0 20-yard shuttle … 31-inch arm length … 8 -inch hands.

High School

Attended Suwanee (Live Oak, Fla.) High School, playing football for head coach Jay Rawls … Started on both offense and defense for one of the top programs in North Florida as a senior, playing a key role for a 9-4 team that earned a berth in the state Class 3A playoffs … Listed as the fourth-best cornerback on the Florida Times-Union Super 75 list … Also won his school's Scholar-Athlete Award as a junior with a 3.42 grade-point average … An excellent receiver on offense, Jennings caught 43 passes for 720 yards and five touchdowns in 2000 … Also one of the top defensive backs in the state, Jennings had 41 tackles and one interception at cornerback that season … Snared 26 passes for 386 yards and four touchdowns as a junior in 1999, adding 35 tackles, two interceptions and seven pass deflections.

Personal

Graduated in December 2004 with a degree in Finance and is now pursuing a second degree in Business Management … Son of Ruby and Roy Jennings … Born Kelly Jarrod Jennings on 11/30/82 … Resides in Live Oak, Florida.

 
 
 

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