Deion Jennings worked his way to the top of the depth chart.
Rutgers’ fifth-year senior linebacker, who played 34 games throughout his college career, is listed as one of two starters at the position through the first two deeps of the 2022 season. One of the few veterans to Inside a room of inexperienced linebackers who lost two key players to season-ending injuries this offseason, the South Jersey native will play a crucial role for the Scarlet Knights this fall.
Jennings, who is set to earn his fifth career start against Boston College in Saturday’s season opener, spoke about his journey to the top role, being a veteran in a young locker room and his growth during training camp during a Q&A session. with local media earlier this week:
Q: It’s game week. What’s the feeling?
Jennings: The atmosphere is great. The guys were flying all over the place (during practice on Tuesday). The whole team is excited to go to British Columbia and play the first game.
Q: What is your assessment of the linebacker room after training camp?
Jennings: Growth has been really good. The young people arrive. I would say the one thing this band does is we all stick together. Make mistakes, have good games, we all stick together. We’re still communicating, we’re still talking, and that’s the main thing right now.
Q: Can you tell us about your evolution throughout your career, from the moment you joined here until now as a senior?
Jennings: There have been many ups and downs. I learned from them and grew into who I am today. I’m grateful. It’s been a long journey but I’m glad to finally be here.
Q: How does it feel to wait for an opportunity for a big role, and finally get it now?
Jennings: Its been good. Keep your head down, be patient and wait for my turn. I knew going to college wasn’t going to be easy, but I had to stay true to myself and everything would work out.
Q: What’s it like to be a veteran in a locker room full of young players?
Jennings: I always try to be a mentor for young people, to pick them up when they are down. Praise them for doing good and stuff like that, because I know it goes a long way.
Q: How would you rate your progress since the start of training camp until now?
Jennings: I think I had a great training camp. There are still things to work on, however. The little details, always perfecting my craft and being the best I can be.
Q: What stands out from the Boston College offense?
Jennings: They have a very good quarterback. #4 (Zay Flowers wide receiver), is really good. It’s going to be a challenge.
Q: Are you excited to finally bang someone else?
Jennings: Yeah! Really excited.
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Brian Fonseca can be reached at [email protected].