Despite Missing Pro Day, Scouts Tell Jennings He’s Fine
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Former Mountaineer receiver Gary Jennings was bummed he couldn’t work out at West Virginia’s Pro Day Thursday at the WVU Indoor Practice Facility.
“(The hamstring) felt kind of tight,” explained Jennings of his decision not to workout for NFL scouts who made their way to Morgantown. “We ran over the script of what we were going to do two days ago, but since then, for precautionary measures, I decided not to go today.”
While Jennings would certainly have liked to have been out on the field with former teammates David Sills, Trevon Wesco and Dominique Maiden catching passes from Will Grier Thursday, his performances at both the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine earned him plenty of positive attention.
At the Combine, his 40-yard dash time of 4.42 was the ninth fastest of all receivers present, while he was also fifth at his position in Indianapolis in the bench press (20 reps of 225), sixth in the 20-yard shuttle (4.15 seconds) and seventh in the broad jump (127 inches).
“The consensus from scouts is that I’m fine,” said Jennings, who has elevated his draft stock from a projected late round pick prior to the Senior Bowl to one who is now predicted to be selected in the third or fourth round.
At 6-foot-1 and 214 pounds, Jennings has always had the size and strength of an elite receiver. After an incredibly productive college career in which he finished seventh in WVU history in career receptions with 168 and sixth in career receiving yards with 2,294, the biggest question the pros still had was his speed. Jennings answered that at the Senior Bowl when he was clocked as the fastest receiver on the south squad, running 21.5 miles per hour.
“All you can do is control what you put out there,” noted the Stafford, Virginia, native. “The rest, you just have to go with what happens.”
Missing Pro Day, in which scouts from every NFL team were present, as well as head coaches Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh), Jay Gruden (Washington) and Pat Shurmur (N.Y. Giants), was tough, but it didn’t cause him as much emotional pain as having to sit out West Virginia’s bowl game this past December.
He had been playing the last portion of the regular season with a high ankle sprain that rarely even allowed him to practice. Finally the decision was made that he wouldn’t be able to continue in the Camping World Bowl in Orlando.
“The last four games or so, it was pretty rough,” admitted Jennings. “It took about a month and some change (after the season to get healthy).”
The NFL people he’s met with haven’t questioned his decision to sit out the bowl game.
“People understand,” Jennings said. “I battled really hard throughout the tail end of the season, and everyone understood (why he missed the matchup with Syracuse).”
Despite having to sit out Pro Day, Jennings’ health has gotten better, and now he’s looking forward to hearing his name called during the NFL Draft, which will take place April 25-27 in Nashville.
“It’s very exciting,” he said with a big smile. “I’m going to be living in a different city in about a month. I’m not really anxious, but I am excited to see what unfolds.”