Clover Hill High defensive end Bryson Jennings said he fell in love with Chapel Hill when he visited for North Carolina’s spring football game. On an official visit in June, there was an instant connection with the players and coaches, he said, and “a super strong” connection with Tar Heels coach Mack Brown.
There was something else as well: UNC special teams coordinator/outside linebackers coach Jovan Dewitt reminded Jennings of his father, Bryan, who’s also Clover Hill’s coach.
“The way he coached, the way he talked, his attitude, his demeanor,” Jennings said. “He was giving me all the right signs.”
All that led Jennings, one of the state’s and area’s top recruits, to announce his commitment to UNC on Thursday.
Jennings had narrowed a long list to UNC, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Penn State and Kentucky. He said the final choice was between UNC and Tech, where his father was a first-team all-Big East tight end.
Jennings said he called Brown around July 4 and informed him of his decision, but he waited until Thursday to make it public on Twitter.
“It felt like home, so why not make it home,” said Jennings, who likes to draw and wants to major in architecture.
A rising senior, Jennings is big and fast at 6-foot-6, 245-pounds. He’s run the 40 in 4.53 seconds.
He’s rated the No. 10 prospect in the state in the Class of 2022 and the No. 25 strong-side defensive end nationally by Rivals.com. Recruiting site 247Sports.com has him as the No. 13 prospect in the state in its composite rankings and the No. 21 edge rusher nationally.
Jennings wears No. 18 in honor of his father, who wore 81 at Tech. He said his father told him when the recruiting process started, “You’re the one going, not me. I may have went to Tech way back in the day, but this is your path. You go wherever you think is best, and I’m going to be with you one way or another.’”
Jennings also had offers from Old Dominion, Liberty, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, South Carolina, Maryland, Indiana and East Carolina, among others.
Jennings said he wants to stay healthy this season. He played at less than 100% last year after getting COVID-19 before the season, dealing with stress fractures in both legs from basketball, and then spraining his ankle during the season.
He missed the final two games but had 33 tackles — 10 for loss — and four sacks in four games while being named All-Metro.