Adonis Jennings was anxious as he awaited his fate from the NCAA.
After spending one year at the University of Pittsburgh, the wide receiver transferred and requested a hardship waiver to play immediately for the Owls.
When his request was granted in July, Jennings could finally relax.
“I was really nervous when I walked into the room to see if I was going to play or not,” Jennings said. “When they told me the news, I was relieved. It feels good.”
For Jennings, returning to Temple was an easy choice.
“When I transferred from Pittsburgh, I was so excited because I get to play with my former teammates and guys who I know that are from the area … you are not going to get a
feel like this,” Jennings said. “It feels like home, you get to play in front of your family, your friends.”
While at Timber Creek High School in Sicklerville, New Jersey, Jennings was teammates with current Owls Kareem Ali, a freshman defensive back, and redshirt-sophomore running back Zaire Williams.
The trio was last on the field together in 2012 when Timber Creek defeated Kingsway Regional High School 52-27 in the South Jersey Group 4 Championship game.
Jennings credits his former teammates for his smooth transition
“Kareem and Zaire brought me in and they told me the ins and outs of the program,” Jennings said. “And I came in ready and knowing what to do.”’
The sophomore wide receiver considered playing at Temple as a high school senior, but chose Pittsburgh instead.
Despite taking a few extra steps before ending up with the Owls, Jennings is not unhappy about his choices.
“I was strongly with Temple but sometimes things go another way,” Jennings said. “The recruiting process is hard. I don’t regret my decision but it taught me a lot of lessons.”
Now Jennings adds to a receiver unit that has nine wideouts 6-foot-3 inches or taller, including redshirt-senior Robby Anderson — who rejoined the team this summer after being dismissed in 2013.
“[Jennings] is big and fast and can catch,” coach Matt Rhule said. “He doesn’t make excuses. He is our kind of guy.”
Rhule was also impressed with the work ethic Jennings showed all summer.
“He would come in on a Saturday morning and stretch on a day off,” Rhule said. “He is one of those guys who tries to do everything right and really wants to be good. He has a real professional approach to everything.”
Last season, the Owls ranked 92nd in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 11.25 passing yards per completion and junior quarterback P.J. Walker’s completion percentage dropped from 60.8 percent in 2013 to 53 percent.
Walker said Jennings, who had 1,434 yards and 15 touchdowns on 83 catches as a senior at Timber Creek, can bring explosiveness to the field.
“He might be one of the guys that can catch a screen and go a long distance because he has moves,” Walker said. “It helps you a lot when you have a guy like that.”
Michael Guise can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Michael_Guise