What Is Virginia Tech Getting In Ali Jennings?

Ali Jennings, Virginia Tech
Ali Jennings brings big play ability to Virginia Tech. (ODU athletics)

Ali Jennings comes to Virginia Tech from ODU, and he’ll reunite with Fontel Mines, who was on the ODU staff during the receiver’s first season in Norfolk. An easy knock against a guy coming out of ODU is competition level, but in addition to playing some P5 schools with the Monarchs, Jennings also had a two-year run in the Big 12. Jennings was signed out of Highland Springs by West Virginia, and his promising freshman year included starts against Oklahoma and Kansas State:

Against OU, he just goes up and gets it. The second play is a slant/flat concept, and he creates separation with a long arm before dragging in a high ball with a defender hanging off him. At least one WVU quarterback trusted Jennings enough to come off his primary read on a Stick/Draw RPO and hit Jennings on a gift route.

Then Jennings got hurt in the offseason and found himself falling back on the depth chart. As his games and snaps dropped, Jennings portaled and ended up with the Monarchs. He had a huge initial season with ODU, where he picked up 1,066 yards on 62 catches. He was on track for an even bigger year in ‘22 before an ankle injury (and subsequent surgery, per some reports) knocked him out of the last three games.

As you can see above, Jennings could make some tough catches, and he showed that same talent with ODU:

These are both fade balls against the press. You can see he’s got a few different footwork techniques for getting off the line, and he seems comfortable with them all. He also seems comfortable dealing with guys hanging off his jersey. He had success against off coverage, too:

Physically, he has decent speed, good acceleration, and a knack for breaking out of the catch:

At 6’2 he’s got good size, too, and combined with being game to hit, he’s a decent blocker. I didn’t see any issues with him tracking safeties, and he was usually the winner when it came to stalk-blocking defensive backs.

I don’t have the best eye for route-running, but